You’ve just made it through the process of setting up a company or foundation in Panama. You’re excited to start business. What will happen to the money that you’ll make? How will you reinvest your profits into your Panamanian company or foundation?
You’ll need to open a corporate bank account. Since your business has been set up in and you plan to conduct most of your business in Panama, you’ll need to set up your corporate bank account with a Panama bank.
If you’re not familiar with banks in Panama, they are some of the most secure and stable in the region and even wordwide. Their stability coupled with having some of the best bank privacy laws in the world make them popular for both domestic and foreign investors and business owners. There are around 100 international banks located in Panama, making your investment options many.
Besides their security and stability, the banks in Panama offer some of the lowest interest rates in the world, which only add to their appeal.
How do you go about setting up a corporate bank account for your Panamanian company or foundation? Similar to setting up a business in Panama, there is a process, requirements and timeframe involved.
It’s important to note that while many of the banks in Panama follow the same procedures when it comes to setting up a Panamanian corporate banking account, there are a few who have a different process.
The general process is fairly simple:
- Fill out and submit an online application.
- Interview at the bank. After receiving your application, you will need to schedule an interview with the bank. The bank officer will ask you more specific, detailed questions about the goals and purpose of the account and gather additional information about your business. During the interview, you’ll be able to ask any additional questions you may have. Before the interview, ask the interviewer if he or she is bilingual if your first language isn’t Spanish.
- Set up the account. At the conclusion of the interview, the bank documentation will be completed and signed. After this signed paperwork is submitted the account application and client profile will be reviewed by the bank compliance department and if everything is in order, the account opening will be approved and an account number will be issued.
- Submit payment. Most Panamanian banks require an account minimum balance. The required minimum payment will vary based on the type of account and what services you want to be associated with the account (i.e. credit card, debit card, wire transfers, savings account, checking accounts, etc.). Payments can be made with bank wire transfer.
- Begin using your account. When your account has been successfully set-up, you’ll receive an email from the bank, detailing the bank’s protocol in making various transactions such as deposits, and making wire transfers. From now on, you’ll be interacting with this bank for all transactions.
During the corporate banking account process, you’ll be asked to submit some documents. It’s a good idea to get these documents organized before you apply for a Panamanian business account:
- A notarized photocopy of passport for each person on the account.
- Two Financial Reference Letters. These letters are from any business you have a professional relationship with. The letter should be on company letter head and include the contact information of a bank representative. The letters are to be signed by a signatory.
- Company Profile Letter. This letter should be on your company letterhead and detail the anticipated monthly banking activity, contact information, the nature of your business activities, the regions you plan to do business in and a description of your goods and services.
- Proof of Address. This might be required for each person on the account; you’ll be required to submit a copy of the phone bill, Internet/Cable bill, power bill or water bill. P.O. Box addresses will not be accepted.
- Signed Account Applications. Everyone with access to the account will need to fill out and sign their own application.
Creating a corporate banking account with a Panamanian bank is safe and secure. The process is simple, and the fees are reasonable. Some banks have different set-up procedures and different guidelines and rules when it comes to common aspects of corporate accounts such as credit and debit cards, checking and savings accounts and wire transfers. For those not familiar with the Panamanian banking system, it is recommended they work with a local, Panamanian business law firm.
Mata & Pitti is an experienced Panamanian law firm that specializes in providing offshoring legal services to individuals and companies. We can help you navigate the process of selecting a Panamanian bank and help you through the process of setting up a corporate account for your Panamanian business or foundation. Contact us today to learn more.