February 9, 2024

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Banks in Antigua and Barbuda: Everything You Need to Know

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Banks in Antigua and Barbuda: Everything You Need to Know

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Banking in Antigua and Barbuda 101

Banking System Overview

Nestled in the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda is more than just a nation of stunning beauty -  it's a vibrant hub for banking and finance. This two-island country stands out for its diverse culture, business-friendly environment, and thriving economy focused on tourism and offshore finances.

Within this dynamic setting, the banking system plays an important role. It includes a mix of local and international banks that cater to a range of needs, offering services like personal and business banking, loans, merchant services, financial advice, online banking, and investments. These banks operate in a stable political environment, which has made Antigua and Barbuda a desirable location for both domestic and foreign banking.

Banking System Regulations

The regulatory environment in Antigua and Barbuda's banking sector is characterized by stringent oversight and adherence to international standards. The banking system is primarily regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC)

The ECCB is responsible for monetary policy and currency stability in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, which includes Antigua and Barbuda. Meanwhile, the FSRC oversees non-banking financial institutions, ensuring compliance with international financial standards. These regulatory bodies work together to maintain a secure and stable banking and business environment

One of the foundational pieces of  banking legislation in Antigua and Barbuda is the International Banking Act of 2016. This more than 100-page act provides a legal framework for the regulation and supervision of international banking business. It sets out requirements for the licensing, operation, and governance of international banks and includes provisions for the protection of depositors and the prevention of financial crimes. 

Caribbean Association Banks

Another important regulating body that promotes a healthy and robust internationally recognized banking environment in Antigua and Barbuda is the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB).

The CAB is a regional organization that represents and supports the banking industry across the Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda. It plays a crucial role in promoting and facilitating collaboration among its member banks. The CAB focuses on advocating for policies that benefit the banking sector, providing a platform for discussion on common challenges, and enhancing the overall performance of banks in the region. 

Currency of Antigua and Barbuda

The currency of Antigua and Barbuda is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD). It is pegged to the US dollar at a stable exchange rate, which provides a measure of economic stability and predictability for both domestic and international financial transactions. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank issues and manages the XCD, ensuring its stability and facilitating smooth financial operations across member countries in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

Cryptocurrency in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda have taken proactive steps towards creating a crypto-friendly environment, reflecting a broader interest in embracing digital finance and blockchain technology. The Digital Assets Business Bill of 2020 is a significant piece of official legislation that is central to regulating Antigua and Barbuda's approach to cryptocurrency. 

Cryptocurrency is well-known on the island. In Antigua and Barbuda, for instance, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and USDT are now accepted in many places across the island, including shops and restaurants. Banks are more open minded towards crypto. However, there are no government agencies that accept cryptocurrency officially or consider Bitcoin as a legal tender, like in El Salvador

There are 4 trusted exchanges available in Antigua and Barbuda, with the most popular being Coinbase, Binance , Kraken , and Coinmama

In the wider Caribbean region, there has been a growing interest in cryptocurrencies, with innovations like DCash, an electronic version of the Caribbean Dollar based on blockchain technology, which is available on several islands, including Antigua and Barbuda. 

Online Banking in Antigua and Barbuda

Online banking in Antigua and Barbuda has seen significant growth in recent years, reflecting the global trend towards digital financial services. Banks in Antigua and Barbuda have advanced their digital banking capabilities significantly. Their online platforms offer a range of features, including the ability to check account balances, view transaction histories, download electronic bank statements, initiate fund transfers, and set up automatic payments for bills. In addition to these functionalities, they also provide mobile applications, making banking more accessible and convenient for users on the move, thereby greatly enhancing their banking experience.

Key players in this sector include ACB Caribbean (formerly Antigua Commercial Bank), previously known as Antigua Commercial Bank, Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB), and CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

Offshore Banking in Antigua and Barbuda

Places like the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, and others provide offshore banking. They have taken offshore banking to offshore living. In 2024, offshore banking is seen as a must for wealthy individuals and families and for people who want to diversify their financial footprint.  

Offshore banking in Antigua and Barbuda has grown significantly since its inception in 1983 and is now a major component of the country's financial services sector. 

Antigua and Barbuda banks provide accounts that offer several financial and legal benefits. These include enhanced privacy, low or sometimes no taxation, easy access to deposits, and safeguards against  political or financial instability in other regions of the world.

