Despite the fact that banks have the same legal regulation, each bank has its own philosophy and business model. Yes, the requirements and requested documents may be similar for different banks, but the attitude towards the client and the willingness to cooperate will often be different. It is important to understand this if you wish to open an account with an Estonian bank.
For banks, the main question is always how much the bank is open for dialogue and what powers are given to the front line or to the front office. If you come to the bank, fill out a questionnaire and immediately open an account and receive access keys - it means that the bank has granted the operator such authority. If you have the opportunity to interact with a client manager (personal banker), then the bank created such a unit and gave it the right to make decisions.
Based on such simple things, you can understand the direction of the bank and its strategy in relations with customers.
Often the operator will take your personal document without further ado, leave for another room and there another person tells her what to do. This is typical for such banks as: Swedbank, SEB, LHV. And this means that the bank is closed to communication and will give the minimum possible information and take a minimum of obligations. Of course, in case of unwanted actions on the part of the bank, you can write requests to them, but most likely the bank will limit itself to formal unsubscribing, from which there is no use.
In any case, the bank's tellers are only the primary line in communicating with clients and in Estonia they almost never have the authority to automatically open an account simply upon the client's request. Nevertheless, the operators of some banks (Tallinn Business Bank, COOP, Luminor) are more inclined to communicate and provide initial information on the possibility of opening an account and subsequent actions.
We are talking naturally about opening an account for non-residents of Estonia. By which Estonian banks also mean Estonian companies with a non-resident in the role of a board member, shareholder or beneficiary.
And in our experience, it is better to turn your attention to banks in other jurisdictions, or even better to fin-tech companies and open a current account there. If you only need an account in the EE zone, then you need to understand that you first have to invest your time and effort, and to obtain such an account, you need to do some serious preparatory work.
And its important part is connection with Estonia.
Communication with Estonia is a kind of mythical category, the meaning of which is not even guessed by bank employees, who require this connection. In our experience, communication with Estonia includes (but is not limited to):
- Partners in Estonia.
- Turnover in Estonia.
- Creating value in Estonia.
- Payment of taxes in Estonia.
- Residence permit in Estonia (residence permit).
- Estonian workers.
- Office rental in Estonia.
- Buying real estate in Estonia.
- Securities of Estonian issuers.
- Investing in Estonian companies.
- Business plan for developing a business in Estonia.
All these requirements increase the chances of opening an account with an Estonian bank (especially highlighted bold) However, none of them is sufficient in itself or in combination with others. The last word is always for the bank and it is quite possible that they will refuse you even under all conditions (although, of course, the probability of such a refusal will be quite low).
In conclusion, it should be noted that not a single Estonian bank practices partnerships with legal or consulting companies. And also not a single Estonian bank gives a preliminary assessment of the possibility of opening an account.