Guinea-Bissau corporate banking options in 2023
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group helps our multinational Clients open multicurrency corporate bank accounts in Guinea-Bissau for both local and overseas companies.
Our team will project manage the multicurrency corporate bank account opening process. This includes preparing a quality business plan describing in detail our Client’s business, to maximise the chances of corporate bank account approval.
Guinea-Bissau banking problems and solutions
No. Guinea-Bissau banking problem Healy Consultants Group solution 1. Bank refuses to onboard a foreign company which has no physical office in Guinea-Bissau or Guinea-Bissau customers or suppliers.
Healy Consultants Group registers i) a local Guinea-Bissau entity or ii) registers our Client’s project with the local tax authority, and then secures Guinea-Bissau corporate bank account numbers.
Healy Consultants Group has a guaranteed corporate bank account approval policy.
2. Global banks, including in Guinea-Bissau, have ever-stricter corporate bank account opening criteria. Our Clients should expect heightened bank due diligence requests, including multiple requests for details about the company’s activities and Clients. If our Client requires a bank account at short notice, we recommend an immediate Guinea-Bissau company with an already-approved local corporate bank account. 3. Guinea-Bissau banks commonly close business accounts without giving an open, transparent reason to their customers. We help our multinational Clients open multiple multicurrency corporate bank accounts for their entity. We do not recommend being dependent on just one bank. 4. Bank deposits in Guinea-Bissau are not protected by the Government. If a bank fails, deposits are lost. We recommend multinational Clients open multiple multi-currency corporate bank accounts with local and international banks. Spread the risk amongst multiple banks.
The Guinea-Bissau banking sectorHealy Consultants Group recommends out multi-national Clients’ minimize the funds held in local banks because:
- Guinea-Bissau’s banking system is small and vulnerable to global geopolitical and economic shocks, for example Covid-19 . Locally, the country also regularly experiences political violence, and the threat of coups. This seriously threatens the stability of the country’s banking system by destroying investor confidence. As a result, we recommend our multinational Clients spread their risk by holding a bank account with a foreign bank as well as a local bank, using the Guinea-Bissau bank account to only conduct local daily transactions and in general, minimise the amount of money held in the country.
- Guinea-Bissau’s economy is one of the least diverse in Africa. A collapse of global cashew nut prices (cashew exports account for 90% of the country’s exports) would shake the economy and decimate bank deposits from both cashew exporters and the workers employed in the industry. The country has a long track record of low cashew nut prices causing a rise in non-performing loans.
- Few Guinea-Bissauans have a bank account, and even the growth of digital microfinance firms is limited by the fact that just one in five of the population has an internet connection. Most people still use cash for daily transactions. As a result, demand for conventional banking products and services is low, and this limits bank profitability and the number of financial services banks supply in the country.
Key information on the Guinea-Bissau banking sector
- Guinea-Bissau is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union. The eight member states share i) a common currency, the CFA Franc ii) a single central bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and iii) a common monetary policy. BCEAO is responsible for banking and financial system stability among the eight member states.
- The country’s commercial banking sector is very small, with just four licensed banks. Limited choice unfortunately makes securing corporate bank accounts more difficult, because local banks are not hungry for business. In addition, service standards are low because of the lack of competition, and the range of banking services is small. Online banking platforms in Guinea-Bissau are unsophisticated and cannot cater for more than basic transactions.
- It is not always necessary for our Client to visit Guinea-Bissau to open a corporate bank account. Our local team in the country will handle the entire application, from i) preparing a quality business plan relating to our Client’s business to ii) contacting the four local banks to gauge their interest in onboarding our Client’s business and iii) then preparing a complete account opening application for our Client’s remote review and signature.
- Guinea-Bissau is still a largely cash-based economy, with few retail outlets having point of sale machines. People are therefore obliged to carry large amounts of cash and rely on a national ATM network which is unreliable, sometimes run out of cash and which rarely accept international bank cards.
- There is no minimum deposit required for corporate bank account opening in Guinea Bissau. However, in such cases we always encourage our Clients to maintain funds in the account, and in Guinea-Bissau we recommend 500,000 CFA franc (US$927) in the account.
- Where bank branches exist, expect service to be slow and inefficient. Budget for two months to open a corporate bank account after the application has been submitted.
- Guinea-Bissau has not signed up to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) initiative to combat global tax evasion. As a result, local banks do not share information on accounts and account holders with the tax authorities where the company/individual is tax-resident.
- Guinea-Bissau is not a signatory to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), in which banks around the world report information on US account holders to the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS).
- As with other West African member states, BCEAO freely allows the conversion of CFA francs into foreign currency, and vice versa.
- Additionally, the state guarantees the remittance abroad of profits, dividends or repatriation of capital, as well as the payment of borrowed capital, interest, goods and services purchased or contracted with individuals or companies not resident in the national territory.
ConclusionOpening a corporate bank account in Guinea Bissau is easy if you know how. Contact our expert banking team to find out how we can assist.