Even with Sanctions Lift, Cuba Offers Banks More Risk than Treasure

By Colby Adams

Thursday's partial easing of U.S. sanctions against Cuba will do much to bring money to the island nation, but even a full rollback of economic restrictions won't soon resolve the biggest barriers to entry for American banks: low profit margins and high regulatory risk. Under amendments set to take effect Friday, depository institutions can open correspondent accounts with their Cuban counterparts to facilitate authorized transactions, payment companies can issue credit and debit cards related to certain types of travel and telecommunications businesses can provide limited services in the country. The final rule, which also lifts certain banking restrictions on accounts...