Investors were finding it difficult to understand why it is so hard for them to open a bank account in Malta, the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises (GRTU) said. 

The GRTU said it raised concerns over the business sector's difficulties to open accounts in a meeting with the Prime Minister on Thursday.

It said people could not understand why they could set up a business in Malta easily but could not easily access a Malta bank account.

"Why should bank accounts take close to a year to open, even for sectors that are considered low risk,” they said, adding businesses were facing an "unprecedented situation". 

Clients who traditionally did business with local banks were now being turned away and asked to close their accounts, they said.

The chamber also warned of a "deadlock" within the banking sector. They also said there needed to be more harmonised application procedure amongst local banks to structure the process and make it accessible and clear to everyone. 

The situation in the Maltese banking sector was leading investors to question Malta’s reputation.

"Investors have now started to question if it is worth investing in Malta," they warned.

"Business was being lost on a daily basis, it added, saying "what can be helped should be helped".

Banks were lacking clearly defined procedures for client onboarding, the GRTU insisted.

Businesses could no longer operate in a limbo without knowing whether an account will open or not, they insisted

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