Estonian Parliament registered a new bill aimed to make it obligatory for Estonian banks to open bank account upon the request of any person – resident of Estonia, or any company registered in Estonia. If this bill is decided, banks will lose their right to deny opening or close accounts without providing any reasoning for it.
The main idea of the bill is, that the situation, when a bank can at any moment block or close any account of any person or simply reject an application on opening, actually means imposing a ban on the business activity of a person. In our times, it is nearly impossible to provide any activity without a bank account.
Moreover rejecting the application or closing an account, banks provided no explanation on the actual reason for such actions. And it is a direct infringement of a person’s right to information.
Banks explained their position with demands of anti-money laundering legislation and obligation to undertake controlling measures over their clients to prevent unlawful usage of bank accounts.
The bill was initiated by the Estonian leading political party (Reformierakond), which is now in opposition to the current government. Thus it is difficult to predict the chances of this bill becoming a law.
Association of Estonian banks informed that this bill was a total surprise for them and they do hope it will not pass. Major political authorities provided no comments about this question.
We will follow the situation and provide updates as soon as we have them. The current position of the bill and supporting documents can be seen here (Estonian).
The leading partner of our company Ragnar Sepp shared some thoughts on this topic.
I do hope the Estonian Parliament will pass this law and it will bring an end to the ridiculous and highly damaging situation we are witnessing right now. It [bank accounts closing campaign] was a purely political decision without any practical reason in the first place and lots of entrepreneurs suffered for nothing. At the same time, it is only the beginning of a long-term and complex legislative proceeding and I have some doubts we will see any progress in the nearest future.