As one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, Panama provides the perfect mix of conditions for an investor to take advantage of.
Panama’s good performance during the 2008 global financial crisis, and consistent and stable economic growth, have positioned it as a Latin American leader. As a result, investor confidence has surged, and companies of all sizes are seeing Panama as an attractive commercial jurisdiction.
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Additionally, Panama has increasingly become one of the best locations to incorporate a company as a means of protecting assets from creditors or the government.
3 Simple Steps to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Panama
It is well known that in order to set up a business you will need a corporate bank account and Panama is no exception. However, the bank account opening process is not as difficult as you may think.
Step 1: Work With a Local Partner in Panama
If you are looking for partners to work with as you begin the bank opening process, law firms or consultants will be your best options. Although opening a corporate bank account in Panama is relatively simple, there are some factors that could make the process more difficult if not taken into account, such as cultural and language barriers. For this reason, it is important to work with a local partner who can provide support throughout the entire process.
Step 2: Match your Business Needs With a Suitable Panamanian Bank
Depending on the activities of the company, some banks are more flexible than others when it comes to opening investment accounts, flexible payment methods, international transfers, etc. Make sure you choose the bank that best fits your business needs.
Step 3: Banking Documentation in Panama
Banks in Panama need proof that you are eligible to open a bank account and this applies to both personal and corporate accounts. Once you have gotten the necessary documents together (i.e valid passport, financial statements, bank and commercial references), the process for opening a bank account in Panama is relatively straightforward: filling out the paperwork and presenting the documentation to the bank. In Panama, all documentation must be apostilled to comply with the bank’s requirements.
Once all the requested paperwork and documents have been checked and approved, the bank will send a notification of the account opening.
Required Documentation for Banking in Panama
Depending on the bank you choose to open an account with, the list of documents you will be asked to provide will vary. The following is not an exhaustive list but it outlines the main documents that are required to open the company bank account in Panama:
- Copy of the articles of incorporation of the company.
- Certificate of good standing for the company.
- Commercial license (where applicable).
- Bank reference letter. If the company doesn’t have a bank reference letter, the shareholders of the company will need to provide it.
- Evidence of income can be proven with a copy of the income tax declaration of the shareholders.
- Passport copy of all shareholders and members of the company.
Bank Options in Panama
Panama has a number of banking providers that offer good services to foreign companies. The best choice for your company will depend on your business goals and which bank’s services align with them best. Here is a list of popular banks in Panama for you to consider:
- Banco General
- BAC International Bank
- Credicorp Bank
- Banco Aliado
- Banco Nacional de Panama
- Banco Davivienda
- BPR Bank
- BBVA Panama
- Inteligo Bank
Common Questions on Opening a Corporate Bank Account in Panama
Based on our extensive experience, these are the common questions and doubts of our clients on opening a company bank account in Panama:
No. You can open a bank account from abroad with the support of a local attorney empowered through a power of attorney (POA). However, the original bank application forms will need to be sent to Panama.
The following documents are required to open the company bank account:
– Copy of the articles of incorporation of the company.
– Certificate of good standing for the company.
– Commercial license (where applicable).
– Bank reference letter. If the company doesn’t have a bank reference letter, the shareholders of the company will need to provide it.
– Evidence of income can be proven with a copy of the income tax declaration of the shareholders. Passport copy of all shareholders and members of the company.
Any member of the company that is authorized by company shareholders can have access to the bank account.
We recommend the following banks for foreign companies: Banco Aliado, Credicorp Bank, or Banistmo.
Companies choose to open bank accounts in Panama due to the economic and political stability, the ability to hold currency in US Dollars, the territorial taxation system, and banking privacy.
Yes. Law N° 23 of April 27th, 2015, which regulates money laundering prevention measures, states that the information obtained by a financial entity and the unit of financial analysis must be kept strictly confidential and may only be provided to third parties by order of the competent judicial authority.
Where Can You Find More Information About Opening a Corporate/Company Bank Account in Panama?
If you’re interested in finding out how you can open a bank account in Panama, and how to ensure that you work with a bank that can meet your business requirements, get in touch with one of our local experts at Biz Latin Hub. We have extensive experience in assisting foreign individuals and companies to do business in Panama and Latin America. Our professional and experienced legal team can provide support with all your commercial requirements. Please contact us and see how we can be of assistance.