Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. The Cypriot economy is very diversified. Its per capita GDP is at $28,381, which is above the European Union average.

Banking in Cyprus

Banks in Cyprus are well known for holding accounts for some of the most wealthy individuals worldwide. For many years, Cyprus has cultivated a high quality banking sector with favorably high rates awarded to depositors. Whats more, deposits of up to EUR 100,000 are guaranteed by the European Union.


The earliest known reference to Cyprus is made in Mycenaean Greek 15th-century BC. The island derives its modern name through overseas trade, in reference to the Classical Latin word for copper via the phrase aes Cyprium, on translated in English, "metal of Cyprus". This was later further shortened to “Cuprum”.

Cyprus is at an important strategic location in the Middle East, ruled by a number of diverse significant empires. Former rulers of Cyprus include Assyria, Egypt, Persia, Greece, the Ottoman Empire and the Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great conquered Cyprus in 333 BC, and following his death, Cyprus became part of the Hellenistic empire of Ptolemaic Egypt. 58 BC saw Cyprus acquired by the Roman Empire, and was subsequently conquered by the Byzantine Empire. In 1191, Richard of England conquered Cyprus and bestowed it upon the Knights Templar. In 1473 the Republic of Venice assumed control of the island, and in 1570 it was taken over by the Ottoman Empire, before being returned to England in 1878. Cyprus gained its independence in 1960. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, left a northern part of the island seized and annexed by Turkey.

The Cypriot economy is well diversified. Banking, along with tourism and shipping, buoyed economic growth. Its financial sector remains an important pillar of its economy. Cyprus is a well-known banking centre for high net worth individuals the world over. Many citizens from Eastern Europe and Russia, particularly, are using the Cypriot corporate and banking system as a safe haven for their assets. After having been hit severely by the international economic crisis, Cyprus has made a much faster rebound than the crisis economies of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Banking Institutions

There are 49 authorized banks in Cyprus. Banking in Cyprus is controlled and regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus.

Laws and Regulations

Cyprus is a well-known and respected offshore banking jurisdiction. Central Bank of Cyprus is the main governing and regulatory body of banks registered in Cyprus. Furthermore, as Cyprus is an EU member state, the EU guarantees deposits of €100.000. This includes accrued interest up to the date of maturity of the deposit or the date on which the deposit fell due and payable but was not repaid, or the date on which the member bank was determined as unable to repay its depositors (whichever comes first). Deposits in the name of a particular person, held with different banks, are considered as being separate deposits for compensation purposes.

Bank Secrecy

Cyprus was ranked at the 41st position worldwide by the 2014 Financial Secrecy Index, as a calculation that has been based on its share of the global market for offshore financial services. Cyprus accounts for about 1.5 per cent of the global market for offshore financial services. Section 29(1) of the Banking Law, states that all employees, directors, managers, agents, etc and any persons who have access to the records of a bank are forbidden from revealing in any way any information regarding the account of any individual customer of the bank, even after their employment with the bank has been terminated.

Electronic Payments

Cyprus is a member of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). In August, 2014, the migration to SEPA credit transfers and SEPA direct debits was successfully completed in Cyprus, as defined by the EU Regulation 260/2012.

Banking Facilities

SFM has a relationship with an extensive network of private and major banks in Cyprus. All of the banks we refer our customers to offer a full international banking platform, with multi-currency accounts (£, € & $) as well with online banking and debit/credit cards. Cyprus also offers prepaid credit card services for both corporate as well as private bank accounts.

Once your order has been completed, you will be assigned a dedicated account manager that will guide you through the bank account opening procedure. Then, we will carefully select with you a bank from one of our leading partners, that perfectly fits your requirements like a tailored suit.

Which documents are needed to open a bank account?

The Bank is required to confirm the identity and address of all clients opening bank accounts. The following documents are required for each signatory and beneficial owner and will be treated as confidential:

  • Notarised Passport copy duly certified with Apostille
  • Certified Utility Bill (not older than 3 months )
  • Original Bank Reference Letter (not older than 3 months)
  • Original Bank Statements (for at least 6 months)

In case of corporate bank accounts, the bank will also request a set of certified corporate documents consisting of:

  • The Certificate of Incorporation
  • The Memorandum and Articles of Associations
  • Register of Shareholders and Directors
  • Signed Share certificates
  • A Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Incumbency if the company is older than 12 months
  • Latest Audited Account/Corporate Profile, if available

Banks in Cyprus require companies to meet certain "substance" requirements in the country of incorporation (physical office, employees, local directors, etc...)

The bank can request any additional information and/or documents at its discretion such as Business plan, CV, Invoices, Agreements/Contracts of existing company and the Client must comply with the bank requirements.

Depending on the language of the documents, the bank might also ask translation of the documents as well. In that case, translation should be done after the certification of the documents

We will send you the additional bank forms necessary for opening the account by email, as an attachment, for you to sign and return to us preferably by special courier ( DHL, FedEx or Chronopost), along with the other documents mentioned above.

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