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Bank Accounts in Panama

Zelideth Pino | 2016-11-30

Panama's banking system is very well regulated, only institutions that hold a valid license with the Banking Superintendent’s Office are allowed to carry on banking business in Panama. Savings & Loans Coops (also loosely called Credit Unions) are not regulated by the Banking Superintendent's Office.

Although Panama has banking secrecy rules, the banks will disclose information to the Financial Analysis Unit regarding transactions over $10,000 in cash and suspicious transactions. Our laws and regulations on money laundering are strictly enforced and the use of the financial center for moving or keeping proceeds from crimes related to drug trafficking, terrorism, arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings, kidnapping, extortion, fraud and other serious crimes is considered money laundering and subject to harsh punishment. Also, due to Tax Treaties signed by Panama, banks may have to disclose information at the request of the Governemnt of Panama.

The above has resulted in the banks exercising special care when opening bank accounts, both for local and foreign nationals and implementing a strict know-your-client policy. Therefore, even if you open an account through a Panamanian or foreign corporation, you will be required to provide to the bank information and documents of the beneficial owner of the corporation (or private interest foundation), as well as information and documents on any signatories in the account. We do not act as signatories for our clients' accounts.

Once you choose a particular bank, we will let you know their requirements. And we will assist you by accompanying you to the bank and introducing you to the banking officer, completing the bank account opening form and obtainment of any corporate document necessary in those cases where a Panamanian corporation is opening the account. However, please understand this is a service we offer you in complying with the account opening process, we are NOT a bank NOR do we provide banking services ourselves, and it is the compliance officer of the bank you choose, the one who will ultimately approve the account, request further documentation or decide against opening the account.