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Financial Services. Investment in Panama

The Panamanian financial activity has consolidated its regional leadership in the International Banking Center. The latter grows each year with a dynamic participation of the public and private sectors, represented by the Banks’ Superintendence and the Panama’s Banking Association, respectively. Panama’sBanking Superintendence has as its objective to elevate the competitiveness of the International Banking Center, thus contributing significantly to the economy of the country and guaranteeing the stability of its economic and monetary system. Panama’s Banking Association, acts as a private, apolitical and non-profit organism, that groups within its organization the public and private banking entities, which develop activities in panama and at an international scale.

The largest part of the financial activity is constituted by the Panamanian consumption banking (83% of the sector), which presents great opportunities for growing in the consumption services banking, corporate banking, private banking, insurance and values. According to data from the Contraloría General de la República, the Foreign Direct Investment [IED] accrued to year 2007 reports that the investments made in banks with general and international license accumulate 20.4% of the IED in Panama.

The consumption and corporate banking offers large number of banking services such as checks, savings instruments, products for the Pymes [Small and medium size companies], that contribute to the growth of the GNP per capita. The corporate banking offers transactional banking, corporate loans and financing to the commerce in general. The private banking, in general, bases its solidity in the confidentiality and on the political and monetary stability. The insurance services report a high demand, and the stock exchange (bonds and stocks) evolve positively. In general terms, the Panamanian banking offers an ample variety of first-world financial products under very competitive and superior conditions to various countries of the region.

The Panamanian banking systems has US$ 64,548 millions in assets as of 2009 that represent an increment of 1.6% in relation to the similar period last year. The assets on a consolidated basis are in the order of US$ 77,142 millions resulting in a growth of 1.2% as compared to the similar period of the previous year. The average level of the liquidity is found to be 69.50% (the minimum required is 30% according to the legal provision). The basic basket of liquid assets is made up of highly liquid and secure diversified instruments.

The internal credit to the Private Sector record a balance of US$ 21,447 millions, presenting an increment of 1.3% as compared to December of 2008. The loans disbursed during 2009 in the most important sectors totalized US$ 13,846 millions, the segments with the largest growth are: construction (19.2%), mortgage (11.1%) and personal consumption (2.0%).