The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) have stepped in an attempt to curb banks in that country from rejecting financial services to cryptocurrency-related companies.
The SBA is an organization which claims that it aims to achieve the best possible operating conditions for banks in Switzerland and is the umbrella organization of the Swiss financial center. Its stated primary objective is to create optimal framework conditions for Swiss banks.
The SBA has released a new set of guidelines to banks to create a more cooperative environment in view of many banks’ reluctance to do business in the crypto sector. Earlier this year, the financial director of Zug called for the SBA to make it easier for blockchain companies to meet their banking needs.
Director Heinz Tannlerand, together with financial director of Zurich Ernst Stocker, suggested then that if some of the complexities weren’t removed for Swiss-based blockchain companies wanting to open bank accounts, there would be a strong likelihood that firms will look to do business elsewhere, in countries which have more crypto-friendly banking systems.
Adrian Schatzmann, strategic adviser of the SBA, stated: “We believe that with these guidelines, we’ll be able to establish a basis for discussion between banks and innovative startups, making the dialogue simpler and facilitating the opening of accounts.”
New suggestions by the SBA, aimed at ICOs, calls for separate AML procedures for both fiat and crypto fundraisers. Oliver Bussman of the Crypto Valley Association suggests that “this provides more clarity not only to banks but also to startups”.
This suggestion should help to alleviate the concerns of many banks who expressly targeted the AML as their principal concern in dealing with companies offering ICOs. Reuters recently cited sources in the banking community who maintained that “banks are worried because some of the companies that carried out ICOs did not do AML checks on their contributors, meaning the banks themselves could fall foul of AML rules”.
Bussmann estimates that 530 crypto and DLT companies have set up shop in Zurich and Zug. One reason for Switzerland’s success as a center for blockchain and fintech, according to Swiss law firm MME, is the country’s openness to new business concepts and innovation. Marin Eckert MME partner said, “Swiss regulators are among the few that really have a deep understanding of the technology and how it works.”
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