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Panama – Banking

Panama is known for its stable economy, which is largely based on its financial sector. If you’re an expat in Panama, you’ll find a range of local and international banks to choose from. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of banking in Panama, including the main local and international banks, their contact details, accounts and services for expats, typical opening hours, areas of concern, and how to open a bank account as an expat.

Main Local Banks in Panama

The main local banks in Panama are:

  1. Banco Nacional de Panama – Banco Nacional de Panama is a prominent bank in Panama.
  2. Banco General – Banco General is known for its comprehensive banking services.
  3. Caja de Ahorros – Caja de Ahorros is a well-established savings bank in Panama.
  4. Multibank – Multibank offers a wide range of financial solutions.
  5. Banco Azteca – Banco Azteca provides banking services in Panama.

Major UK and USA banks presence in Panama

Several major UK and USA banks have a presence in Panama, including:

  1. HSBC – HSBC serves customers in Panama with its banking services.
  2. Citibank – Citibank operates in Panama and offers various banking solutions.
  3. Scotiabank – Scotiabank is a major international bank with a presence in Panama.
  4. BBVA – BBVA provides banking services to customers in Panama.
  5. Banistmo – Banistmo is known for its banking solutions in Panama.

Accounts and Services for Expats

Banks in Panama offer a range of accounts and services specifically aimed at expats, including:

  1. Multicurrency accounts – allows you to hold and manage multiple currencies in a single account.
  2. Offshore accounts – allows you to manage your finances and investments outside of your home country.
  3. Online and mobile banking – provides convenient access to your accounts and services from anywhere in the world.
  4. International wire transfers – allows you to send and receive money internationally.
  5. Credit and debit cards – provides easy access to your funds and cash withdrawals.

Typical Bank Opening Hours in Panama

Most banks in Panama are open from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Some banks also have extended hours on Saturdays.

Specific areas of concern for expats

Expats should be aware of the following areas of concern when banking in Panama:

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  1. Money laundering – Panama has a reputation for being a tax haven and has faced scrutiny for its financial regulations.
  2. Exchange rate risks – Panama uses the US dollar as its official currency, which means that exchange rate fluctuations can impact your finances.
  3. High fees and interest rates – some banks in Panama charge high fees and interest rates, so it’s important to compare and research before choosing a bank.

Opening a bank account as an expat

To open a bank account in Panama as an expat, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a bank – research and compare different banks to find one that meets your needs.
  2. Gather the required documents – you’ll typically need a passport, proof of residence, and proof of income.
  3. Visit the bank in person – bring your documents and visit a branch in person to complete the account opening process.
  4. Fund your account – deposit money into your new account to start using it.

Overall, banking in Panama offers a range of options for expats, with local and international banks, and a variety of accounts and services to choose from. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential areas of concern, such as money laundering, exchange rate risks, and high fees and interest rates. By doing your research and choosing a reputable bank, you can enjoy the benefits of banking in Panama as an expat.

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