A Short Guide to Banking Services in the Northern Mariana Islands

When people travel to a new place, one of the first things they want to know is the location of the nearest ATM. But if your stay in the Northern Mariana Islands extends longer than that, then it’s good for you to know more about the banking industry. One of the first things you should do if you anticipate settling down in CNMI is opening a bank account to manage your personal finances. And if it’s in your plans to start a business, you will want business banking services and the chance to apply for business loans.

CNMI is a place where all your financial needs, whether business or personal, can be met. With some knowledge about the available banking services in the islands, you can check off on your financial goals. This article contains a brief overview of CNMI’s banking system, its leading banks, and the various banking services you can apply for. Read these for some pointers on living a financially healthy life in CNMI!

A Brief Overview of the Banking System in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The Banking Sector at a Glance

The banking sector in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is overseen by the CNMI Department of Commerce. This agency regulates all activities related to licensing banking institutions in CNMI, remittances, foreign currency exchange, and investments.

The CNMI Department of Commerce rules over a healthy banking sector. According to the agency’s 2017 annual banking report, CNMI’s banks have notched 928.4 million deposits and 211 million loans to date. In that same year, the sector welcomed more than 5.6 million foreign currency exchange transactions. It also recorded almost 97 million US dollars’ worth of remittances to other countries, the top three being the Philippines, Hong Kong, and the US.


The currency in CNMI is the US dollar (USD). Major currencies commonly traded in the islands include the euro (EUR), Japanese yen (JPY), British pound (GBP), and Australian dollar (AUD).

The Top Banks in the Northern Mariana Islands

The six most prominent commercial banks in CNMI are the following:

  • Bank of Guam
  • Bank of Hawaii
  • Bank Pacific
  • Bank of Saipan
  • First Hawaiian Bank
  • City Trust Bank

Seek out a branch of any of the following to jumpstart your finances in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Banking Services You Can Apply For in CNMI

Open a Personal Banking Account

The first thing you should do if you are staying in CNMI long-term is to open your own personal bank account. The banks listed above will allow you to open a savings account or a checking account if you pass the necessary requirements.

Open a Bank Account for Your Business

If you plan to start running your own business, you should have a dedicated bank account for that as well. You can open either a savings account or a checking account for your company’s finances. The bank can also issue you certificates of deposit.

Apply for Merchant Services

Merchant services will allow your business to accept debit and credit card payments from customers. It’ll be very helpful to you, and it may draw more customers to your business, if you enroll for merchant services with your CNMI bank.

Open a Kids’ Savings Account

CNMI is a great place to raise a family. One of the things you can teach your kids here is the value of setting aside their own money. You can do this by opening a kids’ savings account for your child, in addition to your own. 

Apply for a Credit Card

Many establishments in the Northern Mariana Islands have explored cashless transactions, so it will be easy for you to use your own credit card. You can apply for a MasterCard or VISA credit card at a CNMI bank, and you can benefit from either payment processor’s rewards programs.

Apply for a Loan

Borrowing money from one of these CNMI banks can ease your cashflow, help you fund major purchases, and improve your credit standing. Do explore what loan programs CNMI banks have to offer with regard to personal loans, business loans, auto loans, or mortgage loans.

Do Wire Transfers

You can also do wire transfers from your home CNMI bank. This can be to other Northern Mariana banks, or to accredited financial institutions around the world. Your bank will help you transfer large amounts of money in a quick, but safe manner.

Do Foreign Exchange

If you want to have other currencies on hand, you can do an exchange at your bank. Check their daily rates for exchange.

Making the Best of Banking Services in CNMI

Before you apply for the banking service you need, make sure you know the requirements. Your chosen CNMI bank may have a list of these online, so it should be easy to prepare even before your trip.

Remember to keep track of your cashflow, your credit card payments, and your loan payments. Staying on top of all of these will ensure that you are always in good financial standing during your time here.  And, do not forget to be very careful with your banking activities. Keep your cards in a safe place and never let anyone know your online banking passwords or PINs.

Thanks to the range of banking services available in the Northern Marianas, it won’t be hard for you to find the right financial solutions. May your life here in CNMI be prosperous, as well as healthy, happy, and fulfilling!

Continue reading