Banking Regulation 2022

Last Updated October 26, 2021

Venezuela

Law and Practice

Author



Rodner, Martínez & Asociados is a Venezuelan law firm, established in 1977, involved in corporate, financial, tax and investment law for foreign financial institutions and foreign corporations doing business in Venezuela. Its expertise in the banking and finance areas is well recognised in the international market. Clients include international banks, multilateral entities, export and investment agencies and corporations from all over the globe.

Banking activity in Venezuela is primarily governed by the following legislation:

  • the Banking Sector Institutions Act (Ley de Instituciones del Sector Bancario, published in Official Gazette 6,154 Extraordinary of 18 November 2014 – the Banking Act);
  • the Central Bank Act (Ley del Banco Central de Venezuela, published in Official Gazette 6,211 of 30 December 2015);
  • the Act Against Organised Crime and Terrorism Financing (Ley Orgánica contra la Delincuencia Organizada y Financiamiento al Terrorismo, published in Official Gazette 5,789 of 26 October 2005 – the AML Act);
  • the Credit, Debit, Prepaid and Other Financing or Electronic Payment Cards Act (Ley de Tarjetas de Crédito, Débito, Prepagadas y demás Tarjetas de Financiamiento o Pago Electrónico, published in Official Gazette 39,021 of 22 September 2008); and
  • the National Financial System Act (Ley Orgánica del Sistema Financiero Nacional, published in Official Gazette 39,578 of 21 December 2010).

There are other laws that establish obligations for financial institutions, such as those requiring mandatory loans for certain economic activities (ie, housing, tourism and agriculture). The Commercial Code (Código de Comercio, published in Official Gazette 472 of 17 October 1955) establishes the main rules for corporations, which are applicable to financial institutions, and some basic rules regarding commercial contracts, which supplement provisions of the abovementioned statutes and regulations issued by the Superintendency of the Banking Sector Institutions (Superintendencia de Instituciones del Sector Bancario, governed by the Banking Act – the Superintendency of Banks) and the Central Bank of Venezuela (which has the power to regulate certain activities of financial institutions).

The Superintendency of Banks and the Central Bank have passed several dozen regulations pertaining to banking activity. They issue regulations by way of resolutions, which cover an array of topics. It is worth highlighting the following:

  • Resolution 009 1197, related to credit risk, published in Official Gazette 36,433 of 15 April 1988;
  • Resolution 270.01 regarding the Accounting Manual (several times amended), published in Official Gazette 5,572 Extraordinary of 17 January 2002;
  • Resolution 305.09 on Capital Requirements, published in Official Gazette 39,230 of 29 July 2009;
  • Resolution 641.10 on Electronic Banking, published in Official Gazette 39,597 of 19 January 2011;
  • Resolution 0813.12 on Trust Services, published in Official Gazette 39,941 of 11 June 2012;
  • Resolution 291/09 on Publicity, published in Official Gazette 39,222 of 16 July 2009; and
  • Resolution 063.15 on Banking Users Protection, published in Official Gazette 40,809 of 16 March 2011.

The Superintendency of Banks also issues circulars, which are revised from time to time, establishing additional requirements and instructions.

Regulators

The Superintendency of Banks is the regulator responsible for supervising banks in Venezuela. To a lesser extent, the Central Bank is also a regulator and supervises banks in areas such as reserve requirements, maximum interest rates, charges for financial services, clearing system and foreign exchange transactions. The Banking Deposits Social Protection Fund (Fondo de Protección Social de los Depósitos Bancarios, formerly known as FOGADE) is the guarantee deposits agency and regulator and supervisor of the administrative liquidation processes for banks.

The Venezuelan Constitution establishes the right of free economic activity (Article 112), subject to limitations established for public interest reasons by statutes. The Banking Act is one such statute, and the safety of depositors and the functioning of the financial system are the public interests that justify the restrictions on banking activity. Financial institutions require the authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks (Article 9 of the Banking Act). The Superintendency of Banks must consult with the National Financial System Superior Organ (Organo Superior del Sistema Financiero Nacional – OSFIN) in order to take certain decisions (Article 171 of the Banking Act), including the decision to authorise the creation and operation of a financial institution (Article 171(1) of the Banking Act).

The Banking Act contemplates several types of financial institutions, all of which require authorisation from the Superintendency of Banks, as follows:

  • universal banks (a general bank);
  • development banks;
  • microfinance banks;
  • regional banks;
  • exchange houses (foreign exchange brokers); and
  • border foreign exchange operators.

Credit, debit and other financing or payment system cards are also deemed financial institutions, so are subject to the Banking Act and require authorisation from the Superintendency of Banks (Article 15 of the Banking Act). The scope of permitted activities for each type of financial institution varies, with the universal banks having the broadest scope. The minimum capital requirement also varies, depending on the type of financial institution. All financial institutions must take the form of a corporation (Sociedad Anónima), which may only have common nominative shares (in exceptional cases only, the Superintendency of Banks may authorise different classes of shares (Article 35 of the Banking Act)) and no less than ten shareholders (Article 9 of the Banking Act, except for subsidiaries of foreign financial institutions). The Banking Act also includes some requirements that must be satisfied by the charter and by-laws of the financial institutions, such as the implementation of a board of directors with no fewer than seven principal directors and the respective alternates, of which no more than two thirds can be shareholders (Article 30 of the Banking Act).

The promoters, shareholders, directors and chief officers of financial institutions must satisfy certain experience, solvency and honourability requirements (Resolution 340.08 of 18 December 2008). The Superintendency of Banks may object to any such appointment if it identifies a deficiency in these requirements through the supporting documentation (Article 10 of such Resolution). Foreign investors can be shareholders of local financial institutions, and foreign banks may establish branches or subsidiaries in the country, provided that the corresponding authorisation is obtained from the Superintendency of Banks; further reciprocity conditions may also be required (Article 23 of the Banking Act).

The Superintendency of Banks should respond to an application for authorisation within three months of the application being completed. However, such term may be extended for another three months, if the Superintendency of Banks deems it necessary (Article 9 of the Banking Act). Prior to issuing a decision, as mentioned above, the Superintendency of Banks must consult with OSFIN. In practice, the process takes much longer: it is common for the Superintendency of Banks to require additional information and clarification while analysing an application. Consultation with OSFIN only occurs after the Superintendency of Banks has completed the analysis and reached a decision. OSFIN responses may take a long time.

Any acquisition of shares in a financial institution must be reported to the Superintendency of Banks, which may demand further information (Article 35 of the Banking Act). All transfers of shares must be registered with the Superintendency of Banks (Article 38 of the Banking Act). The acquisition of 10% or more of the capital of a financial institution requires the authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks (Article 39 of the Banking Act). Holders of 10% or more of the shares of a financial institution must ask for authorisation to acquire an additional 5% thereof within six months (Article 39 of the Banking Act). Notices of the transfers of shares must be made to the Superintendency of Banks, even when its authorisation is not required (ie, when the 10% benchmark is not reached).

All acquisitions – whether through the stock exchange or not – must be notified to the Superintendency of Banks. When the shares are negotiated through the stock exchange, the regulator of the capital markets (the National Securities Superintendency – Superintendencia Nacional de Valores) will be the one reporting to the Superintendency of Banks. When the shares are not negotiated through the stock exchange, the president of the bank whose shares are being transferred is the one that is required to give notice to the Superintendency of Banks (Article 38 of the Banking Act). The Superintendency of Banks may object to the transfer, in which case the sale will be deemed without effect (Article 38 of the Banking Act). The transfer notices must occur within five banking days of the date on which the transfer occurs (Articles 36, 38 and 39 of the Banking Act).       

A person that directly or indirectly holds 20% or more of the shares of a financial institution cannot acquire any shares in another financial institution (Article 37 of the Banking Act). The creation of financial groups is forbidden, although this prohibition excludes mergers authorised by the Superintendency of Banks.

Shareholders, board members, managers and other persons related to entities that have gone bankrupt or been suspended by the National Securities Superintendency or otherwise sanctioned are forbidden to become shareholders of a financial institution (Article 19 of the Banking Act). Furthermore, persons who hold similar positions in a media, information and telecommunication company cannot be shareholders of a financial institution (Article 19 of the Banking Act).

Pending the authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks, the transfer of shares cannot be registered in the shareholders’ registry book of the financial institution nor in the Mercantile Registry (Article 29 of the Banking Act). Inscription in the shareholders' registry book is required to perfect the transfer (Article 296 of the Commercial Code).

Mergers

Mergers and acquisitions require the authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks. In order to obtain the authorisation for a merger, the merger plans and the respective corporate merger resolutions must be submitted to the Superintendency of Banks (Article 18 of the Banking Act), among other matters. Further details on the information that must be presented is provided in Resolution 01-0700, published in Official Gazette 5,480 Extraordinary of 18 July 2000.

Like corporations, financial institutions are subject to the corporate law rules established in the Commercial Code, which include provisions related to the corporate organisation, including shareholders' resolutions, boards of directors, administrators, internal auditors (Comisarios) and their duties, including shareholders' meetings, board meetings and the preparation and filing of financial statements and other information at the Mercantile Registry.

The Banking Act has more detailed requirements for financial institutions, including terms within which the shareholders' meetings have to take place, information that must be made available to the Superintendency of Banks in advance of such meetings and filings that must be done with the Superintendency of Banks afterwards (Article 28 of the Banking Act). The enactment of the charter and by-laws of a financial institution, and any amendment thereof, requires the authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks (Articles 18 and 171(6) of the Banking Act). When a corporate resolution requires the authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks, the absence of such authorisation will preclude the registration of the corresponding act before the Mercantile Registry (Article 29 of the Banking Act), and registration may be necessary for the resolution to have effect before third parties. Some transactions cannot be made without the prior authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks (Articles 97 and 171 of the Banking Act).

The architecture of the corporate governance of a financial institution is made in its charter and by-laws, which are based on the basic guidelines provided by the Commercial Code, corporate law practice and the Banking Act. The charter and by-laws establish the powers, quorum and voting requirements for shareholders' meetings and boards of directors. They also establish the powers of particular officers of the corporation, such as the president, the judicial representative and the internal auditors.

The Banking Act and the Commercial Code require certain decisions to be taken by the shareholders, which are the ultimate corporate rulers. Some decisions require special quorums, such as a three-quarter share capital representation established in Article 280 of the Commercial Code, applicable to a merger, sale of the business, capital replenishment, reduction or increase, and dissolution.

The board of directors is required to produce financial statements on a periodical basis, including monthly reports, semi-annual reports and year-end reports. Financial information is to be provided to the Superintendency of Banks, the shareholders and the public, through publication and registration in the Mercantile Registry. Financial institutions must have their financial statements audited by external auditors, who must be registered with the Superintendency of Banks.

Some officers must be appointed by shareholders' resolutions and others by the board of directors, while others must be appointed by the president or other designated officers. Half of the members of the board of directors must be domiciled in Venezuela. Members of the board of directors and senior officers must satisfy the requirements established by the Superintendency of Banks in terms of experience, solvency and honourability, in accordance with Resolution 340.08 (see 2.1 Licences and Application Process). Their candidacy must be presented to the Superintendency of Banks, which may object to the appointment within 15 days of receiving notice (Article 33 of the Banking Act). Senior officers include the board of directors, the president, the legal representative, advisers, the treasurer and similar posts.

The  functions of the board of directors include the following:

  • setting the financial and credit strategy of the financial institution and supervising its execution;
  • analysing and deciding on the credit reports produced by the officers of the financial institution;
  • approving loans in amounts that exceed 5% of the net worth of the financial institution;
  • approving the financial statements to be presented to the shareholder, internal audits and reports on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing prepared by the officers of the financial institution;
  • discussing and deciding on the execution of instructions, observations and recommendations received from the Superintendency of Banks; and
  • ensuring compliance with the applicable laws and regulations and decisions of the shareholders and the board of directors (Article 30 of the Banking Act).

The powers of the legal representative are set forth in the charter and by-laws of the financial institution. The legal representative represents the financial institution before the Superintendency of Banks and third parties, and is commonly the president of the financial institution. The legal representative is the main executioner of the decisions of the board of directors, and must bring to the board of directors any communication from the Superintendency of Banks related to audits made, violations of regulations or when the Superintendency of Banks so requires (Article 34 of the Banking Act).

The board of directors and senior management may be held responsible for violations of the Banking Act, including for executing transactions without the prior authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks, when required, or for disregarding prohibitions set forth by the Banking Act, such as lending limits, related parties transactions, the acquisition of real estate and investments in securities beyond the permitted circumstances (Article 97 of the Banking Act).

The officers of the financial institution are responsible vis-à-vis the financial institution, in accordance with its charter and by-laws, including civil liability for damages resulting from any breach of their obligations. They may also be subject to fines from the Superintendency of Banks (Article 185 of the Banking Act) and to criminal liability for violation of certain provisions of the Banking Act (Article 214 of the Banking Act).

Financial institutions are forbidden from paying semi-annual bonuses or similar remunerations to their senior officers (ie, presidents, vice presidents, board members, managers, advisers, legal counsel and their relatives) in amounts that exceed 20% of the operational profits (Article 97(6) of the Banking Act). Detailed information about the bonuses, as well as many other items, is provided to the Superintendency of Banks in accordance with the Accounting Manual rules. The Superintendency of Banks may issue instructions regarding the administration of the financial institution, including its remuneration policies, when the financial results do not satisfy certain recommended ratios. The Superintendency of Banks has broad powers to issue prudential rules to be followed when carrying out any aspect of the financial activities (Article 171(14) of the Banking Act). Failure to comply with the limits set by the Banking Act or with regulations or instructions issued by the Superintendency of Banks may result in penalties for the financial institution and eventually the individuals responsible (Articles 185 and 202 of the Banking Act).

Financial institutions are required to establish a special unit to administer anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing actions, in accordance with the AML Act and Resolution 083.18 of the Superintendency of Banks (containing the Rules Related to the Administration and Supervision of the Risks Related to Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Mass Destruction Weapons Proliferation Financing Applicable to the Institutions of the Banking Sector, published in Official Gazette 41,566 of 17 January 2019). The applicable law and regulations require the AML Unit to have a certain form of organisation, including a responsible officer, and to gather, analyse and report information on suspicious activity. The rules are similar to those recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Resolution 083.18 aims to adopt the measures established in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

The AML Unit must carry out periodic training and prepare annual plans that must be filed with the Superintendency of Banks. Suspicious activity is to be reported to the Financial Intelligence National Unit (Unidad Nacional de Inteligencia Financiera – UNIF) of the Ministry of Finance. If appropriate, UNIF would inform the Prosecutor’s Office of the suspicious activity (Article 13 of the AML Act). The AML Unit must prepare an operational manual and review it from time to time, to ensure adequate procedures to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing activities. Special attention must be given to activities involving tax havens, free trade areas and business transactions in locations frequently noted in suspicious activity reports.

Financial institutions are required to design a system for the administration of the risks associated with money laundering, terrorism financing and the financing of weapons of mass destruction (the AML System). The AML System must contemplate the participation of all members of the financial institution organisation, through its hierarchy. It must include monitoring systems, operational plans and rules, procedures and auditing, which have to be adjusted from time to time to incorporate best practices and international standards. The AML System is formed by the board of directors, the president of the financial institution, the compliance officer, the AML Unit and the officer responsible for each of the risk areas. The board of directors must ensure that the AML System has adequate budget and qualified personnel (Article 15 of Resolution 083.18).

The compliance officer is a second level officer within the hierarchy of the financial institution, just below the president, and must have the experience and knowledge to carry out the full-time task of ensuring the good performance of the AML System. The compliance officer is the person in contact with UNIF and is in charge of preparing the annual operations manual (Article 20 of Resolution 083.18).

The AML Unit is the technical piece of the organisation serving the compliance officer, and is in charge of the detection, analysis and reporting of suspicious activities identified within the financial institution. It analyses the different risks, including assessing each of the clients, and classifies them according to the operations manual. The AML Unit gathers, analyses and organises information, prepares reports and informs the financial institution of the new practices of those suspected of carrying on money laundering activities (Article 22 of Resolution 083.18). Resolution 083.18 contains detailed provisions for a know-your-client policy, including the information that must be requested from clients. It also includes detailed provisions on know-your-employee policies and training.

Deposits are guaranteed by the Bank Deposits Social Protection Fund (Fondo de Protección Social de los Depósitos Bancarios, formerly and commonly known as FOGADE), which is an independent state entity that guarantees deposits and undertakes the administrative liquidation of financial institutions (Article 104 of the Banking Act). FOGADE has a board of directors headed by a president, who is appointed by the President of the Republic; the other members are appointed by the Minister of Finance. FOGADE also has judicial representatives and a vice president, who are appointed and empowered by the board of directors (Articles 111 and 114 of the Banking Act).

FOGADE is funded by contributions from financial institutions, revenues resulting from their administration and transfers made by the National Executive (Article 120 of the Banking Act). Financial institutions are to make monthly contributions to FOGADE, which are calculated based on the semi-annual balance sheet of the financial institutions, at a rate to be determined by the Minister of Finance and not less than 0.75% of the deposits held by the financial institution at the end of the semester (Article 121 of the Banking Act).

The maximum amount of the deposit guarantee was set in Article 128 of the Banking Act at VEB30,000 per depositor, regardless of the type of deposit it holds in the financial institution. Such amount may be modified from time to time by the Minister of Finance (Article 128 of the Banking Act). Venezuela had a currency conversion on 30 September 2021, eliminating six units of the currency (VEB1 million was converted into VEB1).

The guarantee payment occurs within 90 days of the financial institution ceasing to operate or being placed in administrative liquidation. Depositors must present their claim within one year of the date that FOGADE convenes them in order to receive payment (Article 129 of the Banking Act). Intervention results from an order issued by the Superintendency of Banks and occurs when the financial institution suspends payments, violates commitments made to the Superintendency of Banks in a restructuring plan or has capital deficiencies and there are no sufficient administrative actions to solve the problems (Article 247 of the Banking Act).

Financial institutions must preserve the confidentiality of the private information of their clients. There are several provisions in the Banking Act that refer to the confidentiality of private information, establishing a clear mandate applicable to institutions and their officers, beyond the general rule of commercial law.

Financial institutions and their officers and employees are forbidden to share with third parties any information pertaining to the transactions of their clients, unless said clients provide a written authorisation to that effect (Article 86 of the Banking Act). Furthermore, financial institutions cannot provide information pertaining to previous activities or background information on a person, without his or her written consent (Article 90 of the Banking Act). A similar obligation also applies to the officers and employees of the Superintendency of Banks, the Central Bank of Venezuela and external auditors.

Such prohibitions do not apply to the information that must be shared for the purposes of reporting to UNIF. The confidentiality requirement is also negated when the request for information comes from the highest offices of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government, the National Prosecutor, the Attorney General, the National Controller, the National Electoral Council President, the President of OSFIN, the President of FOGADE, the Heads of the Superintendency of Banks, the National Securities Superintendency or the Insurance Sector Superintendency, certain Ministers of the Executive and other authorities (Article 87 of the Banking Act).

Information Sharing by Banks

There is another exception to the confidentiality obligation, which is for the operation of the Risks Central Information System (Sistema de Información Central de Riesgo – SICRI). Financial institutions have access to SICRI and can consult the transactions and status of the clients of those entities in the system (Article 88 of the Banking Act). However, SICRI is only to be used for the purposes of making credit decisions, in response to loan applications or deposit agreements received by financial institutions. Financial institutions must periodically update the information of their clients in SICRI (Article 89 of the Banking Act). Any individual may request the Superintendency of Banks to provide information pertaining to themselves as recorded in SICRI.

Disclosing confidential information in violation of the abovementioned provisions may result in fines for the financial institution and criminal liability for the senior management (those mentioned in Article 185 of the Banking Act) involved in the breach (Articles 202(13) and 222 of the Banking Act).

The Banking Act establishes rules pertaining to minimum capital, asset appraisals, credit risk, contingent transactions and risk mitigation. The Superintendency of Banks has the power to issue prudential rules to ensure adequate capital, liquidity and risk control.

Pursuant to Article 48 of the Banking Act, banking institutions must keep a net worth of not less than 12% of their assets and contingent transactions, in line with Basel I; the Superintendency of Banks may change this minimum (Article 49 of the Banking Act). The Superintendency of Banks may also establish other liquidity and solvency ratios, with the favourable opinion of OSFIN (Article 50 of the Banking Act).

Based on the abovementioned powers, the Superintendency of Banks has issued several regulations, including the following:

  • Resolution 136.03 of 29 May 2003 containing the Rules for Internal Administration of Risks (Normas para una Adecuada Administración Integral de Riesgos);
  • Resolution 136.15 of 11 November 2015 containing the Rules Related to Adequate Administration of Liquidity Risk of Banks (Normas Relativas a la Adecuada Administración Integral del Riesgo de Liquidez de los Bancos);
  • Resolution 305.09 of 29 July 2009, containing the Rules to Determine the Ratio of Net Worth to Assets and Contingent Operations, Using Risk Based Assessment Criteria (Normas para Determinar la Relación Patrimonio sobre Activos y Operaciones Contingentes, Aplicando Criterios de Ponderación con Base en Riesgo); and
  • several circulars related to the assessment of certain assets and risks, the methodology to be followed in order to do a proper assessment of the value of the assets and the adequate ratios of assets and contingent transactions to net worth.

Risk management rules require the creation of an Integral Risk Administration Unit (Unidad de Administración Integral de Riesgos), which will establish the policies to be followed to that effect, including the methodologies, criteria and procedures to be followed. The board of directors of a financial institution must supervise such unit and perform monthly reviews and appraisals. The Integral Risk Administration Unit will present its findings, reports and recommendations to a Risk Committee, which will be responsible for monitoring the risks of the financial institution and establishing the appropriate risk limits. In the administration of liquidity risks, financial institutions will rely on the work of an Assets and Liabilities Management Committee, which is to meet weekly and must include a member of the board of directors and a representative of the Integral Risk Administration Unit and the AML Unit, among others.

Resolution 136.15 establishes the methodology to be followed in order to assess various possible liquidity risks, including structure liquidity ratios, adjusted structural liquidity ratios, public deposits concentration ratios and gap ratios. The manuals containing the methodologies, strategies, policies and procedures to be followed by the Integral Risk Administration Unit must be reviewed twice a year and approved by the board of directors of the financial institution.

Pursuant to Article 91 of the Banking Act, financial institutions are to assess their assets, classify them periodically and establish general and specific provisions to cover the risk of realising their value. The Superintendency of Banks may instruct a financial institution to modify the allocated value or provisions.

Currently, the capital requirements are established by Article 50 of the Banking Act and Article 2 of Resolution 117.4, published in Official Gazette 40,509 of 10 October 2014, which set the accounting capital adequacy at 9%. Article 48 of the Banking Act sets a 12% minimum ratio of net worth to total assets and contingent operations.

Venezuelan financial institutions are not subject to the ordinary bankruptcy and moratorium procedures applicable to corporations under the Commercial Code, but they are subject to the administrative intervention and liquidation procedures established in the Banking Act (Article 240).

If a financial institution faces difficulties, including capital deficiencies, the Superintendency of Banks may require certain actions from the financial institution, its board of directors and shareholders, including preparing a restructuring plan. If the financial institution fails to comply with the instructions given by the Superintendency of Banks or breaches commitments made to it, the Superintendency of Banks may intervene in the financing institution, appointing an administrator (the interventor) for it (Article 251 of the Banking Act). The interventor will make an assessment of the situation and recommend either the restructuring of the financial institution or its liquidation.

The interventor could prepare a restructuring plan, which may include capital infusions by the shareholders to replenish accumulated losses. Such plan would have to be approved by the shareholders of the financial institution. If the shareholders do not wish to participate in the capital replenishment proposed, third parties may be invited to do so.

However, if the interventor concludes that the restructuring of the financial institution is not viable, it will recommend the liquidation thereof, which will be carried out by FOGADE (Article 261 of the Banking Act). FOGADE will pay the creditors in the following order of priority:

  • labour liabilities – liabilities in favour of individuals 65 years and older, disabled pensioners, minors and communal councils;
  • mortgage and other secured creditors;
  • deposits;
  • holders of cashier checks and liabilities in favour of suppliers to the financial institution;
  • liabilities in favour of FOGADE;
  • liabilities in favour of the government;
  • liabilities in favour of other financial institutions; and
  • any other liabilities.

When an intervention and/or liquidation is ordered, it may encompass not only the financial institution affected but also related entities (ie, entities controlled, controlling or under the common control of the financial institution).

In 2021, the Superintendency of Banks issued regulations pertaining to fintech services (Resolution 001.21, published in Official Gazette 42,151 of 17 June 2021). Fintech institutions require the authorisation of the Superintendency of Banks, like any other financial institution. Resolution 001.21 sets forth the terms and conditions that must be satisfied in order to obtain a licence, including a minimum of five shareholders and a limited scope of services. The fintech sector has become especially attractive in Venezuela because of the difficulties of hyperinflation, the use of foreign currency in retail transactions and the inadequacy of the existing payment systems.

Since 2017, Venezuela has issued several regulations pertaining to cryptocurrency and created a special regulator, the Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (Superintendencia de los Criptoactivos y Actividades Conexas Venezolana – SUNACRIP). The Venezuelan government has created and promoted a cryptocurrency named Petro (PTR), the value of which is connected with the mining resources of the country, including oil reserves. The launching and subsequent promotion of Petro coincided with policies associated with reining in foreign exchange speculation and reacting to sanctions imposed by the United States government. The development of the cryptocurrency local market is likely to continue to be of interest to the Venezuelan government.

Rodner, Martínez & Asociados

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Caracas 1010A
Venezuela

+58 212 951 3811/3003/6245

+58 212 951 7707

mail@rodnermartinez.com www.rodnermartinez.com
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Law and Practice

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Rodner, Martínez & Asociados is a Venezuelan law firm, established in 1977, involved in corporate, financial, tax and investment law for foreign financial institutions and foreign corporations doing business in Venezuela. Its expertise in the banking and finance areas is well recognised in the international market. Clients include international banks, multilateral entities, export and investment agencies and corporations from all over the globe.

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