What banks are there in Malta? An overview

Each client of Dr Wern­er & Part­ner who founds an LTD in Mal­ta soon­er or lat­er needs a bank account to guar­an­tee the company’s pay­ment trans­ac­tions. In so doing it is not, how­ev­er, absolute­ly nec­es­sary to open an account in Mal­ta. Thus we have some clients who main­tain their bank accounts with an inter­na­tion­al bank out­side Mal­ta. How­ev­er, if the client wish­es to open a Mal­tese bank account, our col­league Ms Calov will lend her sup­port by prepar­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion. She is also hap­py to help in com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the bank.

Below you will find an overview of the banks avail­able in Mal­ta. The descrip­tions that fol­low are not intend­ed to con­sti­tute an eval­u­a­tion, but rather reflect our sub­jec­tive expe­ri­ences with the banks in ques­tion.

 BOV – Bank of Val­let­ta: Malta’s largest bank

All for­eign BOV cus­tomers are looked after at the ICC, the Inter­na­tion­al Clients Cen­tre in Val­let­ta. The ICC is rel­a­tive­ly large so com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the bank can be slow and tedious. Fur­ther­more, the per­son­nel and pro­ce­dur­al struc­tures fre­quent­ly change here which means that it some­times takes 6 months or more to open an account. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly annoy­ing in view of the fact that most com­pa­nies want to take up their oper­a­tive busi­ness as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, and for this, receipt and trans­fer of busi­ness pay­ments is of huge sig­nif­i­cance. One advan­tage of BOV is the fact that it also opens accounts for gam­bling providers and offers cus­tomers both inter­net bank­ing and deb­it and cred­it cards.

 HSBC – The most inter­na­tion­al bank in Mal­ta

For inter­na­tion­al cus­tomers, in par­tic­u­lar, HSBC is assured­ly the first and also the safest choice. Some even already have an account with HSBC in the bank’s home­land, the UK. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this does not mean that such cus­tomers will enjoy an advan­tage when open­ing an account in Mal­ta. Thus, we have already sev­er­al times expe­ri­enced that even in the case of HSBC Pre­mier cus­tomers NO bank account was opened in Mal­ta. The rea­son for this is that HSBC Mal­ta applies very strict require­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tions for open­ing a busi­ness account, among the strictest of all the banks known to us. The bank is in gen­er­al only inter­est­ed in busi­ness with sub­stance, i.e. a “gen­uine” busi­ness with exist­ing office premis­es and a cer­tain rate of turnover. More­over, there are spe­cial require­ments as to the applicant’s field of busi­ness and/or busi­ness oper­a­tions. Because of this, we advise our clients not to open an account at HSBC until after a cer­tain “accli­ma­ti­sa­tion” peri­od in Mal­ta.

Banif Bank – the 3rd force in Mal­ta

One of our offices in St Julian’s lies only a few min­utes on foot from a branch of Banif Bank, which is why we have been col­lab­o­rat­ing with this bank for a long time. Here too, the bank’s com­pli­ance pro­ce­dures entail a fair amount of effort, but here the process itself is well struc­tured. This means that the bank’s guide­lines are for­mu­lat­ed in a clear and log­i­cal man­ner and are processed by Ms Calov and her team with the great­est care. Depend­ing on the bank’s nec­es­sary due dili­gence pro­cess­ing peri­od, open­ing an account here takes around 8 weeks. Banif Bank offers its cus­tomers both cards (deb­it and cred­it) and inter­net bank­ing. Fur­ther­more, the bank’s cus­tomer ser­vices oper­ate very reli­ably.

All the above-men­tioned banks take their com­pli­ance man­date very seri­ous­ly, i.e. they check all direc­tors and share­hold­ers with great care. In this con­text we do not sim­ply mean a thor­ough exam­i­na­tion of sub­mit­ted doc­u­ments, but also com­pre­hen­sive back­ground checks in the inter­nal bank­ing sys­tem.

Any­one con­tem­plat­ing estab­lish­ing a com­pa­ny in Mal­ta and wish­ing to engage the ser­vices of Dr Wern­er & Part­ner for this pur­pose can be assured that we have in-depth knowl­edge of the banks avail­able in Mal­ta and can offer our clients active sup­port in select­ing the right bank. Help in open­ing a bank account is one of the core ele­ments of our ser­vice pack­age for com­pa­ny estab­lish­ment in Mal­ta.

About Philipp Sauerborn

In 2005, Philipp Sauer­born joined the firm of St. Matthew in Lon­don, one of the lead­ing Ger­man account­ing firms in Eng­land renowned for its exper­tise in cor­po­rate, com­mer­cial and tax law, as a depart­ment head. After three years, he was a part­ner and man­ag­ing direc­tor.
Towards the end of 2011, he decid­ed to move to Mal­ta, where he first worked at inter­na­tion­al law firms and con­sul­tan­cies in an employed and con­sult­ing capac­i­ty. Since the begin­ning of 2013, he has been a senior employ­ee at Dr. Wern­er & Part­ner. Mr. Sauer­born is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing his ADIT ‑Advanced Diplo­ma in Inter­na­tion­al Tax.

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