11 Comments on "Banking in The Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia"

  1. Streber, probably you need to correct this part about Armenia “as well as Abkhazia which cause geopolitical uncertainty in the region”. Abkhazia is Georgia’s headache. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abkhazia

  2. Dear Streber,

    Being a digital nomad I did a lot of research on Georgia lately:
    – it allows visa free access up to 360 days a year (!!) – I think this is exceptional
    – it has a program for freelancers to get temporary residency (= tax residency), and it has a territorial tax system
    I’m sure you see where this is going. Do you think it’s a viable option?

    Also, do you have any experience with Liberty Bank? I’m very impressed reading about their services in great English (something I definitely was not expecting). As far as I see it’s a well capitalised bank, too.

    • Georgia is doing a lot to attract foreign investors and entrepreneurs, and it’s showing.

      However, life in Georgia is not as comfortable as in for example western Europe, US, Australia, et cetera. Things are still quite rough around the edges, so to speak. Learning Georgian is practically required to settle down there.

      I don’t interact a lot with banks on a day-to-day basis nowadays but Liberty Bank has a good reputation which, from what I understand, is well-deserved.

  3. Hello Streber,

    I hope that this e-mail finds you well!

    Could you please let me know what is your opinion about VTB?

    Also, although Azerbaijan seem to be the most wealth and economically healthy nation of the 3 it has the best interest rates for deposits. Is there any particular reason for this?

    Thank you in advance!

    Best regards,

    • Hi Ted,

      Thanks for your comment!

      VTB is a generally good bank in my experience. Like with any Russian bank, the bureaucracy can sometimes be a bit frustrating but under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t be faced with it too often.

      There is wealth and then there is new wealth. Azerbaijan falls in the second category. Barring any major changes (which with Azerbaijan being what it is, is not entirely outside of the realms of possibilities), their economy should stabilize (i.e. stop growing so rapidly) eventually and interest rates decrease.

      • Thank you for your insightful info, as always.

        Do you have any more information on Dekabank and Expressbank in Azerbaijan?

        Also, the Azerbaijan Deposit insurance fund states that it covers only deposits with annual interest up to 12%. Does it mean that if the deposit has an annual interest of 14% is not covered at all, or that only the part of the annual interest over 12% (i.e. 2%) is not covered?

        Thank you in advance!

        • Taking a quick look through some notes, it seems I/we have good experience with both banks although neither have been used extensively.

          As far as I recall, the Azerbaijani deposit insurance would cover the first 12% of the interest. In your case that would mean you would lose 2%. But this off the top of my head. You might want to dig up the actual legal text itself to review.

          • Dear Streber,
            Thank you for your article especially for Azerbaijan. You write that remote account opening is possible with all banks – sometimes. However I could not find any bank in the country that accepts remote account. All of them require personal presence (physically present). If you have a special knowledge in this filed please let us know. Which banks accept account opening at distance in Azerbaijan?
            Thank you in advance.

            • Dear Giorgos,

              Thanks for your comment.

              I’m sorry to hear you have faced challenges opening a bank account in Azerbaijan. That has not been my experience, especially with International Bank of Azerbaijan but also practically every other banks I have dealt with there. But it varies from case to case.

              Have you tried finding a local trustee or fiduciary to act as an intermediary? There are a lot of tax lawyers and other fiduciaries in Baku. hg.org is a good place to start: http://www.hg.org/firms-azerbaijan.html


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