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, although we understand that usually clients do not want to be involved in these cumbersome procedures, unfortunately in practice it shall be necessary for the client to be involved directly and with a constant communication with the bank in order to successfully open an account in Panama, why? Because banks are required by law to know well their new clients and because they would require many internal information about the client business that only the client could answer. That being said, a lawyer could definitely assist during the account opening procedures due to the fact it is familiar with the requirements and it surely could help with the follow up once the client complies with the personal bank interview and returns to his country.
Is it necessary to come personally to Panama to open the account?
According to new regulations all bankers in Panama are required to know very well their clients, for this reason it would be required for the client (the bank account signatory) to come personally to Panama for a brief interview with the bank and to sign the bank application forms.
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.
I cannot travel to Panama right now for opening the bank account; can your firm or the nominee Directors represent us in order to open the account by means of a Power of Attorney?
No, according to our laws banks in Panama are required to know personally their new clients, therefore it would not be possible. We also clarify that our firm provides only bank referrals, we do not provide bank account opening services neither we involve directly with our clients bank account opening procedures, the clients shall arrange and coordinate directly their banking services with the banks, our firm would be only able to assist if any documentation is required from the Panama Corporation or Panama Foundation side. If you cannot travel to Panama for these purposes we would suggest trying opening the bank account in a third jurisdiction with more flexible requirements or in which a personal bank interview is not mandatory.
How long does it take to open the account?
This 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 provide to the bank the necessary support documents, the bank compliance departments would analyze all the information and documents provided, at this moment if everything is correct then they would authorize the opening of the account. The banks 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 filing the additional documents or information to the bank.
Which are the usual requirements to open a Panama corporate account?
In addition to the standard corporate documents, signing the bank account opening forms by the client and the company Directors, the client would usually need; 2 personal bank references (could be from any country), 2 commercial references (example; attorney, accountant, clients), completing bank forms regarding the account activities, approximate balances, personal information etc. Usually the banks would ask also for financial statements or documents to prove the sources of the incoming funds.
My Panama 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.
Have a different question regarding banking in Panama or the Panama bank account opening process?
We understand that banking is a crucial part when deciding opening an offshore company and selecting the law firm that would set up your company. Do not hesitate to contact us for any further enquiries. We would be glad to assist and guide you through the process of opening a bank account in Panama.