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Dave Seleski: Cuba’s unlikely banking pioneer

When the history of banking in communist Cuba is written, Dave Seleski, head of Florida-based Stonegate Bank, may well be hailed as a leader who triumphed against the odds.

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Dave Seleski: the go-to businessman for business advice on Cuba

Urbane and well-groomed, career banker Dave Seleski is an unlikely revolutionary. Tiny by US standards, with assets of around $3 billion, Seleski’s Stonegate Bank has found itself in the extraordinary position of being the only US bank to be authorized by both Washington and Havana to do business in Cuba.

The nimble Seleski has, for the moment at least, an effective monopoly on US banking with Cuba; his reward for resolving an issue that had threatened to derail Washington’s diplomatic rapprochement with the Castros.

As influential rivals look on, Stonegate’s credit and debit cards are today the only US-issued plastic acceptable in Cuba. Stonegate also has US banking’s only correspondent relationship with a Cuban bank, the state-owned Banco Internacional de Comercio. Stonegate also banks Cuba’s new diplomatic missions in the US and is opening US accounts for the fast-emerging private-entrepreneur class transforming Cuba’s command economy.

Beyond banking, Seleski has become the go-to businessman for business advice on Cuba, a fixture on the seminar circuit for those anxious for insight on how to enter one of the world’s last untapped markets.

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