Banking and Lending Information
Opening a Personal Bank Account
All banks in the Cayman Islands adhere to mandatory due-diligence requirements for both residents and non-residents, meaning they will perform fairly extensive checks before opening an account for you to ensure that you are thoroughly legitimate and that no money is going to be laundered.
Non-residents can open bank accounts in Cayman without visiting the Islands (not all banks offer this service), but they must submit multiple certified documents to prove their identity, a current overseas address, the source of funds and bank references along with their application.
Local banks will often want a legitimate rationale for opening an account for an overseas resident and it is worth noting that (for example) a US citizen who has opened an account in the Cayman Islands, will still need to declare the account to the Department of Treasury and declare any income earned on that account.
In order to open a bank account, banks will request some or all of the following information:
- A reference from your current bank, addressed to the bank in the Cayman Islands. This document must include how long you have banked with your home bank, the average balance maintained and the manner in which your account has been conducted. If the applicant has not had a bank account for three years, a professional reference addressed to the bank is required. The letter must be the original copy and if a husband and wife are sharing an account, they both must be referenced in the letter. If you are moving from another country, it is much easier to get this letter organised before you leave your home country and bring it with you.
- Source of funds and supporting documentation, i.e. job letter if source is salary or rental agreement if source is rental income.
- If you are coming here to work, then a letter from your Cayman employer stating the commencement of employment, the amount you will earn and your position in the company.
- A recent utility bill (less than 3 months old) as proof of address.
- Valid forms of identification such as your driver’s license and passport (they will photocopy your documents).
- Your full name, residential address, phone number, nationality, date of birth, occupation and name and address of your employer.
It is important to note that some banks will not offer checking services to a new account holder who has just arrived on the Island. However, they will offer you a savings account and a debit card. If you change jobs while in Cayman, you must get a letter from your new employer stating your salary and submit it to the bank.
Opening a Business Bank Account
For a company looking to open a business bank account in the Cayman Islands, the bank or trust company will need the following information:
- Full incorporation paperwork.
- Written request to open a new account on company letterhead giving an overview of the business (e.g. clients, number of staff and how revenue is generated) and reason for needing the account.
- Bank references from a current bank.
- Certificate of Incorporation, certified by a Notary Public.
- Articles and Memorandum of Association, certified by a Notary Public.
- Annual report, financial statements, auditors reports or business plan.
- Certificate of Good Standing, if business is older than one year.
- Register of Members, Officers and Directors, certified by the registered office or a Notary Public.
- The identity of each ultimate beneficial owner, director and signatory; this must be supported by a certified copy of their passports and proof of residential address.
- If the business is conducted within the Cayman Islands, a copy of the current Trade and Business license.
- Professional reference from an accounting or law firm and a professional reference from a bank that indicates a good relationship of over three years.
- Nature and dollar volume of anticipated transactions, including source of funding of initial and subsequent deposits. This can be provided from a copy of the Business Plan if the company is new or latest Financial Statements if the company is already operating.
- Tax declaration form.
- All directors, members and signatories to supply all information needed for a personal bank account.
If you have been personally interviewed at the bank, then you don’t need a certification of identification. If there are more than a nominal number of shareholders, the bank requires identification and references for the principal shareholders who own 10% or more of the shareholding, directors and officers responsible for the operation of the account.
Companies incorporated in other countries require notarized documents to verify the bona fides of the company. The minimum opening deposit is CI$2,500 or currency equivalent.
Getting a Mortgage
Mortgages in the Cayman Islands can be obtained from a local Class A bank as these are the banks which are authorized to lend money. It’s sensible to shop around, however, as rates are competitive and the percentage above prime (from 1%-5%) can be negotiated. The usual term for a mortgage is 20 years, although some banks will offer as much as 35 years.
Most home-buyers will be asked to make a down payment of 5-10% or more as a deposit. There is no such thing as an interest-only mortgage in Cayman as there is in other parts of the world. Definitely ask if you can pay bi-weekly (thereby paying less interest) and check if the bank charges a penalty for early repayment. Various factors including profession, salary, employer and credit history are taken into account when determining terms and also whether the applicant is Caymanian or an expat.
Once newer residents have established a good financial track record here however, the banks may be willing to renegotiate terms and give a more competitive rate. When taking out a mortgage, it is also worth factoring in that you will be charged stamp duty on the money you borrow. Mortgages of less than CI$300,000 attract a 1% government stamp duty fee, while for mortgages of CI$300,000 or higher, attract a figure of 1.5%. If you are using an attorney, they typically charge 0.5%, while the bank charges 0.5% on the cost of the mortgage.
If you think you will be here for a few years, buying can be a good investment, and you may pay less on your mortgage than if you rented the same property. However, always consider that when buying a property, the stamp duty is 7.5% and when selling the property.
Class A Banks
Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Ltd
Offering banking centre services as well as private banking, asset management, trusts and estate planning, custody services and more
Tel: +1 345 949 7055
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank
With three branches on Grand Cayman, you are never far away from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
Tel: +1 345 949 7300
Cayman National Bank Ltd.
Branch Services: Chequing, savings and fixed deposit accounts, credit and debit cards, online banking, largest ATM network Island-wide.
Tel: +1 345 949 4655
Fidelity Bank (Cayman) Ltd.
Fidelity provides banking, insurance and pension services from their offices in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
Tel: +1 345 949 7822
RBC Royal Bank (Cayman) Ltd.
RBC Royal Bank (Cayman) are located in the Cayman Islands and offer a range of services such as checking, savings and term deposit accounts.
Tel: +1 345 949 4600
Scotiabank & Trust (Cayman) Ltd.
Scotiabank & Trust (Cayman) Limited has been operating in the Cayman Islands for over 50 years.
Tel: +1 345 949 7666