Top 3 strangest questions from the bank that we encountered

Over 8 years of working with accounts abroad, Antwort Law is accustomed to the most non-standard questions from banks. It's hard to surprise us, but the next three requests did it. We talk about them and, looking ahead, note that the correct answers have been found and clients are still successfully served in these banks.

Question No. 1: let's start with the most "romantic" question - the bank wanted to find out from our client, a business owner, the history of his acquaintance with the company's director. Two key people in the company are citizens and residents of different countries, and the company itself was registered in a third. When opening the account, the manager was interested in the circumstances under which such an interesting acquaintance occurred and how it led to joint work.

Answer: We gave a detailed explanation of this circumstance, explaining that the founder and director met at an international conference in the company field, discovered common interests, and discussed plans for the future. The director wanted to leave the corporation for a new, dynamically developing direction, and the founder was looking for a person with extensive experience, ready for the workload and dynamics of a startup.

Note: the dating history of key company employees was subsequently requested from us several more times. Therefore, you may have to answer a similar question from a banker. Be prepared to back up your words. For example, one day, the bank even asked for badges from a conference and joint photos taken at it.

Question No. 2: the bank asked our client, an IT company, to send a piece of code that it created for its customers. Perhaps bank employees did not even read it, since they do not have the appropriate expertise. However, they wanted to ensure the company provided the IT services it claimed.

Answer: the client sent the code, and we wrote a detailed accompanying commentary explaining the specifics of the contract under which it was created.

Note: if you are an IT company, be prepared that the bank will want to see technical evidence of your work under a specific contract. They must be provided upon first request and as soon as possible.

Laws often require bankers to verify the "reality" of transactions carried out by clients for which settlements occur through their bank.

For businesses in the field of supplies or performing material work, answering these requests is relatively easy since confirming the movement of goods or completing, say, construction work is quite easy.

If your business is based on providing services that do not have a direct material "expression", for example, IT, marketing, or consulting, be prepared to receive all sorts of "creative" questions from your bankers.

So, if you have provided advertising services on the Internet, you can expect the bank to ask you to send screenshots of the advertising banners you have placed, or something similar …

Vladyslav Makarenko, Managing Partner, Antwort Law

Question No. 3: the bank requested from our client, a chemical exporting company, a license for a logistics company to transport dangerous goods since it was delivering them. At the same time, this logistics company was hired and paid not by our client but by their buyer.

Answer: even though our client had no direct relationship with the logistics company, we insisted that the client ask his buyer to take a license from their service provider and send it to us.

Note: Always maintain good partnerships with your contractors, clients, and partners, as you may have to ask them for non-standard documents that may not be directly relevant to you.

There are many more interesting requests from bankers than the standard list you can find on the Internet suggests. Each bank employs people with different approaches to information processing and different levels of creativity.

However, no matter what information the bank requests from you, it is in your best interest to provide as detailed and objective an answer as possible. In addition to collecting facts and evidence, it is important to connect, describe, and present them correctly. It is equally important to accurately determine what is best to emphasize and what is better not to mention.

We help our clients open foreign accounts and find a common language with banks and payment systems. With the support of Antwort Law specialists, you can avoid pitfalls in banking services, respond to unusual requests, extend the service period, and become a valuable client for the bank.

Lidia Ivanova,

International Lawyer
Antwort Law


How long does it take to open a corporate account abroad?
Opening a foreign corporate account takes from 2 weeks to 3 months. This is due to the requirements of financial regulators for banks and payment systems to conduct thorough and multi-stage checks of their clients. The final account opening time depends on various factors, such as the country, the type of business, the choice of the bank, the nationality of the founder and director, public information about them and the company, the availability of a complete set of documents, and other factors.
Why does the bank refuse to open an account?
The reasons can be diverse, but the four most common ones are: 1. Errors in document preparation. 2. Incomplete data, brief and unconvincing answers, lack of logic and structure in responses, and the absence of a well-thought-out company history. 3. The nationality of the founders and/or directors. 4. The company's activities or insufficient turnover. For example, it can be challenging for cryptocurrency companies to open an account due to the nature of their business, and many banks evaluate the potential turnover of the company during the selection process.
What to do if the bank requests a source of funds?
Provide documents that confirm the source of funds with which you will be depositing money into your account and conducting business. The most reliable sources are those that are officially documented and have had taxes paid on them. If you received funds from the sale of cryptocurrencies, which are not regulated at the legislative level in many countries, provide a statement from the exchange. In some cases, you may also need a lawyer's opinion or a certificate from government organizations.
In what cases do banks request proof of the source of funds?
The source of funds is one of the most common requests from a bank, and the response to this request influences the decision to open an account and its subsequent operation. Typically, banks make this request in two scenarios. Firstly, when opening an account: the bank wants to know the sources from which you intend to make your initial deposit. Secondly, in the case of significant transfers between personal and corporate accounts: even if it's your company, you will need to specify the source of funds in your personal account.
Is it normal for a bank to send questions about your payments?
Yes, don't worry, this is a common practice for banks. They have the right to request any information regarding your payments. We recommend responding to all questions as accurately and promptly as possible.
How detailed should the responses to bank inquiries be?
It's best to respond directly to the specific question asked, without delving into unrelated areas. This way, you won't provide unnecessary information or arouse additional interest, while still addressing the banker's inquiry.
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