Singapore has emerged as arguably Asia’s leading financial center in recent years, with every major international financial institution having a presence here. In addition, there are currently 125 commercial banks operating in the city-state, with five of them being local and the rest being foreign.
When considering opening a corporate bank account in Singapore, businesses have numerous options. Most Singapore banks provide appealing features, including multi-currency accounts, credit cards, internet banking, trade financing, the ability to move funds across borders, and many more features. The opening of a corporate bank account in Singapore is a straightforward process. However, it is critical to compare the corporate account facilities of the various banks to select the bank that best meets your company’s specific needs.
Here is a complete guide to preventing any kind of loopholes while creating your own corporate bank account in Singapore.
But, before that, let us take a glimpse at the major corporate banks and go through the Singapore banking process step by step
Major Corporate Banks in Singapore
Singapore has over 300 banks, with only a few of them active in the SME or corporate banking sectors. As a prospective client, you may have a preference based on existing banking relationships in your current country of operation, familiarity with the Bank’s name from home, or price preference.
Some of the critical corporate banks are:
- Development Bank of Singapore (DBS): The largest bank in Southeast Asia, with branches and offices in China, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Japan, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and throughout Southeast Asia.
- Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC): OCBC Business Bank is Southeast Asia’s second-largest bank. There are over 570 branches in 18 countries.
- Singapore: CIMB CIMB Group, ASEAN’s fifth largest banking group by assets, is a leading ASEAN bank and one of the region’s leading corporate advisors. Retail banking operations began in Singapore, ASEAN’s global financial gateway, in September 2009.
- Maybank: It is Southeast Asia’s fourth largest bank in terms of assets. The Maybank Group operates a global network of 2,600 branches in 18 countries.
- ICICI Bank: A Mumbai-based Indian multinational banking and financial services corporation. They have been operating in Singapore since 2010, with a strong network throughout India.
Requirements for Opening Corporate Bank Account in Singapore
Most banks in Singapore have listed the below requirements for opening a corporate bank account:
- Many banks require the account signatories and majority directors to be physically present in Singapore for paperwork signing when the company bank account is opened. Some banks will only accept document signing at one of their overseas branches or in front of a Notary Public.
- Typically, banks would require the following documents.
Note: The bank may request additional documents on an individual basis.
- Forms for Opening Corporate Accounts (signed by authorized signatories as per the board resolution)
- Directors’ Meeting Resolution authorizing the opening of the account and the account signatories (to be prepared by your company secretary)
- A valid certified copy of the resolution authorizing the account’s opening and signatories (most of the banks have their own format, and you need to sign it)
- Certified True Copy of Incorporation Certificate (must be certified by the company secretary or one of the directors)
- Company Registrar Certified True Copy of the Company’s Business Profile (must be certified by the company secretary or one of the directors)
- Certified True Copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA) of the Company (must be certified by the company secretary or one of the directors)
- Certified True Copies of the Directors, Signatories, and Ultimate Beneficiary Owners’ Passports (or Singapore IC) and Residential Address Proof. If you are in Singapore, bring the originals with you, and the bank will make a copy for you.
Factors to Consider Before Opening a Corporate Bank Account in Singapore
- Ratings and Reputation of Banks
International Finance Best Banks Banks with high creditworthiness and confidentiality standards, service reliability, a long history, and a significant international presence is always the best bet. Even if the corporate account you’re considering appears to be a good fit on paper, asking your peers in the industry about their experiences with a particular bank is always beneficial.
- Specialization and specialized knowledge
Keep in mind that the bank you select should have experience with the banking needs of your specific business. Every industry has its own set of standards and challenges. If your bank has experience assisting companies in your industry, it can provide you with valuable advice and guidance. You can also look for banks that specialize in your particular situation. For example, bank officers who specialize in women-owned or small-scale businesses are common.
- Account and Channel Service Availability
Considerations for Opening a Bank Account in Singapore Consider whether integrated savings and investment accounts, foreign currency accounts, and consolidated online bank statements are available before choosing a bank. Business debit or credit cards, ATM networks, branch coverage (both local and global), and daily transaction limits should all be considered, as services offered by banks vary greatly.
- Account Services Accessibility and Online Security
Check to see if internet banking services have foolproof online security to prevent unauthorized access. For example, some banks provide a security device for account login in addition to a user ID and password. Others require a signed receipt acknowledgment of internet banking materials before registering an online account.
- Physical Access and Location
Ideally, your business banker should be close to your place of business. Therefore, apart from making access more accessible, it will also allow you to communicate with your banker via any convenient channel.
The majority of Singapore’s large banks provide two types of services. First, the bank will assign you a dedicated manager if you are a high-volume company with a high turnover.
- Interest, Fees, and Pricing
Certain banks charge fees for payment services such as telegraphic transfers, currency remittances, and inter-bank fund transfers. These fees may vary significantly between banks. Check the account opening fees for various types of bank accounts as well. Check to see if preferential interest rates are available for foreign currency exchange and bank deposits. However, remember that price should be one of many considerations when deciding which bank is best for you. Obtaining the appropriate capital structure, business insight, and superior service are all essential considerations.
- Documentation Requirements and Account Opening Ease
The process of opening a corporate account should be simple. This means choosing a bank that promotes less paperwork and takes pride in making account opening simple.
- Minimum Balance and Initial Deposit
In addition to pricing and fees, the mandatory initial deposit and minimum balance required to maintain the account are also factors in deciding which bank to use.
All of the banks mentioned in this article that are based in Singapore are eager to assist you in opening a corporate bank account and providing all of the necessary documents. Singapore also has local and international banks that can provide you with the required services. The remarkably low corporate tax rate of only 17% attracts investors interested in opening a corporate bank in Singapore. Singapore is also one of the tax havens; for these reasons, more investors are flocking to Singapore every year.