How to Open a Bank Account in Serbia

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The banking world has been changing dramatically over recent years. The number of banks prepared to provide services to shell companies or offshore companies is growing smaller day after day. Non-resident (foreign companies) are considered high-risk companies by bank administrations in many countries.

In the context of such tendencies, the opportunity to open a bank account in Serbia deserves some special attention. You can find a common language with the local bankers if you know some important nuances and employ proven algorithms for achieving results.

Specifics of the financial sector in Serbia

The Government of Serbia has been actively reforming the country’s economy in general and the financial sector in particular since Serbia became an independent country. It closely cooperates with the IMF and the World Bank. The Parliament of Serbia has passed several laws stimulating foreign direct investments. The international financial community acknowledges Serbian achievement. Experts note that the national currency is stable in Serbia and there have been no inflation surges.

An important note! The financial sector in Serbia is coming up to the EU standards both in terms of the use of modern technologies for personal data protection and in terms of the quality of financial services.

Serbia is planning to join the European Union in 2025. This prospect certainly has a bearing on the banks as far as servicing non-resident clients is concerned. In 2019, Serbia announced joining the CRS group of countries and toughening the requirements to bank clients. This especially concerns non-resident customers. The tendency is going to continue. At the same time, opening an account with a Serbian bank is quite possible for a foreign national. You have to supply a complete set of application documents, conclusively prove legality of your funds, and communicate with the bankers in the right manner. If these conditions are satisfied, you can open a non-resident bank account in Serbia.

Conditions for opening and preserving a bank account in Serbia

Today, a large number of European banks will deny services to foreign corporate clients. Moreover, many banks are closing the existing non-resident corporate accounts. In this situation, panicking is not going to help. There is a reason for what’s going on in economically strong European countries: their governments want to make international business operations totally transparent. If an entrepreneur is prepared to ‘lay the cards face up’, he or she will be able to find a bank that will take him/ her onboard. The entrepreneur can find such a bank in Serbia, for example.

An important note! You have to bear the following nuances in mind:

  1. When approving the application for banking services from a foreign customer (an individual or a company), the Compliance Department officer takes on huge responsibility. If he or she makes the wrong decision, it may have dramatic consequences not only for his/ her career but also for the reputation of the bank as a financial institution. This is the reason why the Compliance Department officer will scrutinize every application from a foreign customer with great care. He/ she is not going to do it to find faults with the application. The bank officer will do it to ascertain that the prospective client is perfectly ‘clean’.
  2. Staying in touch with Serbian bankers is a matter of tremendous importance. You have to answer all their questions and send the information that they request literally in an instant. You have to be available 24/7 to them.
  3. When you open an account with a Serbian bank, your first transactions are going to be put under the microscope and analyzed with great care. At any moment, you can expect questions about your first few transactions. You can think of it as a trial period or a test that you must pass. After a while, the pressure on the part of the bankers will cease to be so hard. ON the other hand, if you fail to answer the questions about your transactions in a timely manner, you might be listed as a ‘suspicious client’. Understandably, this would be a direct path to account closure.
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