Offshore banking in Panama is a kind of gold standard for offshore banking. It is a system of relations, laws, values and traditions that make Panama, if not unique, then at least very attractive for business people. Individuals are accustomed to the high level of comfort commonly associated with Swiss and Luxembourg financial institutions. In Panama, the concept of banking secrecy is taken extremely seriously, and the terms of cooperation are maximally optimized for the client.
Offshore banking in Panama received a second wind with the beginning of the deoffshorization era. It turned out that the package of services in Panama banks does not differ much from similar offers of Swiss banks with the same high level of reliability. At the same time, bank fees are significantly lower, internal rules for working with new clients are softer, and the general level of comfort allows us to say that offshore banking in Panama is serious and for the long haul.
Why choose Panama banks?
Choosing an offshore bank at first glance may seem straightforward, but such an opinion is not only wrong but also harmful. A frivolous approach to such a choice can bring a lot of trouble, including significant financial losses. Therefore, the choice of offshore jurisdiction and the bank where you plan to open an account should be taken as thoughtfully as possible.
Why do we recommend Panama banks? The simple answer is that it is really one of the best options in terms of the sum of all factors. Now let’s try to give a more detailed explanation, which, we hope, will confirm our recommendations.
Advantages of Panama for offshore banking (both personal and corporate):
- High reputation status of Panama.
- Stability of the financial system.
- The conservative policy of Panama banks guarantees the absence of abrupt and unmotivated changes.
- A strong, diversified, and promising economy (think of the Panama Canal connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean).
- Sufficient level of security. Panama’s economy is one of the most stable in the region. Nowadays, almost nothing reminds of the troubled times of Manuel Noriega’s reign.
- Good basic macroeconomic indicators for a developing country (a typical example is a low external debt ratio to GDP).
- Stability of budget revenue sources – operation of the Panama Canal, banking/financial sector, insurance, registration of ships under the flag of Panama, tourism. They do not depend on the extraction and sale of minerals, so they are little affected by price fluctuations in world markets.
- The US dollar as the national currency (simultaneously with the Panamanian balboa, which is tightly pegged to the USD).
- Well-thought-out policy of the financial regulator (National Bank of Panama, Banco Nacional de Panama).
- A large selection of banks creates competition in the financial sector and contributes to the expansion of the services list and their quality growth.
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How to open an offshore bank account in Panama
Often, the choice of a specific bank is recommended as a first step, but this strategy is not entirely correct. Even a personal account, not to mention a corporate one, can be opened for several purposes, and each of them requires its own individual approach and set of services. Therefore, we strongly recommend you to take the preliminary stage thoughtfully. Only in this way your offshore bank account in Panama will fully satisfy all your requirements.
Recommended order of steps:
- Determine your personal offshore banking strategy. Here you should take into account the purpose of opening an account, your financial capabilities (present and expected in the future), and requirements for the general list of services (without specifics). You need to consider all the details before taking any specific steps.
- Find your banks. At this stage, you should not choose a specific financial institution. To begin with, determine banks that, in principle, meet your requirements and are guaranteed to ensure the implementation of your offshore banking strategy.
- Find your bank. If several financial institutions fall under your conditions, you will have to choose a specific bank in the face of limited information to decide. You can look at the reviews of other customers, check the latest ratings, and explore the corporate website. A critical condition is a theoretical possibility of passing through all administrative procedures. The bank has to confirm its readiness to open an account for you based on the existing conditions (citizenship, residence status, asset structure, expected activity on the account). As a result, you should have only one candidate and 2-3 alternate options. You can also ask our experts for help, and they will help you choose the best option for an offshore account.
- Determine the strategy for opening an offshore account in Panama. At this stage, you should consider, among other things, purely practical aspects – the need for a personal visit to Panama and the organizational requirements of the bank. Make sure that you have free time (if a personal visit to the bank is required), a clear understanding of all stages of opening an account remotely (if you chose this option), or your intermediary is ready to complete the task (if you want to outsource the chores).
Common mistakes when opening an offshore bank account in Panama
You can safely skip this section if you choose us to assist you in opening a Panama corp and bank account. But if you are planning to act on your own (not the most correct strategy), or if your potential intermediary has assumed exclusively representative functions (a visit to the bank), information about potential pitfalls will be handy. Make sure that you clearly understand the meaning of the warnings and are ready to take responsibility for your actions.
The most common mistakes:
- Incomplete, erroneous, or outdated information. Panama offshore banking is less demanding than European or Asian. But this does not mean Panama banks will open an account violating the regulations. Panama is a solid offshore jurisdiction, and no one has canceled compliance in local banks. If there are problems with the documents, at best, the account opening procedure will be delayed, and at worst, you will be denied.
- Inconsistency between the declared account profile and actual usage. One of the most common mistakes is using a personal account for doing business or operating a business account for private financial transactions. If the bank detects signs of such use, you will have big trouble with financial services up to blocking/freezing the account.
