Remote opening of bank accounts in Greece soon to be reality

Bank of Greece sets the ground for remote opening of bank accounts

Following the recent government announcements that aimed at facilitating Golden Visa's procedures for investors, now comes the latest Government Gazette that clarifies the prospect of opening bank accounts remotely.

In a world that is changing rapidly and requires a redesign of all services so that they can be offered safely and securely to all citizens, the implementation of such a plan is the only way for the development of the banking system not only in Greece but in the whole world.

Why is it necessary for foreign investors to have a personal bank account in Greece?

Let's start from the beginning: Any amount related to the investment for the acquisition of Golden Visa either through property purchase or through alternative financial options, must come from the personal bank account of the investors abroad and be transferred in their personal bank account in Greece. This is necessary for reasons of compliance with the Greek tax regulations and legality control of investment funds.

Consequently, every investor must open a personal bank account in Greece. However, the opening of a bank account in Greece usually demands the physical presence of the beneficiary in order to give a signature sample and verify his/her identity in front of a bank employee.

Remote services gaining ground after the pandemic.

In the post-COVID-19 era, where several restrictions are still in force and health protocols demand the offering of as many remote services as possible, such a practice seems to neither facilitate nor promote the official residency-by-investment program of the Golden Visa.

That is why on the Government Gazette dated the 2nd of June, 2020 the executive committee of the Bank of Greece addresses to all Greek bank institutions and informs them about the changes that are to be adopted in the context of the ease of opening bank accounts remotely.

More specifically the remote opening of a bank account will soon be available for all domestic and foreign clients of all Greek banks as long as certain requirements are met during the process.

The steps that need to be followed by the Greek banks

The first step is for all bank institutions to develop their technological structures so that they can cross-check data through teleconferencing and other applications. In that way through the development of a specific online platform, the identity of the future beneficiary will be verified before proceeding to the remote bank account opening.

The second step is the special training of bank executives who will be able to follow the above procedure and will operate the specially designed platform.

Remote bank account opening is just around the corner

This may sound as a distant prospect given the preparation stages each bank institution has to go through at first. And yet its realization is closer than ever. Nowadays all banks have developed some form of online platform aiming to communicate with the clients, to verify and update their personal data and offer distant banking services.

The transition to the newly introduced procedure is expected to be swift and quite fast as all banks need to comply with those new rules. Moreover, the banking sector has to proceed with new rules to broaden their clientele mostly with foreign investors who find it difficult to travel in Greece this given period.

In conclusion, very encouraging new processes are expected soon that will enable remote bank account opening from anywhere in the world through simple digital identification. A very important step to attract foreign investments in Greece and in particular to facilitate Golden Visa investors to minimize the mandatory visits to Greece for the conclusion of the process.