“At the request of the U.S. Department of State, Stonegate Bank has reached an agreement with the government of Cuba to provide banking services to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C.,” Dave Seleski, president and CEO of the Pompano Beach-based bank, said in a statement.
A U.S. banking relationship will help the Cuban Interests Section issue travel visas and deal with other issues related to the association with any embassy in Washington, D.C.
“We hope this is the initial step to normalize banking ties between the two countries, which will benefit American companies wanting to do business in Cuba, as well as the Cuban people,” Seleski said.
The Cuban government previously had a banking relationship with Buffalo, N ew York-based M&T Bank. M&T began to close all accounts with foreign governments in 2013 after increased compliance requirements, including the account with Cuba.
Cuba’s account was the last remaining one, and eventually M&T closed it after another bank couldn’t be found for the island nation’s government.
The Cuban Interests Section was without a U.S.-based bank for about a year.