Benefits of Antigua and Barbuda Banking

Banking in Antigua and Barbuda offers several benefits, making it an attractive option for both residents and international clients:

  1. Tax Advantages: One of the primary benefits is the favorable tax environment. The country has offered a 0% individual income tax rate since 2019, making it an appealing destination for those looking to optimize their tax liabilities.
  2. Privacy and Security: Banks in Antigua and Barbuda are known for providing a high level of privacy and security to their clients, adhering to international standards while ensuring confidentiality.
  3. Diverse Banking Services: The banking sector offers a wide range of services, including personal and business banking, investment opportunities, and offshore banking facilities. This variety caters to different financial needs and goals.
  4. Stable Currency: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD), used in Antigua and Barbuda, is pegged to the US Dollar, providing currency stability, which is crucial for international financial transactions.
  5. Ease of Banking: With the adoption of digital banking technologies, customers can enjoy convenient access to their accounts and banking services from anywhere in the world.
  6. Accessibility to International Markets: The banking system in Antigua and Barbuda is well-integrated into the global financial network, offering clients access to international markets and investment opportunities.

Top Banks in Antigua and Barbuda

In Antigua and Barbuda, several banks stand out for their range of services and commitment to customer satisfaction. These institutions cater to various financial needs, offering everything from personal banking to corporate services. Here are some of the prominent banks in the region:

Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank

The Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Limited (ECAB) is a comprehensive commercial bank in Antigua and Barbuda. It provides a wide range of banking services and products to both individuals and businesses locally, regionally, and internationally. The bank is committed to delivering exceptional customer service, backed by continuous staff training and development. This approach ensures high-quality customer interactions and efficient management of relationships with both individual and corporate banking clients.

Ownership of ECAB is held by a consortium of regional institutions, symbolizing the strength and unity of the Caribbean people and their dedication to maintaining the stability of the indigenous banking system in the region. Its shareholders include Antigua Commercial Bank, Eastern Caribbean Financial Holding Company Limited, the National Bank of Dominica, St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank, the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda

ACB Caribbean

Founded on October 20, 1955, it holds the distinction of being the nation’s first local financial institution and publicly traded company. As of March 2021, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd., known as ACB Caribbean, stands as Antigua & Barbuda's largest indigenous commercial bank, boasting an asset base exceeding 1 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars.

The bank underwent a rebranding to The ACB Caribbean Group and expanded its reach by acquiring the assets of RBC in Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada. With over 60 years of notable service, ACB Caribbean is not just a financial institution but a proud corporate citizen, deeply involved in fostering culture, sports, community development, and education within the communities it serves.

Global Bank of Commerce

Global Bank of Commerce Ltd. (GBC) has been a prominent figure in the Caribbean banking sector since 1983, recognized for offering a range of financial products to both regional and international clients. As the first bank licensed under the International Business Corporations Act of 1982 in Antigua and Barbuda, GBC is a pioneering institution in the jurisdiction’s Financial Centre.

With a strong capital foundation, GBC upholds rigorous standards through annual independent financial and anti-money laundering audits. It is part of the Caribbean Association of Banks and maintains collegial ties with over 30 Caribbean banks and credit unions, adhering to the Caribbean Principles. Its global reach is facilitated by membership in SWIFT and correspondent banking relationships across North America and Europe.

Antigua & Barbuda Development Bank 

The Antigua & Barbuda Development Bank (ABDB) was founded in 1971 to spur economic growth by providing development financing to various productive sectors. Since beginning operations in 1974, ABDB has expanded its services to include mortgage financing, student loans, and support for small and micro enterprises.

Throughout its history, spanning over 35 years, ABDB has significantly contributed to the country’s economy, disbursing in excess of EC$125 million across different sectors. A substantial portion of this financing has been allocated to housing for low and middle-income families and to educational student loans. The bank also channels resources into agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, tourism, transportation, distribution, and construction.

Caribbean Union Bank

Caribbean Union Bank, also known as CUB, was established on December 9, 2005. It is a homegrown commercial bank dedicated to providing superior banking and financial services for its clients. It positions itself as a customer-centric financial institution in Antigua and Barbuda, emphasizing a personalized banking experience and offering a range of services suited to individual needs, from personal savings to retirement planning. With a blend of modern digital banking services and traditional customer service, CUB aims to deliver convenience and quality across its offerings. 

