Cuba’s central bank and U.S. financial institutions are improving working to improve collaboration on matters of remittances and credit cards regardless of legal problems forced by Washington’s blockade again the Island.
Prior this year, as a major aspect of his endeavors to enhance relations with Cuba, U.S. President Barack Obama had loosened restrictions on financial services to decrease risks to American tourists carrying lots of cash while traveling to Cuba.
On Monday at the first Conference on International Monetary Transfers, Irma Margarita Martinez, first VP of the Cuba’s National Bank, made a statement to the press, “Until today, Cuba hasn’t been able to do financial transactions directly with U.S. banks although we’re working together with several institutions to do it in the near future in a safe and efficient manner.”
She also stated in a BCC communique made available to the press,”That possibility is starting now that the pending financial and legal issues have been resolved and thanks to the efforts of the Cuban entities tasked with processing MasterCard and the foreign provider who is facilitating the handling of its operations for us.”
Stonegate Bank, of Popano Beach Florida, is the first U.S. bank to have a banking relationship with Cuba after it opened an office in Havana in July of 2015.
The bank’s customers can now visit the island and use both a debit card and the Stonegate Bank Mastercard while traveling.
Martinez also stated that all MasterCards, including Stonegate’s, can be used at ATM machines in Havana, something that could not be done earlier. Credit and debt card use will begin in Havana and spread later to the rest of the nation.
The Cuban authority said Havana is interested in building financial relationships with U.S. Banking institutions.
She also added that currently banking transfers from the United States to Cuba are still being done via third countries due to restrictions imposed by Washington’s economic, financial and trade embargo on the island.
On Twitter, Angelica Paredes @aparedesrebelde, Cuban journalist at Radiorebelde tweeted that all Mastercards, the Stonegate bank MasterCard and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, can be used in the ATMs (automatic cash machines).
Tania Fernandez, the Cuban banking manager at Stonegate, stated that around 500 credit cards have been issued in the last two weeks to Cuban-Americans on family visits and U.S. business people traveling to Cuba eager to investigate business opportunities on the Caribbean Island.