Not quite Switzerland, but it's a start

Montana State Roundup

Published May 1, 2001  | May 2001 issue

When the state Legislature passed a bill in 1997 allowing offshore depositories to set up shop in Montana, it seemed a long shot. But two enterprises are primed to do business.

Modeled after Swiss-style banks, the institutions would offer accounts only to nonresident aliens for purposes of investment, asset protection and safekeeping, while a small percent levied on large-dollar accounts would bring the state and the reservation tax revenue.

The South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga has applied to the Montana Banking Board to open a depository, but the issue is pending until a satisfactory capitalization plan is presented.

Another foreign depository is opening on the Blackfeet reservation in Browning. Glacier International Depository Ltd., with an initial capitalization of $10 million, has been chartered by the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.

While Montana was the first state in the nation to enact a foreign depository law, Colorado, the only other state with such legislation, recently approved its first foreign capital depository.

Kathy Cobb