Services and Fees in Banks in Antigua and Barbuda

Banks in Antigua and Barbuda offer a variety of services to both local residents and international clients. The banking services include opening checking and savings accounts, trading and escrow accounts, loans, credit facilities, merchant services, foreign exchange, and term deposits. Major banks also offer accounts in foreign currencies like USD, EUR, GBP, and CAD in addition to the default Eastern Caribbean Dollar. The fee structure for banking services in Antigua and Barbuda varies between banks.

Bank Name Products and Services Fees

Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank

Savings Accounts, Digital Banking, Personal and Business Accounts, Mortgage Loans, CHAPA North Sound Community Housing, Certificates of Deposit, Student Loans, Current Accounts, Land Loans, Consumer Loans (EZ Loans), Card Services and Management, Foreign Exchange Services, Retirement Accounts, Silver Rewards Accounts, and Other Services Digital Banking Account:
Zero minimum account balance, XCD$ 10.00 monthly fee, XCD$ 5.00 fee for in-branch transactions.
Personal Current Account:
XCD$20 or US$7.41 per month
Business Current Account:
XCD$20 or US$7.41 per month
Other fees will depend on the type of service. For accurate and detailed information about fees and services, it is best to contact the bank directly or visit their official website.

ACB Caribbean

Savings Accounts, Digital Banking, Personal and Business Accounts, Mortgage Loans, Safety Deposit Boxes, Unsecured Loans, and Other Services Personal Current Account:
Minimum To Open: $500
XCD$20 or US$7.41 per month
Business Current Account:
XCD$20 or US$7.41 per month
Unauthorized Overdraft Interest:
16% min. US$35
Other fees will depend on the type of service. For accurate and detailed information, please visit the bank's official website.

Global Bank of Commerce

Personal Banking, Corporate Banking, Wholesale Banking, Card and EFT Services, CIP Banking Services, REIT, Internet Banking Personal Operating (Checking) Account:
Minimum opening balance: US$5,000
Monthly service fee: US$10
Personal Savings Account:
Minimum opening balance: US$5,000
Monthly service fee: US$10
Deficiency charge: US$25 if balance falls below $2,500 during any month
Business Operating Account:
Minimum opening balance: US$5,000
Monthly service fee: US$10
Other fees: For a comprehensive fees schedule, please visit the bank's official website.

Caribbean Union Bank

Personal Current/Checking, Corporate Checking Accounts, E-statements, Merchant Services, Card Services, ATM Services, Safe Deposit Box, Payroll Services and Other Priority Checking Account:
Minimum Opening Balance: US$1,000.00
Monthly Service Charge: US$35.00
Charge per Check Cashed: US$1.50
Prestige Checking Account:
Minimum Opening Balance: US$5,000.00
Overdraft Facility Up To: US$5,000.00
Monthly Service Charge: US$50.00
Charge per Check cashed: US$0.00
Other fees: For a comprehensive fees schedule, please visit the Caribbean Union Bank official website

Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in Antigua and Barbuda

Requirements For Individuals

For opening an account with prominent banks in Antigua and Barbuda, individuals are required to submit specific documents to facilitate a smooth and compliant account opening process. Remember, this isn't an exhaustive list, and banks may ask for additional documentation. Below, you'll find the standard list of necessary documents:

  1. Identification
  • Current valid passport, or
  • National Identification card, and
  • National Insurance card (with photo), or
  • Driver's license (with photo), or
  • Voter identification card.

Note: Two types of ID are required for non-residents (one piece can be a notarized color copy).

  1. Proof of Address
  • A valid driver’s license, and
  • A recent utility bill, or
  • A recent bank statement.
  1. Proof of Income
  • For employed individuals: recent payslip/paystub or recent job letter/letter of employment (stating employer name, employee name, and rate of pay/salary)
  • For self-employed persons: bank statements for at least the past twelve months.
  1. Tax Identification Number
  • Required for foreign nationals, dual-citizens, and non-residents.
  1. A Bank Reference Letter (for foreign nationals, dual citizens, and non-residents)

Requirements for a Legal Entity (Business)

If you're looking to expand your business or financial presence in Antigua and Barbuda, it's crucial to understand the banking requirements. Opening a business bank account there entails submitting an extensive array of business documents to comply with regulatory norms. 

