Colombian corporate bank accounts in 2022

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Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC helps multinational Clients open multicurrency corporate bank accounts in Colombia for local and overseas companies.

Our team will project manage every step of the multicurrency corporate bank account opening process, including preparing a quality business plan for our Client’s business. In most cases, our Client will not need to travel to Colombia to complete bank account opening.

We recommend our multinational Clients read this web page to avoid bank surprises later!

  • Colombian banking problems and solutions

    No Colombian banking problem Solution
    1.

    Bank insists the signatory travels to Colombia for a one-hour bank interview.

    Healy Consultants Group PLC’s Client travel policy will apply. As much as possible our staff will organise the bank meeting in our Colombian affiliate’s office and assist our Client during the bank interview(s).
    Alternatively, where possible, Healy Consultants Group PLC’s banking team negotiates with the Colombian bank to have our Client visit the bank’s international branch in their country of residence.

    Our Client may also consider appointing a local Colombian representative and/or director as the temporary account signatory, to facilitate account opening procedures. Following account opening, our Client can transfer the account ownership and authority, when they are able to visit the bank.

    2.

    Bank requires the foreign individual to obtain a Colombian ID card (cedula de extranjeria) before they allow him to become a bank signatory to a Colombian bank account.

    Until the foreign authorized signatory is able to travel to Colombia, secure his Colombian ID and sign bank forms, our Client may consider appointing a local Colombian as the legal representative and/or director as the temporary account signatory, to facilitate account opening procedures. If our Client requires to transact with the bank account, for a monthly fee Healy Consultants can assist with treasury and account management services.

    3.

    Colombian corporate bank account opening for a newly-registered company is difficult when shareholders, directors and bank signatories live outside Colombia.

    Global banks continue to tighten corporate bank account opening procedures and their internal compliance departments are completing more thorough due diligence of Clients. Consequently, our Clients should expect Colombia bank account approval to take up to two months.

    Healy Consultants Group PLC will prepare a quality business plan for the bank to increase the likelihood of account approval.

    If our Client requires a bank account at short notice, we recommend an immediate Colombia solution plus already-approved international corporate bank account.

    4.

    It is not possible to open a multi-currency bank account in Colombia.

    Healy Consultants will open an international bank account outside Colombia. Examples include USA, Central America or Europe. Our fee for this service is US$4,950 without travel or US$3,950 with travel. All banks will be top tier banks in these countries with excellent internet banking services.

    5.

    Like most international banks, Colombian banks often close corporate bank accounts without giving an open, transparent reason to their customers. To close a bank account without giving the bank signatory an opportunity to explain ‘unusual transactions in the account’ is unfair and unreasonable and places our multinational Clients’ businesses under stress.

    We recommend our multi-national Clients open multiple multicurrency corporate bank accounts for their entity. It is unwise to open one corporate bank account and have their business be dependent on one bank.

  • The Colombian banking sector

    Healy Consultants Group PLC summary view:

    In 2021, Colombia’s economy rebounded sharply after shrinking 6.8% in 2020. The Colombian banking system is stable, although as always we do not recommend our Clients deposit all of their funds in one country. Instead, it is wise our Clients open bank accounts in different countries to spread the risk.

    The Colombian banking system is vulnerable because:

    • In May 2021, ratings agency Fitch downgraded Colombia’s sovereign credit rating to junk status.
    • The country has a high fiscal debt, which restricts the government’s ability to protect the banking system in the event of a banking crisis.
    • Unfortunately, the bank assets-to-capital ratio in Colombia is 16.3% in 2020. This infers that there is a risk of banks becoming insolvent.
    • Despite a sharp economic rebound in 2021, Colombia still suffers high unemployment. This hurts banks by i) reducing demand for credit ii) reducing demand for bank products and services, such as loans and mortgages and iii) increasing the likelihood of households being unable to repay debts.
    • While Colombia has not suffered widespread business closures and bankruptcies in 2021 as a result of Covid, some sectors have been hit hard. For example, in May 2020, 10% of all retail businesses in Colombia had shut.

