South Africa corporate banking options
Healy Consultants Group PLC has almost 20 years’ experience opening South Africa corporate bank accounts for multinational Clients. It is not easy to open a business bank account as a non-resident, but we enjoy good relationships with several top-tier South African banks, and our Client need not travel to open the account.
South Africa banking for resident and non-resident companies
- Although there are about 80 commercial banks in South Africa, just four ( i) Standard Bank Group ii) FirstRand Ltd iii) Absa and iv) Nedbank Group) control more than 80% of the market;
- In our opinion Nedbank, First National Bank and Standard Bank are the best business banks in South Africa with superior Internet banking, credit and wealth management products;
- We can open a South Africa corporate bank account for our Client with a leading bank without our client needing to travel.
How to open a business bank account in South Africa
- To open a business bank account in South Africa with a foreign corporate entity, local banks apply stringent due diligence checks on directors, shareholders and bank signatories. Expect to provide i) original passport copy ii) proof of address (utility bill) iii) reference letter from Client’s existing bank and iv) current bank statement;
- Banks will also request corporate documents for the newly-formed South African company. Expect to submit i) certificate of registration/incorporation ii) memorandum and articles of association iii) letter of introduction from the company’s ultimate beneficial owner and iv) company’s proof of address;
- Depending on the jurisdiction in which our Client/company is domiciled, due diligence documents may need to i) be notarised by a notary public and ii) either apostilled by a local court or legalised by the South Africa embassy in the domicile country;
- South African banks will not exclusively open a foreign currency bank account. A local currency account will also be opened;
- To ensure smooth transfer of funds into and out of South Africa, Clients must maintain with the bank clear records of invoices from Clients or sources of funds being transferred into the bank account.
- The process for opening a business bank account in South Africa is challenging, especially when company shareholders, directors and bank signatories are non-South African and do not live in the country;
- Fortunately, we have almost two decades of successfully navigating the many requirements to open a business bank account in South Africa without our Client needing to travel. We do this by skilfully planning and project managing the engagement at all stages;
- This includes preparing a quality business plan to attract interest form South African banks in onboarding our Client’s business;
- We also leverage our excellent relationships with top-tier banks in South Africa to whom we will present the quality business plan to facilitate the account opening process or secure preferential banking rates for our Clients;
- Because of the above, we can normally secure corporate bank account for our Client within 4 weeks. Internet banking approval takes a further three weeks;
- We offer a range of alternative African banking options (without travel) for foreign companies should our Client require a non-South African solution.
Trade finance considerations
- Securing trade finance from banks in South Africa is challenging. A lot of documents must be submitted, including i) a quality business plan ii) details of the business owners’ experience iii) most recent three years’ audited financial statements iv) a realistic feasibility study and v) a detailed strength and weaknesses analysis (SWOT);
- Healy Consultants Group PLC will assist our Client secure trade finance facilities including i) bank guarantees ii) letters of credit iii) finance against trust receipt and iv) documents against payment and against acceptance;
- Additionally, we will assist our Clients obtain corporate finance in the form of a loan, overdraft or preferential credit terms;
- Healy Consultants Group PLC works with South African banking institutions offering customised, solution-based financial structures including insurance and other banking disciplines;
- Clients engaged in import/export of products to and from other African countries will have access to funding solutions such as pre- and post-shipment finance, revolving credit facilities and cross border guarantees.
Foreign exchange controls considerations
- The South African government imposes light foreign exchange controls on funds transferred into and out of South Africa by resident individuals and companies. These controls have fortunately been progressively eased in recent years;
- Non-residents can freely repatriate funds from the country without government intervention. However, funds transfers into the country must be reported to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB);
- Local commercial banks must report to SARB all foreign currency purchases received by South Africa residents and companies, irrespective of the amount;
- There is no restrictions or clearances needed on the remittance of dividends to non-residents. That means companies can freely remit dividends to foreign shareholders;
- Non-resident shareholders can freely repatriate sales proceeds of shares in a South Africa-resident company;
- Loans from foreign banks will require resident companies to obtain prior permission from SARB, though approvals are usually easily granted.
Frequently asked questions
Which banks offer the best business banking solutions for a South Africa company formation?Healy Consultants recommends our Clients to opt for highly reputable banks including First National Bank, Standard Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Citibank. These banks offer excellent customer service facilities to foreign entrepreneurs.
Is online corporate banking deemed a safe option when working in South Africa?Yes. Healy Consultants has prior experience of working in South Africa and hence, only works with the most reputable banks. So, we believe our Clients should feel safe when conducting online banking in South Africa.