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 current workload. In the case of applications with a foreign connection, the time it takes to receive a response from the competent foreign supervisory authorities must also be taken into account.
The Authorisation section of the Banks division (firstname.lastname@example.org).