A business cannot function without a bank account. However, opening one nowadays has become – in some instances – a complex procedure that needs professional untangling.

In the present age of technology, further intensified by the current pandemic, our reality has us working from home, at a distance; seeing each other through Skype, Teams, Zoom and other apps. In these times, opening and accessing a remote bank account in order to ease our work should both be a priority as well as an extremely easy process.

Unfortunately, this is not the case; on the contrary, banking is one of the few sectors where digitization (although in place) is not utilized too much, with bank-imposed conditions and procedures becoming more and more rigorous as time goes by.

The growing transparency of international business, the upcoming automatic exchange of financial account information (CRS) between jurisdictions, and global anti-offshorization tendencies have all significantly affected the banking sector, resulting in stricter rules for both new and existing clients.

In certain cases, banks are refusing to open bank accounts unless presented with proof of your substance, your offices, your employees etc. For all these reasons the appropriate presentation of your application to them is vital.

That is why Eurofast is here for you, recommending solutions to make your choices easier. The fact that our company has offices in a large number of locations in the Balkans, with an active presence in all important countries in the region, makes us particularly able to facilitate banking operations and recommend the right path for our clients.

Specifically, Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro and Serbia, each one combining the local legislation with international or EU rules (where applicable), all have certain specific requirements for remotely opening a bank account for your company.

Our experts can initiate discussions with the respective banks and prepare for you the required Due Diligence file (necessary for bank account opening), so that the acceptance by the compliance department becomes almost a formality.

Even within the same country, the banking procedures vary greatly depending on the bank and careful attention must be paid to specific steps. As a general overview, we can summarize the most common ones, but only a custom-made discussion or a specifically scheduled virtual meeting with our local consultants can guide you correctly.

All of the above countries allow the opening of Euro accounts, even though two of them – Bulgaria and Romania- are already for some time members of the European Union but have not adopted the common currency yet. Accounts in local currencies can be opened as well. This is important for clients with a multinational presence of their business, such as online sales involving the above countries.

Additionally, almost all of the above countries are offering the possibility to open accounts for a newly established company without any business history, potentially without a face-to-face interview with the bank personnel.

It is very important to note that in most banks recommended by Eurofast there is no requirement for a minimum deposit, particularly for business accounts.

Distinct solutions can be offered in the cases of requests for e-merchant accounts, these being specific requests that require increased attention in choosing the bank. However, our team of experts is able to guide you on this issue as well.

What else you may need for an easy handling of the account? Usually the main conditions a client has when deciding upon the bank are the following: direct remote internet access, a card attached to the account and – of course – logical bank charges.

We can recommend how to choose a bank in a way that you can be sure you will get all the above plus the best conditions for your personal interest or/and your business. We are customizing our approach, always offering tailor-made solutions for each client and request we have.

Eurofast operates from fully fledged offices in Athens, Thessaloniki, Nicosia, Sofia, Bucharest, Belgrade, Podgorica, Tirana, Skopje, Zagreb, Pristina, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Cairo, Alexandria, Tbilisi, Beirut, Erbil, Moscow, Kiev and Tehran. In addition to banking, Eurofast can also assist in many other related activities, ranging from forming a company in the regional markets, accounting and payroll services, Transfer Pricing files, PEO services, advisory in investment and M&A, citizenship and immigration services, to name a few. Due to our extensive expertise, we refer to ourselves as a "One Stop Shop" for your business and your company in this part of the world. We welcome your inquiries and look forward to assisting you in the Balkans.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.