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How to get access to banking in Colombia

How do the financial system and stock exchange operate in Colombia? What regulations apply to cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding?

Sebastián Luque, banking and financial associate at Baker McKenzie lawyers firm, presents the “Financial Regime” chapter from 2019 Bogota’s Foreing Investment Guide.

The Colombian financial system is based on a specialized bank scheme, meaning that each activity of the financial sector and the stock market can only be carried out by entities that have been specially designed for said activity.

The system is divided into the intermediated sector and the disintermediated sector. The former groups together banking and insurance institutions and activities together with complementary or related services. The latter, often called the stock market, is the sector that brings together all the institutions and activities where no professional intermediation exists between the surplus and deficit sectors of the economy.

In addition, there are two types of bank account: current accounts, which allow depositors to deposit amounts of money and checks in a banking institution and have their balance totally or partially available through writing checks or using other instruments; and savings accounts, which must offer a minimum level of interest and do not allow checks to be received.

Keep in mind

  • The crowdfunding mechanism is regulated in Colombia. On one hand, this enables the owners of small-scale productive projects to access funds via capital or debt and, on the other, allows qualified and unqualified investors to participate in the financing of said projects.
  • Cryptocurrencies are not prohibited in Colombia, but they may have restrictions in an investment scheme due to the orders or regulations of a particular authority. 
  • The main authorities in the financial sector are the Financial Superintendence and the Colombian Central Bank (Banco de la República).

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Download the complete version of the investment guide, in which you will be able to learn more about the generalities, principles, types of foreign investment, international instruments for the foreign investment protection, among others.

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