Most Asked Questions
Panama Banking FAQ
Interested in Panama banking? Frequent asked questions of international clients on the procedure of opening a bank account in Panama.
Do I need a lawyer to open a bank account in Panama?
It is not required an attorney to open a bank account in Panama. However, we understand that clients usually do not want to be bothered by these cumbersome procedures; unfortunately, it shall be necessary for the client to be involved directly and with constant communication with the bank to successfully open an account in Panama; why? Because banks are required by law to know well their new clients and because they would need much internal information about the client business that only the client could answer.
A lawyer could assist during the account opening procedures because he is familiar with the requirements. It surely could help with the follow-up once the client complies with the bank interview and due diligence requirements.
Is it necessary to come personally to Panama to open the account?
According to regulations, all bankers in Panama are required to know their clients very well; for this reason, it would be advisable for the client (the bank account signatory) to come personally to Panama for a brief interview with the bank and sign the bank application forms.
Nevertheless, the banks we can refer could accept receiving the account application via email and waive the personal meeting requirement.
How long should I stay in Panama for opening the account?
Usually a short trip of one or two business days would suffice for this purpose. The bank interview and signature of bank documents can be accomplished in one or two business days, however, it is important to clarify that the bank account would not be opened this same day, this would be only start of the process, after that and if all the requirements are completed the account application would need to go through the bank compliance department and then, if everything is in order the account is finally approved.
You could follow up said process until its completion with your banker from your country via email or phone, and if necessary, our law firm could assist in order follow up the procedure until the account is finally approved.
What if I cannot travel to Panama right now?
If you cannot travel to Panama the banks we can recommend could accept receiving the account application via email and arrange a virtual meeting.
According to current regulations, the new clients need to be involved directly with the banks when opening a corporate account to explain to the bank the business’s details, source of funds, details of transactions, and approximate balances. Therefore, the clients shall arrange and coordinate directly their banking services with the banks, our firm would be only able to assist on the side if any documentation is required from the Panama Corporation or Panama Foundation side.
How long does it take to open the account?
The time frame would depend on each bank; however, according to our experience, it usually takes two weeks to a month (if all the bank requirements are fulfilled).
Once you have completed the interview with the bank, sign the bank application forms, and provided the necessary support documents, the bank compliance departments will analyze all the information and documents provided; if everything is correct, they will authorize the opening of the account. The bank’s compliance departments might request additional information or documents if they consider it necessary; in this case, if you are no longer present in Panama, we could assist you in filing the additional documents or information to the bank if required.
Which are the usual requirements to open a Panama corporate account?
Additionally to the standard corporate documents and signing the account opening forms. The banks will ask for passport and official ID documentation, personal bank references (from your banking in any country), commercial references (example, attorney, accountant, clients). Usually, the banks would also ask for statements or documents to prove the sources of the incoming funds.
My company is new, what if the corporation does not have own references yet?
The banks understand that a new corporation usually does not have own references yet. For this reason the bank would require personal references from the client or the person that shall be appointed as account signatory, which is the key person to the bank.
Is the information provided to the bank private?
All the information and documents requested by the banks are required for the bank private records. This information is kept totally private and can’t be shared with any country or institution, unless formally requested by or through a local Panama Authority.
Does your firm provide the service of acting as account signatory?
No, according to our firm policies we do not provide the service of acting as account signatories of our clients’ corporate bank accounts. Neither the Nominee Directors appointed by our firm could act as signatories of the bank accounts. The bank account signatory shall be the client or someone appointed directly by the client.
Got a different question about banking in Panama or the account opening process?
We understand that banking is crucial when deciding to open an offshore company and selecting the law firm that would set up your company.
Do not hesitate to contact us for any further inquiries. We would be glad to assist and guide you through the process of opening a bank account in Panama.
Get in touch with us!
Advanced Tower, 1st Floor
Panama City, Panama
+507 264.5570 | 264.5931