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E-Money Institutions (EMIs) specialized in alternative banking are becoming an ever-growing competitive force to traditional retail banks and even direct online banks, especially when considering business banking. While banks prefer to deal with domestic business customers, EMIs are more flexible: they serve international business customers with some restrictions applied on countries and industries.
Personal current accounts offered by EMIs usually provide customers with the same facilities as traditional bank accounts while giving benefits of reduced costs and simplified opening procedure: such accounts are opened online, supporting documents are submitted online, authentication is also performed online. Account opening procedures vary in terms of required documents and identity verification.
Electronic money is a relatively new payment instrument, emerged with the progress in technology. Electronic money's popularity has been driven by a number of factors including growing complications in opening current accounts and getting payment cards from traditional retail banks, changes in the population's social structure, and evolution of the Internet into a digital workplace.
Retail banking is an important component of German banking sector, represented by a large number of banks with different origin and business focus. Apart from two nationwide networks of local cooperative and savings banks, there are independent banks, regional state banks, and specialized banks.
With high standard of living in the Netherlands making it an favorable investment and private banking destination for both domestic and foreign banking groups, retail banking remains an essential part of the Dutch banking sector. About half of the retail banks offer their products via the Internet, while there are also several pure direct banks.
Direct banking is a relatively new way of delivering banking products and services to the customers via direct channels, meaning that a direct bank operates without brick-and-mortar branch network and its services are provided via online banking, mobile banking, ATM networks, and even mail. As direct banks don't have an expensive branch network, the resulting cost savings are passed on to the bank's customers which allows to offer fair conditions in all product areas.
Covid-19 is an infectious disease, first identified in December 2019 in Chinese province Hubei, has rapidly spread across the globe, hitting Europe in February - March 2020. Banks, however, continued serving their customers in branches, although in some countries the opening time of the branches was changed and selected branches were closed.
Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, is an attractive expat and retirement destination due to its widely spoken English, favorable taxation regime, low costs of living, stable currency (Euro), mild winters and abundant sunshine. While it's possible to live on Malta without having a Maltese bank account, there are cases when a local account can be useful.