Swiss bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has become the first Swiss bank to offer business accounts to blockchain and crypto companies, according to a report today from news site finews.ch [in German]. The move signals that more financial institutions are concluding that the fraud and crime risks associated with crypto are not perhaps as significant as they might have previously thought. Marianne Wildi, the bank’s CEO, said:
As a bank that sets itself up technologically and pursues a cooperation strategy in the field of fintech, it is also a matter of credibility to work together with the young industry of crypto and blockchain companies in Switzerland.
The bank, which handles over $5 billion US dollars every year, is nevertheless quite selective about customer selection, which will be a major factor in averting potential security issues before they can arise. Hypothekarbank Lenzburg have also made the decision to outsource the process of setting up crypto business accounts to Geissbühler, Weber & Partner. According to Wildi:
They already have a lot of cryptographic know-how and analyze customer inquiries about the legal consequences and backgrounds. After due diligence they give us a recommendation, and the decision then follows. It’s true that the customer review process [Know Your Customer – KYC] is more involved in such relationships, but it does not make any difference to other customer relationships insofar as compliance processes have to work flawlessly anyway.
While the Swiss region of Zug has become known as “crypto valley” due to it being a hub of crypto activity, it has nevertheless been a rough ride for some firms in Switzerland, as the banking industry has been a tough nut to crack. However, this latest move by Hypothekarbank Lenzburg will give businesses options, and hope that this will signal something of a sea change for banks across the country.