Under Article 1a of the Banking Act, companies mainly active in the financial sector that accept deposits from the public in excess of CHF 100 million on a professional basis or solicit such deposits publicly are considered as banks. Any company that accepts deposits from the public of up to CHF 100 million on a professional basis or solicits such deposits publicly and invests or pay interest on these public deposits is also considered a bank. Finally, any company offering financing of any kind on its own account to an indeterminate number of individuals or companies that are not part of the same economic unit as itself and refinancing its business to a considerable extent with a number of banks that do not own significant shareholdings in it also qualifies as a bank.
Banks require a licence to go into operation and are subject to prudential supervision by FINMA.
For a licence to be granted, there must be no doubt that the applicant meets or can meet all of the licensing requirements. The most important are:
The bank licensing process takes place in constant dialogue with the applicants. The duration depends on the quality and complexity of the application and the time it takes to receive a response from the competent foreign supervisory authorities.
The Authorisation section of the Banks division (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Application templates are available on the FINMA survey and application platform (EHP) for banks’ initial applications, as are the following documents.
Applicants must self-register via the FINMA homepage to gain access to the EHP. Once the self-registration has been verified by FINMA, the EHP can be accessed via the FINMA portal using two-factor authentication.
In addition, a fully expanded application template is available below as a guide. This document merely serves as an overview and cannot be used as an application.