    That said:

    • The Colombian banking system is well regulated and stable, and the regulator is proactive. For example, after Colombian bank earnings plunged 55.3% in 2020, in February 2021 the regulator instructed Colombian banks to halt dividend payments to boost their assets, ahead of an expected deterioration in their loan portfolios.
    • The Colombian banking system has been strengthened and stabilised over the last decade by a series of mergers and acquisitions. There has been no bank collapse in Colombia for many years.
    • Since 2019, Colombian banks are required to adhere to Basel III capital requirement regulations.
    • Colombia has a deposit guarantee scheme. Bank deposits are protected in the event of a bank liquidation. The scheme protects all investments up to the value of 50 million pesos (US$12,550) per individual per institution.
  • Key information on the Colombian banking sector

    • The Colombian financial system is supervised by the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia. In 2022, there are 25 commercial banks across Colombia. The main local banks (by assets) are i) Bancolombia ii) Banco de Bogota and iii) Banco Davivienda.
    • Although all of these banks offer corporate accounts, we recommend where possible that our Clients choose a bank with which they already have a relationship, for example a bank with which they hold an account outside Colombia.
    • Some foreign banks, including Bank of America and Standard Chartered, have branches in Colombia. For non-Spanish speaking Clients, international banks are a more convenient way to bank, with communication available in both Spanish and English.
    • It is difficult to open a corporate bank account in Colombia, especially when the bank signatories reside outside the country. That said, it is not normally necessary for bank signatories to travel to Colombia to meet the bank to open the account. Healy Consultants will secure account numbers in two months from application, and the account will be available in multiple currencies including US$, euros and Swiss Francs, with good online banking.
    • Most Colombian banks offer i) credit and debit cards ii) personal and business loans iii) mortgages iv) wealth management services vi) insurance and vii) merchant services. Getting credit from Colombian banks is straightforward.
    • Colombia is rapidly becoming a cashless society. Because of i) Covid lockdowns ii) the emergence of an array of new digital banking service providers and iii) increased internet coverage and smart phone use across Colombia, more people are conducting everyday transactions, for example utility bill payments and funds transfers or applying for loans, online.
    • Because of the above, Colombia’s bank branch and ATM network is shrinking. Consequently, it is becoming harder to arrange face to face meetings with bank officers.
    • A significant segment of the Colombian population has no bank account, and instead uses a large network of micro-credit organisations to borrow money.
    • Colombia is a member of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) initiative to clamp down on global tax evasion. As a result, Colombian banks share information on accounts and account holders with tax authorities in which the company or individual is a tax-resident.
    • Colombia is also a signatory to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), whereby the Colombian authorities pass information of US citizen account holders to the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Foreign exchange obligations in Colombia

    • Colombia imposes no restrictions on foreign exchange transactions. That said, some transactions must be declared to the central bank, including i) goods imports and exports ii) foreign securities investments iii) investment of capital from overseas and remittances of their profits and iv) investments of Colombian capital overseas.
    • It is important that our Clients are aware of the foreign exchange restrictions and their obligations in Colombia. Let us know if you require Healy Consultant Group PLC’s assistance to timely and efficiently complete your responsibilities.
  • Healy Consultants Group PLC fees to help open a bank account in Colombia

    Colombia banking task Our Client travels US$
    Colombia bank account for a foreign company No 5,950
    Colombia bank account for a Colombian company No 4,950
    Colombia personal bank account No 4,950

    These fees include:

    • Healy Consultants assisting our multinational Client to open a Colombia corporate bank account. Refer to this page for details of the typical multi-currency corporate bank account opening process.
    • As you can appreciate, it is a difficult task to obtain bank account approval through a newly formed company, when shareholders and directors and bank signatories reside outside Colombia. Healy Consultants will shelter our Client from the administrative challenges. Healy Consultants provides guaranteed multi-currency corporate bank account solutions, or your money back.
    • If our Client is not comfortable with a Colombian corporate bank account, Healy Consultants will be pleased to open an international bank account outside Colombia. Refer to this page for Healy Consultants international bank account opening fee.

Conclusion

Colombian corporate bank account opening is straightforward if you know how. Contact Healy Consultants Group PLC if your firm needs assistance navigating through the different banking solutions in Latin America’s fourth-largest economy.

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Colombia, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi
Guide to invest in Colombia free trade zone