Madeira corporate bank accounts in 2021

Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC helps multi-national Clients open multi-currency corporate bank accounts in Madeira for both local and overseas companies.

Without bank signatory travel, our European team will project manage the multi-currency corporate bank account opening process, including preparing a quality business plan for our Client’s business.

We recommend our multi-national Clients read this web page to avoid bank surprises later!

  • Madeira banking problems and solutions

    No.Madeira banking problemSolution
    1.

    Bank refuses to onboard a foreign company which does not have economic presence ( e a physical office and at least one employee) in Madeira, or Madeiran customers or suppliers.

    Bank insists that the bank signatory travel to Madeira for a one-hour bank interview.

    Healy Consultants Group PLC will supply part-time employees to our Client’s Madeira company to meet these substance requirements.

    Healy Consultants Group PLC Client travel policy will apply (click link). Our staff will organise the bank meeting in our Madeira affiliates’ office and assist our Client during the bank interview(s).

    2.

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

    Like the majority of international banks, it is common for Portuguese banks to close corporate bank accounts without giving an open, transparent reason to their customers. To close a customer bank account without giving the bank signatory an opportunity to explain ‘unusual transactions activity in the corporate bank account’ is an unfair, unreasonable action which places our multi-national Clients' businesses under stress.

    As we advance deeper into a global depression, it will become more common for banks to experience financial difficulties. Consequently, multi-national Clients should expect i) small banks to go bankrupt and ii) small to medium-sized banks to be bought over by top tier banks. The number of banks operating in each country will get smaller, exposing our multi-national Clients to financial risk.

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

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

    For each of their entities, we recommend our multi-national Clients open multiple multi-currency corporate bank accounts across multiple countries. Spread your funds across multiple corporate bank accounts in multiple top-tier banks in multiple different countries. Avoid small banks including PSPs FSPs and digital banks unless these institutions offer customer deposit insurance.

    3.

    The majority of Madeiran banks only provide telephone support during Madeira business hours. This is inconvenient for multi-national Clients in other parts of the world.

    Healy Consultants Group PLC staff assist our multi-national Clients with bank communication, regardless of time zones.

  • The Madeira banking sector

    Healy Consultants’ Group PLC summary view:

    • Madeiran banks and financial services providers are regulated by Banco de Portugal, the country’s central bank. Since high profile bank collapses in Portugal in 2014, the central bank has injected state funds to rescue local banks.
    • The central bank still lacks full public trust and credibility for allowing the bank failures to happen, and additional Portuguese bank failures cannot be ruled out.
    • To shore up the banking and financial system, in 2017 the Portuguese government announced it would establish a financial sector supervisor, over and above the central bank, to carry out bank rescues. To date, this move has not materialised.
    • In response to the COVID-19 impact on businesses and individuals in the country, Portugal is implementing a moratorium on loan repayments until at least September 2021. As of September 2020, 10 billion euros’-worth of interest and capital repayments were deferred. While this helps Portuguese households, companies and economy, this puts pressure on bank margins. Portuguese banks already have twice the ratio of non-performing loans than the European average.
    • In 2021 Madeira’s economy and banks face multiple risks. For example:
      • Like Portugal at large, Madeira is dependent on trade, transport and hospitality. Tourism accounts for 25% of the island’s revenue, and employs 17% of workers. Covid-19-related travel restrictions have decimated the industry, and in 2021 more local businesses may go bankrupt, loan defaults will increase and unemployment will soar;
      • There will be a deterioration in bank asset quality in 2021. Ratings agency Fitch forecasts a banking system impaired loan ratio of 9% by the end of 2021;
      • Although Madeira companies receive i) grants and state guarantees on loans from Lisbon (in 2020 the government made 13 billion euros available to SMEs via guaranteed credit lines in the country) and ii) EU support (for example the Next Generation Fund), a prolonged global economic downturn will limit support the island in 2021;
      • Portugal’s debt-to-GDP ratio of 136.2% in 2020 is the EU’s third-highest. We predict it will grow in 2021;
      • Portugal’s banking sector is small and competitive. Because margins are shrinking, local banks will cut costs by closing branches and shedding staff, reducing consumer choice and service.
      • Madeira is being investigated by the European Commission for allegedly failing to enforce economic substance requirements on companies incorporated there. If true, there is a risk that Madeira’s low tax regime may be scrapped before 2027, when the current agreement is due to expire. This will drive foreign investors away and erode the island’s influence as an international business centre. Many investors currently with entities in Madeira will migrate to other jurisdictions. This will hurt bank deposits.
      • Some Portuguese banks may merge. In practical terms, this is likely to lead to i) stronger bank balance sheets, greater bank liquidity and enhanced financial sector stability for the banks but ii) less choice for consumers.
    • Because of the failures, doubts remain over the central bank’s credibility, in particular its ability to maintain banking and financial system stability.
    • Standard & Poor’s sovereign credit rating for Portugal is Baa3 (Moody’s), BBB (Fitch) and BBB (Standard & Poor’s).
    • All Madeira bank deposits are protected up to a maximum value of 100,000 euros per bank, per depositor, regardless of whether the depositor is resident in Portugal or overseas, in case of bank failure.
    • Because of the above, it is wise multinational Clients limit the deposits held in Madeiran banks, and spread their deposits around multiple banks in multiple countries.
  • Key information on the Madeira banking sector

