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How to Obtain a Banking License in Panama

How to Obtain a Banking License in Panama

The Banking Law is the main legal resource for the banking sector and it regulated the manner in which these types of companies are regulated and licensed. According to law, no company is allowed to engage in banking activities without having obtained the license for general or international banking purposes, as applicable.

Our team of Panama company formation specialists can help investors obtain a banking license. In this article we briefly outline the requirements as well as the available types of licenses, however, investors who need more information on this subject can contact us for more, personalized details. 

Types of banking licenses in Panama

The Superintendency of Banks of Panama is the regulating agency that oversees the supervision of banks, grants and cancels banking licenses as well as takes all need corrective measures for banks; it is the one responsible for the stability of the banking system in the country. 

The following types of banking licenses are available in Panama:

  1. General license: this permit allows banks to provide services in and outside Panama; the minimum capital is 10 million USD.
  2. International restricted license: this allows banks to engage in offshore banking activities that are conducted from an office based in Panama; the minimum capital is 3 million USD.
  3. Combined: allows Panamanian banks to engage in both general and international services and for this license fee a special license is applicable depending on several factors.
  4. Representation license: issues for foreign banks; this permit allows them to have a local office in Panama but they cannot engage in local trading. 

Our team of Panama offshore company formation agents can provide investors with more details about the requirements applicable to banks.

Requirements for obtaining banking licenses in Panama

Banks that apply for one of the licenses presented herein need to comply with certain requirements. We list some of these below:

  • – Providing the company’s Articles of Incorporation and other required documents;
  • – Offering information about the financial group of which the bank is part of;
  • – Providing the audit reports and information about the auditor, as required;
  • – Offering information about the foreign bank’s solvency and good standing (for the representation license);
  • – Presenting information on the company’s shareholders/managers;
  • – Offering details on the source of the funds for the bank’s authorized capital.
  • – Providing the business plan that is approved by the bank managers. 

Please remember that the requirements can differ from one application to another and the Superintendency of Banks will evaluate these according to the licensing framework.

For more details about the general and the specific requirements for bank licensing, please reach out to our team of Panama company formation specialists.

Specialized assistance for Panama incorporation

Opening a company in a highly regulated business sector, such as banking, will require a complete understanding of the updated laws and regulations in the particular sector. For example, the Banking Law is connected to a number of other additional laws that have been passed over the years in Panama. These refer to money laundering, terrorism, and defense against financial crimes. Working with our team of Panama incorporation specialists is helpful for all investors who wish to know more about the local regulations and who wish to comply with all of the ongoing requirements. 

Panama is a popular offshore location for companies in the financial sector, including but not limited to banks. Investors may also choose to set up companies that offer various other financial services, or insurance and reinsurance services. Trust companies and investment funds are also commonly set up in this jurisdiction. Below, we present a brief statistic on the number of companies incorporated in the country:

  • – at the end of October 2019, there were 11,651 anonymous companies incorporated in the country.
  • – in 2019 there were 131 limited liability companies registered in Panama.
  • – the total number of registered trusts was 1,931 in 2019.

According to the Superintendency of Banks, the net liquid assets in the fourth quarter of 2018 had a value of 21,687,147,167.40 USD. 

Applying for the needed licenses and making other applications, such as those for obtaining citizenship in Panama, can all be handled with the help of our experts. We also specialize in immigration matters and offer counsel and personalized assistance to foreign nationals who have been living in Panama long enough so that they may apply to become Panamanian citizens themselves.

In addition to licensing matters, our team also assists those who are interested in immigration to Panama. do you wish to know how to apply for a temporary or a permanent residence permit and when it is advisable to plan your trip depending on the permit issue time? We can guide you throughout the process, based on the reason for your short-term, medium or long-term stay in the country.

We also assist investors who have started a company in the financial sector (or plan on doing so) and need to apply for a permit that will allow them rights of residency in Panama. This is possible for investors who make a minimum investment in a certain field, or for foreign nationals who will retire to Panama, provide that they qualify for this purpose. We can give you details about the available types of residence permits. 

Our team of Panama company formation agents can assist investors who are interested in obtaining a banking license in the country as well as any other investors interested in opening a company in a different business field. Contact us for more information about the Panamanian banking sector and its specific requirements.