- Inconsistency between the bank profile and your requirements. The mistake is that you open a personal account in a bank focused on corporate clients, or you open two accounts simultaneously in the same bank – personal and for doing business. At first glance, there is nothing wrong with this since most Panama banks are conditionally universal. But practice shows that the 2-in-1 format is a potential source of unnecessary troubles in the long term, and such a pattern should be avoided.
- Additional fees. Cashing out money at an ATM is not always a free service, as well as preparing a bank statement, transferring money to an account in another bank, or even paying utility bills. Make sure you clearly understand the cost of the services in the selected bank.
- Authorization and security level. This is a point that is especially important for corporate offshore banking in Panama, but in some cases, it should be taken into account by individuals. You will need to determine the circle of persons with the right to sign/authorize checks. 2-Factor authentication or double check signature options will make using an offshore account a little less convenient, but the level of security will be significantly higher.
- Minimum account balance requirements. Some banks impose requirements on the balance of funds at the end of the month. And if it turns out to be lower, the account may be frozen or closed. If this moment does not bother you, then there is no problem. But you need to understand the terms of service before submitting documents for opening an offshore account in Panama.
- Difficulties with online banking. Given that we are talking about opening an account in Panama, stable Internet banking is a critical condition and not just a useful feature. If the bank does not provide this service, or online work is challenging, such a financial institution will not definitely suit you.
Account opening procedure in Panama banks
We have already said that the requirements for opening an offshore bank account in Panama are lower than in Europe and Asia. But this does not mean an account will be opened for you in any case, and the verification procedure will be formal. Most refusals to open an account are due to potential customers’ inattention and ignoring bank recommendations.
Basic requirements (personal offshore account in Panama):
- Personal identification. You will need a valid ID card (usually a passport).
- Confirmation of residential address. The best option is a paid utility bill for the last 2-3 months.
- Confirmation of your funds’ source of origin.
- A letter of recommendation from a bank with which you are already cooperating and which can confirm your reputation as a successful client.
- Proof of your connection to Panama.
- FATCA form.
- APC form (Asociación Panameña de Crédito, Panama Credit Association).
- Bank account profile form.
Basic requirements (corporate offshore account in Panama):
- Detailed personal information (see above) for each account signatory and all board members.
- Memorandum of association.
- Ownership statement.
- Two company tax returns.
- Board decision.
- A letter of recommendation from a business partner and a bank with which the company is already cooperating.
- Account profile (contains expected transaction volumes for the account).
Basic steps for opening an offshore bank account:
- Service details request. You do not pay anything at this stage since the main goal is to decide on your plans. To contact our experts, you can use e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or other communication channels that are convenient for you.
- Discussion of details. Together we will determine your desires and requirements, a list of additional services, and approximate terms and costs. If the service of opening an offshore bank account in Panama cannot be implemented, or if your case allows alternative options, we will discuss them and offer you several ones.
- Payment. If you are satisfied with our conditions, and we, for our part, understand that we can fulfill your order, we will issue you an invoice. You can pay it in several ways. Please note that the final amount may differ from that fixed in the contract (depending on unforeseen circumstances leading to additional work for our experts). If such a situation arises, we will immediately contact you for discussion.
- Preparation of documents. Your efforts will be minimal, but you should collect documents as carefully as possible. Our experts will always help you sort out any problematic situation.
- Opening of an offshore bank account in Panama. This is the final stage, and our experts will deal with it. If you have taken into account all our recommendations, the risk of refusal will be minimal. After a while (specific terms depend on the bank), you will receive a package of complete documents and access to online banking.
Conclusions and recommendations
An offshore account in Panama will be useful to many people, even those who do not think about such an option. At least because it forms an emergency hatch, which is extremely important in a potentially possible situation when things in your home country become not so rosy.
It is worth mentioning that Panama offers interesting and affordable (by relevant standards) residence permit and citizenship programs, and an active offshore bank account will always come in handy. It is not entirely correct to discuss the conditions of Panama’s “golden visa” and “golden passport” programs within the framework of this article. But the fact that a ready-to-use bank account in Panama will contribute a lot to a possible move to this country does not require proof.
We believe Panama is not just a center for offshore banking but a hub for connecting business interests, immigration programs, and protection/diversification of investments. The huge advantages of Panama are the legality of using the US dollar, a stable economy, the Panama Canal (as a permanent source of income for the budget), a developed banking sector, and territorial proximity to the United States and the Caribbean.
Do you need an offshore account in Panama? We do not know. Each person’s situation in life and business is different, and we will not impose a service you may not need. But at the same time, we believe that it definitely makes sense to discuss all issues within the framework of an individual consultation (e-mail email@example.com).
Some of our popular services in Panama:
- Residence in Panama on the ‘Economic Investor’ Program
- Start a Company in Panama and Register a Corporate Account in Belize
- Opening a Bank Account in Panama for Non-Residents
- Full Expert Support: Form a Panama Company and Open a Corporate Account
- Opening a Corporate Bank Account in Panama Online
- Register a Panama Corporation with a Corporate Bank Account in Curaçao
- Corporation in Panama with Full Nominee Service and Apostille
You do not yet know what are the benefits of offshore banking in Panama, but are you interested in a reliable, efficient, and versatile financial instrument? We await an email from you with a request for an individual consultation!