    • Banco de Portugal licences, regulates and supervises i) 69 commercial banks and ii) 89 co-operative banks.
    • Portuguese banks with branches in Madeira include i) Banco BPI ii) Bankinter iii) Banco Montepio iv) Caixa Geral de Depositos.
    • Our preferred international banks in Madeira are i) Santander ii) Millennium BCP iii) Deutsche Bank iv) Citibank and v) BNP Paribas.
    • Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal, and Madeiran financial institutions operate under EU law. In practice, Madeiran banks enjoy the same protection as other EU banks.
    • Digital banks are licensed to operate in Portugal. Though the industry is in its infancy in the country, these ‘virtual banks’ are an excellent alternative to conventional banks, with a similar range of services accessed via an app and lower account service fees. We expect the digital and mobile banking industry in Portugal to explode in the next two years.
    • As well as Euro accounts, Madeiran banks offer multi-currency corporate bank accounts in various other international currencies.
    • Banks in Madeira provide the full range of corporate bank account facilities including multiple currencies, internet banking, telephone banking, checking accounts, savings accounts, debit and credit cards, and wealth management services.
    • To support new business, Healy Consultants Group PLC can assist Clients with trade finance solutions including i) bank guarantees ii) letters of credit iii) finance against trust receipts and iv) documents against payment and against acceptance.
    • Most Madeiran banks do not charge an account opening fee. However, the account must be funded immediately after opening and our Client should ensure the account remains active to avoid closure. The minimum balance required varies between €2,000 and €5,000 and should be monthly maintained. A monthly service fee of between €10 and €20 will be charged for balances below the required minimum.
    • On average, Madeiran banks take two months to issue corporate bank account numbers and e-banking access.
    • International debit and credit cards are widely accepted in Madeira. Even small transactions can be completed by card, and Covid-19 is accelerating the use of contactless payments on the island.
    • Some Madeira bank branch staff will speak English, especially in the branches of international banks in Funchal. Most Portuguese banks offer correspondence and online banking in English.
    • Local retail banks offer better currency exchange rates than money changers in Portugal. If you open a foreign currency account along with a euro account, transfers can easily be made between the two.
    • In 2021, Portuguese banks pay up to 1.45% interest on euro fixed time deposits.
    • Portugal is a signatory to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), a global initiative to clamp down on tax evasion. As a result, banks based in Madeira and on the Portuguese mainland share information on accounts and account holders with tax authorities where the company/individual is tax-resident.
    • Similarly, under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), since 2014 banks in Madeira and the Portuguese mainland report information on US account holders to the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS).
    • It is important that our Clients are aware of their corporate and legal obligations in Madeira and that they timely fulfil the same. Let us know if you require Healy Consultants Group PLC’s assistance to timely and efficiently complete your legal and corporate responsibilities.
  • Foreign exchange obligations in Madeira

    There are no foreign exchange controls in Madeira.