Please note that this isn't an exhaustive list, and additional documentation may be requested by the bank. Please find the standard list of documents below:

  1. Certificate of Incorporation
  1. Articles of Incorporation
  1. Notice of Directors
  1. Notice of Appointment of a Company Secretary
  1. Notice of Registered Address
  1. The By-laws of the Company
  1. Information on shareholders holding more than 10% of the paid-up share capital
  1. Director’s Resolution to Open Account signed by no fewer than the number of directors required to make up a quorum.
  1. International companies must be registered in Grenada and must provide the relevant Certificate of Registration.
  1. Management accounts for the last 3 years or other proof of the integrity of the source of funds (e.g., banker’s reference and bank statement from the previous banker).
  1. The most recent Annual Return filed with the registrar and identification documents of those persons named in the Annual Return, except where a company is named as a shareholder.
  1. Annual Reports/Audited Financial Statements for the last three years, including a description and place of the principal line(s) of business, a list of major business units, potential suppliers, and customers.
  1. Registration Certificate (Certificate of Registration of a Regulated Entity, if applicable)

How to Open a Bank Account in Antigua and Barbuda?

Opening a bank account in Antigua and Barbuda is a key step for individuals and businesses seeking to initiate or broaden their financial presence in the Caribbean. Please find the major steps below: 

Step 1. Choose Your Bank

Start by choosing a bank that matches your financial requirements and preferences. Antigua and Barbuda hosts a range of excellent banks, each providing a diverse set of services.

Step 2. Check Banking Fees 

Make sure to review the bank fees associated with your account. This includes understanding the costs of services such as ATM withdrawals, account maintenance, international wire transfers, overdrafts, and other fees.

Step 3. Gather the Required Documentation

Collect the necessary paperwork, which often includes identification, utility bills, bank statements, potentially tax reports, proof of address, and evidence of income. Note that the specific documents required may vary between banks.

Step 4. Visit the Bank or Retain Professional Services

Call or email your chosen bank to schedule an appointment, get the document checklist, and start the account opening process. Ensure you have all the necessary documents with you. Alternatively, you can delegate this task to a service provider, allowing you to focus on your main business activities.

Step 5. Meet with a Bank Representative in Person or Online

At your scheduled bank appointment, a representative will guide you through the application, review your documents, and offer necessary assistance, ensuring a smooth process.

Step 6. Fill out the Bank Account Application Forms

Complete the bank's account application forms with accurate and thorough information. Typically, this includes your full name, date of birth, contact details, information about your employment or occupation, tax identification number and residency,  other bank accounts, etc.

Step 7. Submit The Required Documents 

Submit the necessary documents to the bank representative for verification. These may include items such as your passport, national ID card, tax ID, proof of address (e.g., utility bill or bank statement), and evidence of income, such as payslips or bank statements. Please keep in mind that for corporate bank accounts, the required documentation package is significantly different.

Step 8. Examine the Account Agreement

Thoroughly go through the bank's account agreement's terms and conditions. Make sure you're clear about the fees, the minimum balance requirements, and other important details. Ask questions.

Step 9. Initial Deposit

Deposit the required amount to open your new account. The minimum deposit varies, so check the specific amount with the bank representative.

Step 10. Activate Your Account

After your application is accepted and your initial deposit is made, your account will be set up. You will receive details like your account number and information needed for electronic banking.

Step 11. Start Using Your Account

Once your account is active, begin using the bank’s services, such as online and mobile banking, for convenient financial management.

Note: Opening a bank account can be a detailed process, involving several steps and documentation, possibly requiring frequent communication with the bank. Consider using professional services to streamline and handle these complexities.

Citizenship by Investment Program in Antigua and Barbuda

If you want to elevate your offshore banking and go beyond in pursuit of global mobility, 

The Citizenship by Investment Program in Antigua and Barbuda offers a path to citizenship, with benefits like visa-free travel to over 150 countries, including the EU, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UK. The program involves a one-time contribution to the National Development Fund, a Real Estate investment, or a donation to the University of the West Indies Fund. It's designed for individuals seeking to increase global mobility, have tax advantages, and have a robust backup plan. 

