How to open a bank account in FBME BANK LTD

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On July 18, 2014, the Central Bank of Cyprus announced that it had taken control of FBME’s operations in Cyprus, following a report from the United States Treasury Department describing the bank as a “primary money laundering concern”. This actually means that the bank will cease its activity in Cyprus.


To our great regret, it is difficult for us to find any positive aspects in our work with FBME Bank Ltd. This is partly because we did not work much with this bank. The reasons for this are lengthy delays in the bank’s Moscow representative office replies to written enquiries (there even was a case when our attempts to contact the Moscow representative office were completely ignored after the account opening interview with the client had already taken place, which was unpleasant enough), the constant changing of staff in the Moscow representative office, the lack of well-coordinated interaction between the Moscow representative office and the head department in Cyprus, and the slow procedures of the Compliance Department which considerably delay the opening of an account. The undoubted disadvantage is that there is no courier delivery of internet banking codes to clients. The clients, who do not all live in Moscow, have to visit the representative office again (after the interview) to pick up the codes.
But still, if we come to look for ‘a spoon of honey in the barrel of tar’, it should be noted that FBME Bank Ltd was the first active private international bank in Cyprus, and the first foreign bank that established its central office in Tanzania and created a national payment system called ‘TANPAY’

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    Bank's characteristics

    General information and rating

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    Global rating Countrywide rating Countrywide rating of the head bank Global rating of the head bank Credit rating
    Not rated Not rated CCC
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    Year of foundation 1990
    History FBME was registered in Cyprus in 1982. Since then it has operated from Cyprus under an international banking license issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus. In 1986 FBME was granted an additional banking license in the Cayman Islands. According to its strategic plan, FBME ceased its operations in the Caymans in 2003 and moved its head office to Tanzania. FBME has had a representative office in Moscow since 1993
    Personnel The bank’s staff speaks many European languages, Russian, Armenian, Arabic, and Swahili
    Bank’s shareholders Mr Ayoub-Farid M Saab - 50%; Mr Fadi M Saab - 50%
    Confidentiality Judicial Cooperation Agreement with Russia is signed; Double Taxation Agreement with Russia is signed; AML legislation is strictly observed; Active member of OECD, FATF, Basel Commitee, Egmont Group etc.

    Minimum requirements

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    Minimum balance, € Transactions permitted per month Initial deposit of funds, € Deadline for the initial deposit, month Minimum turnover, €/year
    0 0 20 000 No restrictions No restrictions
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    Minimum balance, € There are no requirements as to the minimum balance
    Transactions permitted per month There are no requirements as to the number of transactions
    Initial deposit of funds, € The initial deposit is EUR 20 000
    Deadline for the initial deposit, month There is no deadline for making the initial deposit
    Minimum turnover, €/year There are no requirements as to the minimum turnover
    How fast payments are executed For incoming transfers – date specified in the correspondent bank’s notice; for outgoing transfers – value date – spot (48 hours)

    Tariffs and services

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    Outcoming transfer, € Incoming transfer, € Account maintenance, €/year Payment limit for credit cards, €/day Funds to be blocked for CC issue, €
    40 8 73 N/A N/A
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    Outcoming transfer, € Standard Value: 0.10% (min. USD 8, max. USD 83), correspondent banks may also charge their fees. Swift payments – USD 13. Same Day or Next Day Value – a standard fee plus additional fee of USD 103. For transfers within the EU, it is necessary to provide Bank Identification Code and International Bank Account Number, if no such information is provided, a fee of USD 13 will be charged
    Account maintenance, €/year Account maintenance fee is USD 23 per quarter, which makes USD 92 per year. A flat fee of USD 18 is charged on closing of each account
    Distant access to the account The account can be managed through Internet (FBME DIRECT). This service costs USD 5 per month, which is debited from the account
    Financial products Fixed-term Deposits, Deposit Certificates, Trade Finance, Private Banking, Foreign Exchange Trading, Trust Solutions, Internet Banking Services, Plastic Cards
    Credit/debit cards VISA Gold Card, MasterCard Gold Card, MasterCard Standard Card, GLOBAL CARD, KEY CARD

    Account opening procedure

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    Days to open for incoming transfers Days to open for outcoming transfers References Business description Purpose of the account
    7 14 Necessary Sketchy Savings & current
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    Visit to the bank No visit to the bank is required as it has a representative office in Moscow
    Required For a personal account: completed bank forms, passports. For a corporate account: completed bank forms, constitutive documents of the company, Certificate of Good Standing (if the company is more than 6 months old), details of directors (for individual directors – certified copy of passport and proof of address in the country of residence, for corporate directors – certificate of incorporation, official register of directors, and certified copy of each director’s passport), details of shareholders (for individual shareholders – certified copy of passport and proof of address in the country of residence, for corporate shareholders – certificate of incorporation, register of directors and shareholders), reference letters for directors, beneficial owners of the company and signatories to the bank account
    Types of accounts Personal; Corporate; Savings; Current
    Opening procedure and Due Diligence It is possible to open an account without visiting the country where the bank is located
    Chances to open an account Predictable
    Business description Relatively detailed: in addition to the description of the business, the origin of funds needs to be disclosed
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