  • Healy Consultants Group PLC fees to help open a corporate bank account in Madeira

    Healy Consultants Group PLC guarantees Madeira company bank account approval. Our fees for different banking services include:

    Madeira banking taskOur Client travels
    Madeira bank account for a foreign companyNo4,950
    Madeira bank account for a Madeira companyNo4,950
    Madeira personal bank accountNo4,950

    Our multi-currency corporate bank account opening fees cover the following:

    • Creating a quality business plan for the banks, explaining the purpose of the business and future banking transactions.
    • Securing welcome emails from multiple Portuguese banks, inviting our Client to submit a multi-currency corporate bank account application.
    • Healy Consultants Group PLC’s Banking Team completing, on our Client’s behalf, the multi-currency corporate bank account application forms and collating Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence documents.
    • Following successful completion of the above, the bank officer submitting a complete potential customer file to the bank Legal and Compliance Department. (Note that the bank In-house Legal and Compliance Department may revert multiple times for additional documentation and information from i) each bank signatory / director / UBOs of the companies as well as ii) our Client’s business and transactions).
    • If a bank declines to board our Client’s business, Healy Consultants Group PLC immediately informing our Client and actioning back-up banking solutions.
    • In an average of two months following application submission, Healy Consultants Group PLC securing multiple multi-currency corporate bank account numbers for our Client’s Madeira or foreign company.
    • Thereafter, Healy Consultants Group PLC, or the banks, couriering mails and e-banking tokens to the bank signatory, who is expected to activate the internet bank account, with Healy Consultants Group PLC’s assistance if needed.
    • After corporate bank account numbers are secured and, if required, Healy Consultants Group PLC assisting our Client to appoint more new shareholders and directors. However, the banks will sometimes only approve them as bank signatory after a face-to-face meeting and the review and approval of a bank signatory application.
  • Considerations when opening a bank account in Madeira

    • It is possible for both locally incorporated and foreign (i e non-Madeira-incorporated) companies to open a corporate bank account in Madeira. However, it is difficult for foreign companies without a permanent establishment (I e physical office premises and local employees) in Madeira to open a local account, unless they have existing Madeiran customers or suppliers.
    • Every foreign individual must obtain a personal Portuguese tax number before they can be appointed as a bank signatory on any Portuguese bank account.
    • Depending on our Client’s business and nationality, there is a chance the bank in Madeira will request a bank signatory to travel for a one-hour interview as part of AML/CFT obligations. We will try our best to negotiate with the bank for a travel exemption. Unfortunately, even if our Client travels to Madeira to meet the bank, there is no guarantee that the bank account will be opened.
    • If our Client must travel to Madeira for corporate bank account opening, Healy Consultants Group PLC will refund our Client €950.
    • Global banks continue to tighten corporate bank account opening procedures, their internal compliance departments completing more thorough due diligence of Clients. Consequently, our Clients should expect the bank account approval period to take up to two months.
    • If our Client is uncomfortable with only a Madeira corporate bank account, Healy Consultants Group PLC can open an international corporate bank account outside Madeira. Examples include New York, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Bulgaria, South Africa, Australia, London, South America or Dubai. All will be top-tier banks in these countries, with excellent internet banking services.
    • Some Madeira banks prefer to communicate directly with our Client and will not keep Healy Consultants Group PLC in the loop for security purposes. In this case, Healy Consultants Group PLC will assist our Client to prepare quality answers to the bankers’ questions and requests.
  • Documents required for Madeira corporate bank account opening

    Documents required to open a Madeira corporate bank account include i) valid passport ii) proof of address and iii) company registration documents iv) proof of business globally or information on prospect clients and suppliers and v) expected source of incoming funds and destination of outgoing funds. For more information on corporate bank account opening procedures, visit this page.

Conclusion

Madeira multi-currency corporate bank account opening is easy if you know how. Contact Healy Consultants Group PLC if your Firm needs assistance navigating through the different banking solutions.

Contact us

For additional information on our company formation services in Madeira, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi
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