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Opening a Dutch Bank Account More Challenging Than Ever

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

The Netherlands is keeping an extra careful eye out | ING fined for 775 million EUR due to lack in KYC monitoring.

Opening a corporate bank account in the Netherlands for non-residential entrepreneurs has never been more challenging. Banks have basically lost their appetite in 'international corporate clients’. Especially, since ING was fined with a 775 million penalty due to failures in the execution of the Know Your Client regulations - a regulation that supports observing and preventing money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

INCO Business Group | Opening a Dutch bank account more challenging then ever

So, what does that mean for you as a foreign entrepreneur?

Below we’ve listed some guidelines for you to consider before applying for a bank account.

  1. Check if there is a multinational bank available in your country, that also has a branch in the Netherlands.

  2. Make sure to prepare the necessary means to show the substance of your company.

  3. Find a partner in the Netherlands that can help you to build a relationship with the bank. INCO has over 10 year experience in working with (foreign) banks and can assist non-local companies to build a relationship with a bank, inside Netherlands, or outside Netherlands.

Most Dutch banks don’t have an official policy to reject foreign entrepreneurs as a client. Having said that, foreign entrepreneurs need to consider that most banks are welcoming high net-worth individuals or companies that require financing. Reason for this is because these services result in turnover for the bank. Which means the bank is able to invest in the relationship.

Fact is that in most countries, the banking system is structured in a way that causes very limited income for the banks on Corporate Banking, while the risks can be substantial.

In case you get rejected, you might want to focus on obtaining a bank account in Luxembourg or Switzerland. The banks in these countries have altered their business model for Corporate Banking. This means you will pay higher maintenance fees and Know Your Client fees, but it will significantly increase your chances of obtaining a bank account for your European/Dutch company.

Want to get in more detail about your specific situation? Book a call with one of our experts to get tailored advice and guidance. *

* Please note that INCO has no direct arrangements with Dutch or overseas banks to facilitate the opening of a bank account. Due to Dutch regulations (supervised by AFM) INCO is not allowed to perform any activities focused on opening a bank account, except for making basic introductions (forwarding contact details). In case more bespoke services are required, we work with third parties that are regulated by the Dutch Central Bank or AFM. These parties will fully assist you with your financial matters.

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