FAQ about Banks in Antigua and Barbuda

Who Regulates Banks in Antigua and Barbuda?

Banks in Antigua and Barbuda are regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC). These bodies ensure financial stability and compliance with international banking standards and laws. 

Who Sets Interest Rates for Commercial Banks in Antigua and Barbuda?

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) plays a key role in setting interest rates for commercial banks, balancing economic growth and inflation control.

Are There Any American Banks in Antigua and Barbuda?

No, there are no American banks currently established in Antigua and Barbuda. However, various international banks operate there.

Are There International Banks in Antigua and Barbuda?

Yes, the country has multiple international banks, offering diverse financial services to both local and international clients. For instance, the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Royal Bank of Canada, the PKB Privatbank Limited, and others.

What is the Safest Offshore Bank in Antigua and Barbuda?

Safety varies among banks. You should review each bank's compliance with regulatory standards, their financial health, and their business reputation. The list of reliable banks include: ACB Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, and some others. 

How Hard Is It to Open a Bank Account in Antigua and Barbuda?

Opening a bank account in Antigua and Barbuda is generally straightforward but does require attention to detail. Prospective customers need to complete application forms and provide the necessary documents. The process involves a due diligence check by the bank, ensuring compliance with KYC and AML regulations. While the process is streamlined, it's important to prepare and submit all required documentation accurately. 

Can a US Citizen Open a Bank Account in Antigua and Barbuda?

Yes, US citizens can open bank accounts in Antigua and Barbuda, following local banking regulations and international compliance laws.

Can Non-Residents Open a Bank Account in Antigua and Barbuda?

Yes, non-residents are eligible to open bank accounts in Antigua and Barbuda, though additional documentation and compliance with regulatory standards are required.

Can You Use US Dollars in Antigua and Barbuda?

Yes, you can use US Dollars alongside the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.

Can I Open a Bank Account in Antigua and Barbuda Remotely?

Yes, some banks in Antigua and Barbuda offer the option to open accounts remotely, adhering to the necessary legal and regulatory processes. However, the process could require some assistance.

How to Choose the Best Bank in Antigua and Barbuda?

To choose the best bank in Antigua and Barbuda, it's crucial to research and compare various factors. Look into the range of services each bank offers, such as savings, checking, loans, and investment opportunities. Evaluate their fee structures for account maintenance, transactions, and other services. Technology, like online banking and mobile apps, is also important for convenience. Assess each bank's financial stability and reputation in the market. Finally, consider customer reviews and feedback, which can provide insights into the bank's customer service quality and reliability.

Do Antigua and Barbuda Banks Accept Crypto?

Banks in Antigua and Barbuda have varying policies on cryptocurrency, influenced by the Digital Assets Business Bill of 2020. This legislation provides a regulatory framework for digital assets, affecting how banks handle cryptocurrencies. While some banks may accept crypto transactions, others may not due to regulatory and compliance considerations. It's essential to check with individual banks for their specific crypto policies.

Antigua and Barbuda

Residence Benefits

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Visa free travel to 151 countries

Including the E.U. and Schengen area, the U.K., Hong Kong, Singapore, and others. Easy procedure for obtaining long-term US and Canada tourist visas

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within 6 months

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Zero personal tax. No tax on inheritance, capital gains, foreign income, dividends, interest, or royalties

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Dual citizenship is permitted

There is no need to renounce your previous citizenship when obtaining an Antigua and Barbuda passport

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Global mobility and freedom

From $125,000 donation amount for a family of five

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Citizenship

Processing Time and Terms

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Sign a service agreement, fill out application forms, and pay the initial service and due diligence fees.

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We compile a document package and submit it for due diligence performed by Antigua and Barbuda CBI unit

90

Due diligence and background check conducted by the state

30

We submit your citizenship application once we receive the approval, and you make payment of the outstanding investment amount, government fees, stamp duty, and other fees.

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We supervise the issuance of your passport by Antigua and Barbuda and send your Certificate of Citizenship and passport by DHL Express.

There are Always Options to EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES! Let's Discuss Yours

Every client is unique

Every case requires an individual approach and solution. Our years of experience in the industry allow us to provide both.

We will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about the available second passport and residency programs to help you make the right choice.

Victoria

Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors

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Victoria

Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors