Historical Background

Mauritius has a long tradition of commercial banking dating back to 1812, shortly after the British took over from the French. As of 30th December 2003, the domestic commercial banking sector in Mauritius comprised 10 Category 1 banks, which included five local banks, four branches of foreign banks, and one foreign-owned bank incorporated locally.

Regulatory Framework and Banking Practices

All banks operating locally must abide by the Code of Banking Practice, which mandates that banks act fairly in their dealings with customers.

Operational Statistics (2003)

  • Branches and ATMs: The 10 Category 1 banks operated 145 branches, 11 counters, 1 mobile van, and 257 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
  • Employment: The sector employed 3,467 people as of June 2003.

Major Banks

  • Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB): Established in 1838, MCB is the largest bank in Mauritius.
  • State Bank of Mauritius (SBM): The second largest bank in Mauritius. Both MCB and SBM are among the 10 largest banks in Africa.
  • New Cooperative Bank Ltd: Officially inaugurated on 9 August 2002.
  • Banque Nationale de Paris Intercontinentale (BNPI): Applied to surrender its Category 1 and Category 2 banking licences to Barclays Bank PLC.
  • La Banque des Mascareignes: Part of the French ‘Caisse D’Epargne’ group, obtained its licence from the Bank of Mauritius in January 2004, bringing the total number of Category 1 banks to 11.

Other Facilities

Besides traditional banking facilities, several Category 1 banks offer card-based payment services such as credit and debit cards, and direct debits. Other facilities include phone banking, home banking, internet banking, and PC banking. The number of internet banking customers rose significantly from 6,558 in June 2002 to 9,803 in June 2003, while phone banking users increased slightly from 72,575 to 72,858 in the same period.

Financial Performance (2002-2003)

  • Total Assets: Increased by MUR 19,880 million (14.8%) from MUR 134,680 million in June 2002 to MUR 154,560 million in June 2003.
  • Foreign Assets: Rose by MUR 1,484 million (11.2%) from MUR 13,266 million in June 2002 to MUR 14,750 million in June 2003.
  • Total Deposits: Went up by MUR 12,021 million (11.5%) from MUR 104,275 million in June 2002 to MUR 116,296 million in June 2003.

Banking Hours

  • Standard Hours: 9:15 – 15:15 Monday to Friday, 9:15 – 11:15 Saturday.
  • Extended Hours: 9:00 – 15:15 Monday to Thursday, 9:00 – 17:15 Friday (for some banks).

Global Business Banking Sector 

There are currently 12 banks holding Category 2 Banking Licences operating in the global business banking sector. Category 2 banking encompasses banking and investment banking business conducted in currencies other than the Mauritian Rupee. Services include fund administration, custodial services, trusteeship, international portfolio management, money market, and other treasury operations.

Regulatory Requirements for Category 2 Banks

  • Capital Requirements: Minimum capital of MUR 100 million (approx. US$ 3.6 million), which may not be domiciled in Mauritius.
  • Net Free Assets: To be determined by the Bank of Mauritius after discussion with each Category 2 bank.
  • Liquid Assets: Balances with foreign banks and freely tradable securities as a percentage of deposits and other liabilities.
  • Establishment: Category 2 banks may be established as a branch, locally incorporated subsidiary, or a joint venture.
  • Taxation: Subject to the same tax and fiscal incentives as Category Global Business Companies.

Financial Performance (2002-2003)

  • Total Assets: Increased by MUR 19,880 million (14.8%) from MUR 134,680 million in June 2002 to MUR 154,560 million in June 2003.
  • Foreign Assets: Rose by MUR 1,484 million (11.2%) from MUR 13,266 million in June 2002 to MUR 14,750 million in June 2003.
  • Total Deposits: Went up by MUR 12,021 million (11.5%) from MUR 104,275 million in June 2002 to MUR 116,296 million in June 2003.

Banking Hours

  • Standard Hours: 9:15 – 15:15 Monday to Friday, 9:15 – 11:15 Saturday.
  • Extended Hours: 9:00 – 15:15 Monday to Thursday, 9:00 – 17:15 Friday (for some banks).

Global Business Banking Sector

There are currently 12 banks holding Category 2 Banking Licences operating in the global business banking sector. Category 2 banking encompasses banking and investment banking business conducted in currencies other than the Mauritian Rupee. Services include fund administration, custodial services, trusteeship, international portfolio management, money market, and other treasury operations.

Regulatory Requirements for Category 2 Banks

  • Capital Requirements: Minimum capital of MUR 100 million (approx. US$ 3.6 million), which may not be domiciled in Mauritius.
  • Net Free Assets: To be determined by the Bank of Mauritius after discussion with each Category 2 bank.
  • Liquid Assets: Balances with foreign banks and freely tradable securities as a percentage of deposits and other liabilities
  • Establishment: Category 2 banks may be established as a branch, locally incorporated subsidiary, or a joint venture.
  • Taxation: Subject to the same tax and fiscal incentives as Category Global Business Companies.

Financial Performance (2002-2003)

  • Total Assets: Increased by US$ 369 million (8.4%) from US$ 4,320 million in June 2002 to US$ 4,689 million in June 2003.
  • Loans and Advances: Increased by US$ 374 million (18.5%) from US$ 2,024 million in June 2002 to US$ 2,398 million in June 2003, accounting for 51.1% of total assets.