In Bolivia the presence of international Banks is rare. More than a decade ago at least one bank was still serving clients in the country, the City Bank, but it closed operations due to a significant loss in market share, and also, because of the new political and social conditions of Bolivia. At this moment, only 1 international Bank is still working in Bolivia
Currently (2022), there’s only 1 international bank operating in Bolivia: the Argentine National Bank. No bank from a first tier country is having operations in the country. In the past, City Bank and Bank of America were present, but both of them closed all their operations more than 10 years ago.
In the next lines, we are going to show you all the details about the actual situation of international and worldwide banks available in Bolivia. Why they are not currently present, which of them never came to our country and which of them closed operations and why, among other facts. Also, about other options you have here to use banking services.
Worldwide banks that are present in Bolivia
At this point of time in Bolivia, 2022, there’s only 1 foreign Bank still present and operating in the country. This bank is the Argentine National Bank (Banco nacional de Argentina).
Many years ago, there were 2 Banks from the US operating in Bolivia, the City Bank and the Bank of America, but they left the country in 2010 and 1984 respectively.
Argentine National Bank
This is one of the major Banks of Argentina, and is currently operating in Bolivia, but it has only a tiny presence here. Major Bolivian banks are 10s even 100s of times larger than this Bank.
The Argentine National Bank here in Bolivia runs mostly operations and activities that serve businesses and big companies in the country, and it’s not focused on serving private clients or personal clients. It’s indeed a minor bank that doesn’t have too much weight in our country at all.
The only office of this Bank in Bolivia is located in Santa Cruz De La Sierra, and it’s not available in other cities of the country.
Worldwide banks that are not present in Bolivia
Citi Bank started its operations and activities in Bolivia in 1975, it was an important Bank in the first years, but in its last decade, from 2000 until its closing, only used to attend corporate clients and big companies in the country.
In 2010, this American Bank also reported losses for about $5 million, while Bolivian banks in the same year reported together earnings of about $200 million.
The City bank didn’t say why it was closing operations, but we assume it was because of the political conditions triggered by the new government remarkable socialist and also its losses in market share in its last operating years.
City Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, but it was actively operating until 2010.
Bank of America
In 1972 the Bank of America started its operations in our country. It lasted in this situation for about 17 years, to finally close operations in the year of 1985.
In those times, the conditions of the Bolivian economy were really bad, the country had a hyperinflation and also a lot of social and political troubles, so, it’s almost sure that this was the main reason why this bank left the country. Additionally at that time, Bolivia was the poorest country of Latin America.
Bank of America is not present in Bolivia in any way, but it was actively operating until 1985.
While this Bank hasn’t directly had any offices or branches operating in our country in the past, it was one of the owners of a major Bolivian Bank until 2007 (the Santa Cruz Bank). But it sold all its stake shares to the Bolivian Mercantile Bank in that year.
This triggered the creation of the Mercantile Santa Cruz Bank in Bolivia, which in the present is the largest bank of the country.
But, beyond this past transaction more than decade ago, this Bank does not currently run any kind of operation or other relationships with institutions in Bolivia or the government.
Santander Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
This bank of Florida US does not have any kind of financial operations in Bolivia, and it has never done it in the past. But it actually does have a nexus with Bolivia, its president and CEO is a Bolivian entrepreneur, Nelson Hinojosa.
But beyond it, this Bank does not share any kind of direct relationships with Bolivian banks, businesses or government.
Anchor Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
This British Bank currently does not operate in Bolivia in any direct way and also it has never been, but from a WikiLeaks leak it has been known that this Bank was holding near to $100 million in equity owned by Bolivian people and some Bolivian companies. But beyond it, this Bank simply does not operate here in any known way.
HSBC Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
This American Bank has never been present in Bolivia, it also does not have any kind direct relationships with other banks in Bolivia or with the Bolivian government.
