WILLEMSTAD/PHILIPSBURG: As part of the recurring meetings between the Centrale Bank van
Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) and the local stakeholders of Sint Maarten, CBCS-president Richard
Doornbosch and CBCS Sint Maarten’s director Raquel Lo Fo Wong, met with the Sint Maarten
Bankers Association (SMBA) on Wednesday, February 16, 2022.
The principal aim of the meeting was to discuss the efforts of local banks to improve the banking
experience of consumers in Sint Maarten. In particular, the requirements for opening and closing of
bank accounts, consumer rights, and complaints procedure were being discussed.
The CBCS and the SMBA agreed that it should be possible for eligible natural persons to open a bank
account within 10 business days after valid identification, proof of address, and proof of income can
be provided. In a digitalized society a bank account is a key requirement for financial inclusion. New
innovations might provide alternatives in the not too distant future, but the limited interconnectedness
of, for example, digital wallets restrict their functionality as a universal means of payment.
With respect to business accounts, the legal requirements for opening a bank account were discussed
at length. The onboarding process tends to be more complicated and thus lengthy as the CBCS
requires commercial banks to establish who is the beneficial owner and who is legally entitled to act
on behalf of the company. For companies, this is not always straightforward. The banks are in addition
required by law to understand the transaction behavior of the company in order to identify unusual
The commercial banks indicated that for small local businesses the opening of an account should be
possible within the same 10 working days as for natural persons after receiving all the required
documents. They also stated that the opening of bank accounts is a commercial decision. Some high-
risk individuals and companies might not be able to open a bank account in Sint Maarten based on
the risk appetite of the financial institution. The CBCS stressed the need to have adequate
identification, customer due diligence, and transaction monitoring procedures in place for all clients
as the CBCS will intensify its supervision on these elements. However, these procedures should not
stand in the way of excellent customer service for existing and potential clients.
Finally, the commercial banks’ complaints procedures were discussed. The CBCS and the SMBA
agreed to continue their dialogue on these and other issues.