Banks in Mauritius

If you’re looking to start banking in Mauritius, you may be surprised by the number of options available to you. Alongside big international names like HSBC and Investec, you’ll find a variety of local Mauritian banking options. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the choices for saving and spending your Mauritian Rupees.

There are currently 22 banks operating in Mauritius, and most are headquartered in the island’s capital, Port Louis, or the information tech hub of Ebene (known to locals as Cyber city). The central bank is the state-owned Bank of Mauritius, which was modeled on the Bank of England and acts as the national banking regulator.

Of those licensed with the central bank, there are ten foreign-owned subsidiaries, five local banks, four foreign bank branches, two private banks, and one joint venture. Simply put, there are plenty of options to meet your banking needs, and even a few that offer specialist services.

What are the banking options in Mauritius?

Let’s start by talking about the international heavy hitters. Expats just over from South Africa may already be familiar with names such as Investec, Standard Bank, and HBZ; all of which have branches in Mauritius too. Other international banks you may recognise include HSBC, Banque des Mascareignes, and Bank of China.

Mauritius is gaining a reputation as an emerging financial centre, due to its strategic trading location making an excellent starting point for companies to invest in Africa. Alongside foreign banks and wholly-owned subsidiaries, there are several choices that you might not have heard of yet but are definitely worth checking out. These local Mauritian banks are:

  • ABC Banking Corporation Ltd
  • Maubank Ltd
  • SBM Holdings Ltd
  • MCB Group
  • Bank One Mauritius

MCB and SBM in particular have seen steady growth and have started expanding to regions such as East Africa and Madagascar. This is partly due to the Bank of Mauritius, which helped the banks avoid the downfalls of the 2008 financial crisis through its careful supervision.

The current Bank of Mauritius is actually its third iteration, with a history that can be traced back to British rule in the 19th-century. Established during the 60s at the same time as Mauritian independence, this present-day version of the central bank follows the Bank of Mauritius Act, which lays out its responsibilities to safeguard and strengthen the nation’s financial system and economy.

Another reason that local banks are doing well is that they’re financing Mauritius’ growing tourism industry. Since the island has a small population of around one million people, the local banks have diversified from typical exports such as sugar into other sectors, and many now have bases in Africa and neighboring islands like Seychelles and the Maldives.

Local Banks in Detail

MCB (Mauritius Commercial Bank) is not only the largest banking institution from Mauritius, but the oldest too. It was founded in 1838 by a group of traders to rival the original Bank of Mauritius, which they felt was biased to the island’s planters. Today, it has a network of 40 branches and 150 ATMs. MCB also operates in Madagascar, Seychelles, Maldives and Mozambique.

Established by the government in the early 70s, SBM (State Bank of Mauritius) is the second largest bank in Mauritius, with over 40 networked branches and 35 ATMs across the country. It has a market share of around 25% of domestic banking assets and controls subsidiary businesses in Madagascar, Kenya and India, as part of the SBM Group.

ABC Banking Corporation specialises in domestic banking, international banking, private banking, and treasury. It’s part of the ABC Group, which is a diverse Mauritian conglomerate that’s been featured in the top 100 business organisations of the Indian Ocean.

BOM (Bank One Mauritius) was founded in 1997 and is one of the larger commercial banks in Mauritius. It operates 12 branches island-wide and is owned by the Kenyan financial conglomerate I&M Bank Group.

MauBank is the most recently founded bank in the country, but has nevertheless become one of the leading banks in Mauritius since its launch in 2016. Its operations focus on four major segments: consumer banking, corporate banking, SME banking, and international banking. There are 24 branches and 36 ATMs across Mauritius and Rodrigues.

International Banks

There are many international banks that operate branches and subsidiaries in Mauritius. Let’s take a look at some of the banks that have a strong presence in the island’s main cities and towns.

One of the leading financial services groups in Africa, Standard Bank has been around for over 150 years and operates in Mauritius and 19 other countries. It’s known for its strong customer service and offers corporate and investment banking options, with trading activities focused on Africa.

Banque des Mascareignes is a good choice for its versatile range of services for both customers and small enterprises. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the well-known French banking group Groupe BPCE, it has six branches in Mauritius and also operates three branches in Madagascar.

Deutsche Bank Mauritius ltd (or DBML for short) is a relatively recent addition, opening its doors in Mauritius in the late 90s. It’s a private limited company and wholly-owned subsidiary of the German Deutsche Bank. It started out with an office in Le Caudan in Port Louis and later expanded with a second office in Ebene.

HSBC probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. The London-based group has offices in 70 countries around the globe, including Mauritius. It continues to be one of the world’s largest banks and is a convenient choice for transferring funds overseas.

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Should I choose Local or International?

As well as traditional banking, banks in Mauritius can help you with a variety of services, much like you’d expect from their counterparts in South Africa. Most provide services such as credit and debit internet banking and mobile banking.  Depending on what you require from your bank, there are several options that stand out and offer specialist services for your finances.

Going with a foreign-owned bank can have its advantages; due to their scale and diverse interests, you may find a greater range of services for personal and business accounts, such as international portfolio management, trusteeship, and custodial services. Des Mascareignes and SBM Holdings offer a range of corporate banking services, while the Pakistan-based HBL provides specialised Islamic banking.

If you’re simply looking to open a current or savings account for daily use and international payments, Mauritius’ local banks are well-worth checking out due to their strong domestic investment and plentiful branches and ATMs all over the island.