Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Raymond Knops said on Tuesday that he was assessing the possibilities with the Dutch banking sector to enable residents of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to make use of digital banking services.
The State Secretary stated this in response to written questions submitted by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP). Van Raak sought clarity in June about the possibilities of free Internet banking for Caribbean Netherlands residents.
Knops confirmed that it is legally possible to open an Internet bank account from the three islands. The law makes it possible for financial businesses, under certain conditions, to provide certain services to the Caribbean Netherlands.
The State Secretary explained that together with the Dutch Central Bank and the Authority Financial Markets (AFM), he was assessing whether in relation to current bank accounts it would be desirable to include a specific facility that would provide more clarity on the question as to when an activity resorts under the permit system in the Caribbean Netherlands.
“Point of departure is that I consider it important that residents of the Caribbean Netherlands can also take part in the economic traffic of the Netherlands, and that includes the Dutch euro payment system,” Knops stated.
The State Secretary also said he was consulting the banking sector on whether possible practical hurdles could be overcome, for example, the geographical distance between the Caribbean Netherlands and the Netherlands. He promised to update the Dutch Parliament in a letter before the end of 2019 regarding the banking services on the islands.
Responding to Van Raak’s question as to whether Internet banking could be provided free of charge, the State Secretary said that no matter they reside, clients always pay a fee for a current account which provides access to Internet banking.
As for opening a bank account per traditional mail, which is the only current option, the State Secretary explained that only clients with an official residential address in the Netherlands can open a bank account via the internet. This is not possible for clients with an official address outside the Netherlands. This group has to request the opening of a bank account with a letter sent by post.
The Daily Herald.