Last week, I opened a personal account at a Panama bank. And while that might not seem like a reason to celebrate, it is noteworthy.
You see, for the past five years or so, Panama has become renowned for being a horribly challenging place to open accounts – but not because the banks are “bad”, or the fees or minimums are too high.
Actually, quite the contrary.
Panama banks are pretty well managed, invest conservatively, and don’t engage in the same mind-bending lending practices that their U.S. or European counterparts love.
And on top of that, Panama isn’t some shady back-water “offshore jurisdiction.” Despite what Hollywood and regulators would have you believe, Panama is a beautiful country to visit.
If you’d like to get a head start on account opening in Panama as a non-resident then download our FREE Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide right now!
Panama’s banking regulators are straight shooters. They don’t suffer fools and rule the banking sector with an iron fist – you can see that for yourself just by looking at the banks that they’ve recently shut down or penalized!
As a jurisdiction that deals exclusively in USD, the entire banking sector and economy are dependent on their USD correspondent banking relationships.
In other words, if Panama banks don’t behave and upset US regulators, their ability to send and receive money disappears and the economy falls into a deep freeze.
But for the past five years, the challenge with Panama was getting an account open.
Most people failed because they went to the wrong bankers, went to the wrong branches, couldn’t produce the right paperwork, or accidentally freaked out compliance departments.
And maybe you’ve heard about a little scandal called the Panama Papers? Well, first of all, most of the action happened outside of Panama. But nonetheless, it forced Panama under a microscope of scrutiny.
The result was a whole new set of stricter regulations and compliance practices that took a number of years for Panama banks and bankers to get the hang of.
Well, many people will tell you that account opening in Panama is still challenging, and they’re right. But the process of opening accounts is a lot more streamlined than it was even a year ago.
Remember, for the past few years, Panama banks were still playing catch up with the rest of the world…
Historically, compliance departments in Panama were incredibly slow and inexperienced. Many inserted “fake compliance” practices to show that they were doing something. This included things like requiring color copies and four pieces of identification. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a bank that understood the needs of anyone living an international lifestyle.
But now, my team has found that certain Panama bankers at a small number of Panama banks have seriously stepped up their game.
Now, Panama has other benefits on top of being a USD based economy and a 2-hour flight from Miami. In fact, Panama is showing signs that it might be on the verge of becoming the next great banking hub… at least in the Americas.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of hoops to jump through. And if you don’t know which banks (and bankers) to approach, you won’t get an account.
But, if you have that information handy, it can be a straightforward account opening process. And in doing so, you will access a useful bank account in USD.
In addition to me personally opening an account in Panama last week, five GlobalBanks Insiders have opened accounts in Panama over the last two months.
If you’re not yet a GlobalBanks Insider and would like to learn more about how you too can open an account in Panama using our Account Opening in Panama Report then click through below.
Well, first and foremost, Panama is a great place for anyone that is already a resident. But even if you’re not a resident of Panama there are still a few banking options here worth looking at.
Panama also offers options for foreign companies and foundations. These entities normally have a hard time getting access to decent banks. Especially if you’re looking for USD accounts and international transfers. Such companies can be structured in BVI, Cayman, Seychelles, Belize, etc.
And don’t forget, Panama isn’t just home to Panama banks. There are many foreign banks here, even several very reputable European private banks that are worth considering.
With the right guidance (and contact information), you can even use Panama as a less expensive entry point to several of the best banks in Europe with affordable wealth management products.
If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.
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