Opening A Corporate Bank Account In Panama

Learn More About How to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Panama

FREE Consultation

Let us help you with an obligation-free consultation today!

By submitting this form you accept our Privacy Policy

Opening a company bank account in Panama stands as a strategic decision for businesses looking to leverage the advantages of one of Central America's most prominent financial hubs. The process of setting up a corporate account in this jurisdiction offers a range of benefits and features that can be pivotal for companies seeking international expansion, financial stability, and advantageous banking conditions.

Key Benefits and Features

  • Global Financial Center: Panama is recognized as a global financial center, providing access to a sophisticated banking infrastructure. This status enables businesses to tap into a wide array of financial services and products tailored to corporate needs.
  • Currency Flexibility: The Panamanian banking system is notable for its use of the US dollar as its main currency, which provides a stable financial environment and eliminates currency exchange risks for international transactions. This is particularly beneficial for companies that deal with multiple currencies in their operations.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Panama's banking system is known for its strong privacy laws. While compliant with international standards for transparency and anti-money laundering, it still offers a degree of confidentiality that is valued by businesses looking to protect their financial information.
  • Tax Efficiency: Panama's territorial tax system, where only income generated within Panama is taxed, presents an attractive proposition for international businesses. This system can provide significant tax advantages, especially for companies that operate globally.
  • Ease of International Transactions: Banks in Panama are well-equipped to handle international transactions efficiently, making it easier for companies to manage global trade and investments. The banking sector's expertise in international finance is a substantial asset for businesses engaged in cross-border activities.
  • Robust Legal Framework: The country's commitment to a stable and transparent legal framework bolsters investor confidence. Businesses benefit from clear regulations and policies that are conducive to corporate banking.
  • Access to Latin American Markets: For companies looking to expand into Latin America, Panama serves as a strategic gateway. Its geographical position and strong trade connections make it an ideal base for businesses targeting Latin American markets.
  • Advanced Banking Technologies: Panamanian banks have embraced technological advancements, offering corporate clients a range of digital banking services. This includes online banking platforms, mobile banking apps, and sophisticated payment solutions, facilitating efficient financial management.

In essence, opening a company bank account in Panama offers businesses a unique combination of financial stability, strategic advantages in tax efficiency, privacy, and access to a dynamic global financial system. These features make Panama an attractive destination for companies looking to establish or expand their banking relationships in a jurisdiction that aligns with their international business goals.

What are the requirements to opening a corporate bank account in Panama?

Opening a corporate bank account in Panama involves a series of detailed requirements. These requirements are designed to comply with international banking standards, including anti-money laundering regulations and to ensure the legitimacy of the businesses engaging with the Panamanian banking sector. Here's a detailed breakdown of the typical requirements:

Corporate Documents:

  • Certificate of Incorporation: Proof of the company's legal existence and registration.
  • Articles of Incorporation: Document outlining the company's purpose, structure, and operations.
  • Commercial License: If applicable, evidence of the business license issued by the relevant authorities.
  • Certificate of Good Standing: If the company has been in existence for more than a year, this certificate confirms its compliance with relevant regulations and obligations.

Board of Directors Resolution:

  • A formal resolution from the company's Board of Directors authorizing the opening of the account, specifying who is authorized to operate the account.

Shareholder Details:

  • Information about the company's shareholders, typically including names, addresses, and percentage of shares held. In some cases, shareholders owning a significant portion of the company might need to provide personal identification documents.

Beneficial Owner Information:

  • Identification of the ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) of the company, if different from the shareholders. This includes personal identification documents and sometimes proof of address.

Company Officers' Information:

  • Personal documents of the company's officers (such as directors and the president), including passports, proof of address, and sometimes reference letters.

Financial Statements:

  • Recent financial statements of the company to provide insight into the business's financial health. For new companies, a business plan with financial projections might be required.

Bank Reference Letters:

  • Letters from other banks where the company holds accounts, stating the nature of the banking relationship.

Personal Visit:

  • Many banks in Panama require a personal visit by the authorized signatories or company representatives to complete the account opening process.

Proof of Business Activities:

  • Evidence of the company's business activities, which could include contracts, invoices, business plans, or other relevant documents.

Source of Funds:

  • Documentation explaining the source of the initial deposit and the anticipated source of future deposits, to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

Tax Information:

  • Depending on the bank's policy and the company's country of origin, tax-related documents or declarations might be required.

Application Forms and Agreements:

  • Completion of the bank's application forms, including agreements and acknowledgments of the bank's terms and conditions.

Additional Considerations

  • Compliance Checks: Banks will conduct thorough due diligence and compliance checks, which can take time. Patience and thorough preparation of documents can ease this process.
  • Legal Assistance: It is often beneficial to engage a local lawyer or a firm that specializes in corporate banking in Panama to navigate the process, particularly if there are language barriers or specific legal nuances to be addressed.
  • Varying Requirements: Requirements can vary depending on the bank, the nature of the business, and the country of origin of the shareholders or beneficial owners.
  • Updates and Changes: Banking regulations and requirements can change, so it is advisable to contact the bank directly or consult with a professional for the most current information.

