Opening Bank Accounts in Panama

May 23, 2006

Banks in Panama are very stable, and Panama has the second largest banking center in the World, second only to Switzerland.  There are over 100 International Banks in Panama, and most of them provide a wide variety of service ranging from online banking to time deposits, and credit card and debit card services.

Opening a bank account in Panama is slightly different that opening a bank account in the United States.  This is so for several reasons, primarily, because of the Patriot Act, there is a strong push for locals banks and fiduciary companies to "Know their Clients".  As a result back round checks as well as the following documentation is necessary to open a bank account in Panama. 

1.  Filled out  Bank Account Application form:

This form varies from bank to bank and is provided by the respective banking institution.

2.  A Photocopy of  the passport for each signatory on the bank account. 

The photocopy of passport should be Notarized, and must include the photo of the person, as well as the personal details  including passport number, signature, and the most recent entry/exit stamps (if any). The photocopy should be clear and legible.

3. Two Letters of Reference from your local Banking or Financial Institution:   

The letters of reference can be from any banks, brokerage firms, or credit unions and should be drafted  on the bank or financial institution´s letterhead, and should include the signature of a banking official, and the contact information (address, telephone, fax, ect. of the bank or financial institution.). There is no specific format in which the reference letter must be written.  

An example of such letter would be as follows: 

Your  Bank or Financial Institution 
123 Bank Ave, Miami FL 333134
Tel: 555-555-5555
Fax: 555-555-5556

Date: November 08, 2005 

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to confirm that  Mr. John Doe is currently a client of our banking institution, and has maintained a satisfactory banking relationship with our bank since December 2000.

Mr. Doe currently has a balance in a personal savings account in a 5 figure amount.

This reference is issued for the interested party, and does not impose any responsibility to the bank.

(Signature of banking official) 

Jorge Arbusto 
Tel: 555-555-5555
Fax: 555-555-5556