Chase Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
This large bank of Germany, currently does not have any kind of financial or banking operations in Bolivia, and it has been like this throughout all the history of both nations. It also doesn’t share any direct relationship with other Bolivian Banks or the government.
Deutsche Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
Wells Fargo bank
This Bank from the US is also not present in Bolivia in any kind of financial or banking operation, and we don’t have any reports or knowledge that it has ever had some sort of relationship with other institutions in our country.
Wells Fargo Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
This American Bank from New Jersey at the moment does not run any kind of financial or banking operations in Bolivia, and it has always been like this. Also, we don’t have any knowledge that it has a direct relationship with any other Bolivian bank, business or the Bolivian government.
Red Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
This Canadian Bank also does not have any kind of financial or banking operation in Bolivia, neither now nor anytime in the past, also it doesn’t have any known direct relationships with Bolivian, banks, businesses or government.
Scotia Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
Standard Chartered Bank
This bank from Britain also does not share any kind of operations, alone or together with Bolivian Banks, businesses or Bolivian institutions that we currently are aware of.
Standard Chartered Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
This Bank from India currently does not run any kind of financial or banking operations in Bolivia, also, it does not have any kind of direct joint operations with Bolivian banks, institutions or the government, now and in the past.
Grameen Bank is not present in Bolivia in any way, and it has never been.
You can see our detailed guide about all the major Bolivian banks that operate in Bolivia, with all their services for both natives and foreigners, the following direction: Banks of Bolivia, a full list and details.
Which digital banks are present in Bolivia?
You may wonder if any fully digital Bank, like the Discover bank, the Axos Bank or the Quontic Bank, is currently operating or offering services in Bolivia, but at this point of time no digital bank is operating in the country, in any known way.
Anyways, you can use Bolivian ATMs for Visa and MasterCard cards issued by any foreign Bank present around the world. American Express is currently not widely supported by the ATMs of Bolivia.
You have alternative digital wallets that work in Bolivia
If you only want to have some kind of a digital wallet or a virtual bank account in Bolivia, without needing to open a real bank account in this country, you have several options as we list below:
- Your normal credit or debit card
In the 1st place, you will find that PayPal fully works in Bolivia, but only if your Paypal account has been opened in your source country, or in a country that fully supports this payment processor.
Instead, if you open a PayPal account in Bolivia, you won’t be able to withdraw your money, and will only be allowed to buy stuff using this Bolivian PayPal account. This is a restriction that Bolivians have and they can’t use PayPal to receive money.
In the 2nd place, you can use Payoneer without any restriction, particularly if you have its Payoneer prepaid card to withdraw money. This prepaid card can be used in any ATM available in Bolivia. But anyway, you can also use any Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card in any ATM located within the country.
In the 3rd place, as we just said, you can purchase items online, make transfers and also withdraw money from Bolivian ATMs with your Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, without any trouble. Remember that American Express cards are not well supported by ATMs within this country.
We have a complete guide about if PayPal is available in Bolivia, with all the details about how to use it here, both as a native or a foreigner, in the following direction: Does Paypal work in Bolivia? All the details.
In this note about the international banks currently operating in Bolivia, you have seen that in the present, 2022, there’s only one international South American bank operating within the country, the Argentine National Bank. You also have seen that no bank from a first world country actually operates in Bolivia.
You also knew many details about why some banks, like the City Bank and the Bank of America, stopped running operations in our country many years and decades ago. Also, you realized that, in the present, no virtual bank is available and operating in Bolivia.
Finally, you learned that there are some alternative options to use banking services and buy stuff, transfer or withdraw money in Bolivia. By far, the best and most obvious one is to just use your Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card in any ATM available in the country, because these devices fully support these brands. But also, that you have other options like PayPal and Payoneer.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know every detail about the principal Banks available in Bolivia, with all their services for both natives and foreigners, also their agencies and ATMs, visit our dedicated guide: Major Banks of Bolivia, every aspect about them.
BolivianExperts.com, information about how to live, work, invest and travel in Bolivia.