International Banks FAQs

  1. What is the minimum paid-up capital for an international bank?
    US$500,000 or foreign currency equivalent is required.

  2. Does the paid-up capital have to be held by the Reserve Bank or another financial institution in Vanuatu?
    There is no requirement that these funds be held by the Reserve Bank or any other bank in Vanuatu. The authorities prefer that the funds are held by a reputable, well known bank either within or outside Vanuatu and require proof, such as a letter by a bank holding the funds or bank statement, that this is the case.

    In addition, the Reserve Bank will make a determination as to the computation and form of the minimum capital to be maintained. This will depend on the nature of the banking business, and the scale and nature of the licensee's assets and liabilities.

  3. Many jurisdictions only issue offshore banking licenses to internationally known banks. Is this the case in Vanuatu?
    The authorities are prepared to issue international bank licenses to private individuals, provided they are people of good character, who can adequately demonstrate that they intend using the bank for genuine and legitimate purposes and have the necessary experience and financial backing.

  4. What are the total Government charges for the registration of the company and licensing fees?
    The total Government charges will be US$16,750, which includes license application fees, first year's license fees and first year's company annual registration fees. In addition there would be our fees to assist with the company formation and license submission preparation and any other office and staff establishment costs.

  5. How long does it take the authorities to review a license application?
    Once all application documents are lodged with the authorities, the Reserve Bank must issue or refuse the license within four months. Apart from reviewing the application documents, the authorities check the references provided and have Interpol or a similar organisation check the bona fides of the beneficial owners in their home country.

  6. What statistical reporting has to be provided to the Reserve Bank and what are the other ongoing requirements once a license has been granted?
    An international bank must provide quarterly management and operational reports of its affairs to the Reserve Bank, which must disclose the nature of the bank’s operations during the quarter and sundry financial information included in a Quarterly Report issued by the authorities. An international bank is required to maintain records so that annual accounts can be prepared, audited and submitted to the authorities each year.

  7. Are the financial statements of an international bank and details of its directors and shareholders a matter of public record?
    Whilst this information must be filed at the Reserve Bank, it is not available to the general public.

  8. Does there need to be an office in Vanuatu?
    Under the new International Banking Act, an office manned by one or more full-time employees is legally required. However, as a minimum, the Reserve Bank expects atleast one senior person to be resident in Vanuatu. The precise number of staff would depend on the structure and volume of business activities carried out by the bank.

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