Opening a corporate bank account in Panama is a detailed and thorough process, reflecting the country's commitment to financial security and international compliance standards. Preparation and understanding of these requirements are key to a smooth account opening experience.

What are the steps to opening a corporate bank account in Panama?

Opening a corporate bank account in Panama involves several steps, each important to ensure compliance with local regulations and international banking standards. The process can vary slightly depending on the bank, but generally follows a similar structure:

1. Select a Bank

  • Research: Start by researching banks in Panama to find one that suits your business needs. Consider factors like international connectivity, range of services, reputation, and the ease of doing business with them.
  • Consultation: It's often beneficial to consult with a financial advisor or lawyer in Panama who can provide insights into the best banking options for your specific business needs.

2. Gather Required Documents

  • Prepare all necessary corporate documents, which typically include the Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Incorporation, Board of Directors Resolution, and details of shareholders and beneficial owners.
  • Personal identification documents of the company's officers and authorized signatories are also required.
  • Additional documents such as financial statements, business plans, and proof of business activities may also be needed.

3. Complete Preliminary Application

  • Some banks offer the option to start the application process online. This preliminary step often involves filling out basic information about your company and the nature of your business.
  • This step may be followed by a preliminary assessment or communication from the bank.

4. Due Diligence and Compliance Checks

  • The bank will conduct thorough due diligence on your company. This includes verifying the submitted documents and possibly additional background checks.
  • Be prepared to provide more information or clarification if requested by the bank.

5. Schedule an Appointment or Visit the Bank

  • In many cases, a personal visit to the bank in Panama is required. Schedule an appointment for this visit.
  • During the visit, you will meet with bank officials to finalize the account opening process.

6. Submit the Application and Documents

  • Submit the completed application form along with all the required documentation.
  • Sign any additional forms or agreements as required by the bank.

7. Await Account Approval

  • After submitting your application and documents, there will be a waiting period while the bank processes your application.
  • The duration of this period can vary depending on the bank's policies and the completeness of your application.

8. Make the Initial Deposit

  • Once your account is approved, you will be required to make the initial deposit. The amount varies depending on the bank's policy.

9. Set Up Online Banking and Other Services

  • After the account is active, set up online banking and any other services your business requires, like debit cards, credit lines, or merchant services.

10. Regular Monitoring and Compliance

  • Ensure ongoing compliance with the bank's requirements and regulations.
  • Regularly update the bank with any changes in your company's structure or operations.

Points to Remember

  • Professional Assistance: The process can be complex, especially for foreign companies unfamiliar with Panama's banking system. It's often advisable to seek professional assistance.
  • Compliance and Transparency: Panama's banking system is strict about compliance, so ensure transparency and thoroughness in all dealings.
  • Patience: The process can be time-consuming due to the thoroughness of the due diligence process.

Opening a corporate bank account in Panama requires careful planning and attention to detail. Ensuring all documents are correctly prepared and understanding the compliance requirements will facilitate a smoother process.

How does Panama report details of a corporate bank account to my home country?

The reporting of corporate bank account information in Panama to other countries, including your home country, is governed by international agreements and local regulations concerning financial transparency and the exchange of tax information. The extent to which Panama reports this information depends on several factors, including the agreements it has with other countries and global tax reporting standards. Here's a detailed overview:

International Agreements and Standards

OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS):

Panama is a participant in the CRS, an information standard for the automatic exchange of tax and financial information on a global level, developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Under CRS, financial institutions in Panama collect and report information about accounts held by non-residents to the Panamanian tax authorities, who then exchange this information with tax authorities in the account holders' countries of residence.

Bilateral Agreements:

Panama may also have bilateral agreements with specific countries for the exchange of tax information, including corporate bank account details. These agreements can vary between countries and influence the nature and extent of the information exchanged.

Types of Information Reported

  • The information typically reported under CRS and bilateral agreements includes:
  • Account holder's identity (name, address, Tax Identification Numbers).
  • Account number.
  • Account balance or value at the end of the calendar year.
  • Details of capital gains, interest, dividends, and other income earned in the account.
  • Banks in Panama conduct due diligence to identify accounts that fall within the scope of CRS and other reporting agreements.
  • They are required to collect and maintain detailed information about the account holders, including their tax residency status.

Implications for Corporate Account Holders

  • If your company is a foreign entity and you have a corporate bank account in Panama, there is a high likelihood that information about this account will be shared with the tax authorities of your company's country of residence, especially if that country participates in the CRS or has a bilateral agreement with Panama.
  • It's important for corporate account holders to understand their tax obligations in their home countries and ensure compliance with all relevant tax laws and disclosure requirements.

The reporting of corporate bank account information in Panama is aligned with international efforts to enhance financial transparency and combat tax evasion. The extent of reporting depends on Panama's commitments under CRS and other international agreements. Corporate account holders should be aware of these reporting obligations and seek professional advice to ensure compliance with their home country's tax regulations.

+57 311 268 4394

Call Us Now

All calls are kept strictly confidential

Related in
Opening a Panama Bank Account