The Bank of Slovenia detected greater closing of payment accounts of foreign citizens and of Slovenian companies owned by foreign owners, and informed the competent ministries. It estimated that the banks were introducing stricter policies on the acceptability of dealing with these customers, based on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing legislation.
“The conclusion or termination of a business relationship, such as opening or closing a transaction account, is solely a business decision of the bank, unless this would violate restrictive measures in force in Slovenia,” they wrote, pointing out that this was not the instruction of the Bank of Slovenia.
The Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act in doing business with non-residents sets stricter conditions for the implementation of measures to prevent and manage risks in the field of money laundering and terrorist financing, which do not necessarily include refusal or business interruption.
The period of notice of the contract concluded for an indefinite period must be at least two months, unless the contract provides for a longer period of notice. In addition, every consumer that is legally a resident in the EU is entitled to a basic payment account, they explained one of the non-resident rights.
The banks began closing business accounts of foreigners in mid-2018. As Data online portal wrote at the time, one of the reasons – as they said at Nova KBM – was that they adopted a stricter customer acceptance policy in line with international standards of good practice.
Several large foreign banking groups have paid heavy fines in recent years for violating US sanctions in dealing with Iran and some other countries. Slovenia was particularly shaken by the case of alleged money laundering in NLB and the implementation of a so called Italian typology in Nova KBM.