Bank references are not the only paperwork you've got to get ready in order to open an offshore bank account. Confirmation of your residence from bills (e.g. gas or electricity bills) in your name are routinely requested as a positive confirmation of your actual residential address.
Common Law or Civil Law - Again?
And again, the practice has its roots in common law. To a Frenchman, the idea of providing a gas bill to open a bank account may seem absurd across the Channel in England, this is normal practice.
Where civil law jurisdictions typically maintain centralised population registers (and in many it is an offence not to inform the bureaucrats of your change of address) common law administrations seem to be less concerned about their citizens' whereabouts. As a result, banks in, for example the UK, rely on utility bills to confirm residential address; the thinking being that if you are paying electricity bills at a given address, you are probably living there.
A substantial number of offshore banking havens, particularly those in the Caribbean, are English-speaking, common-law based ex-colonies of the United Kingdom. However, producing a utility bill for your offshore bank raises a number of privacy-related issues. Offshore banking, if it is to be successful, should be confidential -- and addresses do present several problems in terms of privacy.
But while the problems regarding the receipt of mail from your offshore bank can always be overcome somehow (even if this causes some inconvenience) there are other reasons why your offshore bank shouldn't know your actual residential address !!