Panama is an international banking center. A law passed in 1998 modernized this sector and enhanced the Government's regulatory function. Banking institutions in Panama have strong ties to both Latin American and G7 countries. There are more than 120 banks in Panama City, making it a serious player in the international financial stage.
Panama's banking sector is one of the most dynamic areas of the economy. As of May 2003, Panama's 77 banks reported total deposits of $24 billion, and $33 billion in total assets, an eight percent decrease from 2002. In 2003, approximately five percent of the total credit portfolio represented loans to the public sector. Loans to the private sector in Panama reached US$11 billion, or 95 percent of total credit.
The banking legislation establishes three classes of operations. General license banks operate full service banks in Panama and compete for domestic deposits and loans (38 banks). International License or "Offshore" banks, can only accept deposits from persons or organizations located overseas (36 banks). Representative Offices can only perform representational activities (five banks). There are also two state-owned deposit-taking institutions. Foreign and Panamanian banks compete on equal terms. Banks are organized into two groups, the Panamanian Banking Association (Panamanian and Foreign Banks) and the Association of Panamanian Banks (only Panamanians banks). Banks are licensed and regulated by the Banking Supervisory Authority (Superintendencia de Bancos). Panama's banking system does not have a deposit insurance scheme.
Here is some contact information for the most important banks in Panama: