Panama corporate bank accounts
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC helps multi-national Clients open multi-currency corporate bank accounts in Panama, both for local and overseas companies.
Without bank signatory travel, our banking team will project manage the multi-currency corporate bank account opening process, including preparing a quality business plan for our Client’s business.
We recommend our multi-national Clients read this web page to avoid bank surprises later.
- Within 3 months, Healy Consultants Group PLC will secure multi-currency corporate bank account approvals with at least one Panamanian and one international bank, without the need for the bank signatory to travel.
- All Panamanian banks’ e-banking and telephone help lines are available in English and Spanish.
- Panamanian banks offer multi-currency corporate bank accounts. Most reputable banks have a minimum deposit ranging from US$5,000 to US$10,000.
- Panamanian banks also offer an excellent range of corporate and personal banking products including i) checking and saving accounts ii) debit and credit cards iii) fixed term deposit and iv) wealth management services.
- Healy Consultants Group PLC’s fee for non-travel corporate account opening service is US$4,950.
- Our Client should also budget for additional costs for translation and/or legalisation of due diligence documents, usually requested by the bank in-house Legal and Compliance Department.
- Panamanian banks are increasingly reluctant to open corporate accounts for companies with complex structures involving multiple foreign beneficial owners. To increase account opening success, we recommend our Client keep the corporate structure simple.
Security of the Panama banking sector
- Panama banks enjoy a moderate long-term credit rating of BBB+. Consequently, we estimate the probability of a bank default is 25% during a global recession.
- Panama does not implement any exchange controls on inbound nor outbound funds transfers. Nor is there withholding tax on the repatriations of capital or profits.
- Panama’s banking industry is the most modern and successful in Latin America, comprising i) 47 general licensed banks ii) 26 international banks and iii) two state-owned banks.
- One of the roles of a Central Bank is to act as a lender of last resort to rescue banks that get in financial trouble. To mitigate this liquidity risk, Panamanian banks are very conservatively run, with an average capital adequacy ratio of 15%, nearly double the legal minimum requirement.
- In 2016, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) removed Panama from the list of high-risk countries. In February 2020, Panama was added to the European Union’s (EU) tax havens blacklist for its failure to implement economic substance requirements. Consequently, international top-tier banks are slow to welcome Panamanian LLCs as potential customers. Panama has a history of promising to improve banking standards, but does not follow through.
- Because of the above, the documentation required to open a Panama corporate bank account is excessive and banks’ KYC processes are extensive and time consuming.
- Panama is a part of the CRS global information exchange system as well as FATCA reporting, so banks are obliged to share bank signatory information with international governments. Local banks report details of accounts held, controlled or beneficially owned by foreign residents.
- Panama’s largest commercial banks include i) Banco General ii) Banco Nacional iii) Banistmo and iv) BAC Internacional. During a global depression, there is a real risk that one or more of these banks will go bankrupt. Consequently, Healy Consultants Group PLC recommends out multi-national Clients house their multi-currency corporate bank accounts with top tier banks in major financial centres.
- The Panamanian banking sector comprises over 1,000 licensed financial institutions, including securities, insurance, cooperatives, savings and loans, developments banks, finance companies, trust, leasing companies. This vast number of entities poses a major challenge for regulation and supervision.
- Panamanian banks house a lot of drug money from South America, threatening domestic and financial stability.
- Panama has had two Panamanian government-owned banks including i) the National Bank of Panama (Spanish: Banco Nacional de Panamá) (BNP) and ii) Caja de Ahorros de Panamá (Savings Bank of Panama).
- Panama does not have a Central Bank. Instead, Panamanian banks are supervised by i) BNP and ii) the National Banking Commission (Superintendencia del Mercado de Valores) and iii) the International Financial Center.
- Of the 49 onshore Panamanian banks, 17 are Panamanian-owned, while 32 are foreign-owned. Foreign banks account for 44% of banking total assets, 38% of total deposits and 31% of total loans. Large banks, four of which are Colombian-owned, are part of financial conglomerates.
Healy Consultants Group PLC’s Panama account opening process
- Healy Consultants Group PLC’s in-house banking team prepares a detailed business plan highlighting the company’s activities, financial projections and reasons for opening a Panama bank account.
- The banking team sends the business plan to our Client for their review and approval before sharing with multiple banks to secure their interest in our Client’s business.
- Immediately thereafter, Healy Consultants Group PLC prepares a Power of Attorney (POA) and e-mails bank account opening forms for our Client’s signature in front of the notary public or local bank branch officer.
- After signing and certifying the relevant documents, our Client couriers the originals to Healy Consultants Group PLC’s Panamanian office.
- Unless the documents are in English or Spanish, there is a 40% probability that the bank will request the attested documents be translated by a legal translator.
- To optimise the probability of multi-currency corporate bank account approval, Healy Consultants Group PLC recommends our multi-national Clients open corporate bank accounts with a top-tier bank with whom they already have an international business banking relationship.
- Within ten weeks of submission of the multi-currency corporate bank account opening application, our Client will e-mail receive multi-currency corporate bank account numbers from the top-tier bank.
- Within two weeks, Healy Consultants Group PLC receives Internet banking activation documents and activates online banking on our Client’s behalf.
- Following successful e-banking activation, Healy Consultants Group PLC will dispatch a courier to our Client’s preferred mailing address containing i) an ATM card and ii) a corporate visa debit card and iii) e-banking access details and iv) original Panamanian LLC documents.
- The traditional list of information/documents required to advance a bank account application include:
- Proof of business-like contracts and invoices;
- List of company’s customers and suppliers;
- Details of the management team;
- The company’s financial projections;
- Incoming and outgoing transactions and destinations;
- Source of initial deposit/ wealth.