Latin America Advisor

Financial Services Advisor

A Daily Publication of The Dialogue

What Are the Risks and Opportunities for Panama’s Banks?

Panama’s banking sector is showing growth this year despite a difficult backdrop, the country’s banking superintendent said last month. Panama City is pictured. // File Photo: Panamanian Government.

Panama’s banking sector is showing growth this year despite tough external conditions and lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s banking superintendent, Amauri Castillo, said last month. Banks in the Central American country are showing better financial results and improved profitability as compared to banks in other parts of Latin America, he said. What factors are fueling Panama’s banking sector? How much growth is Panama’s banking sector expected to see the rest of this year and next year? How stringently are Panamanian officials and banks working to fight financial crimes such as money laundering, problems that have put the nation on watch lists in the past?

Dulcidio de la Guardia, director and chief financial officer of Morgan & Morgan in Panama City and former Panamanian finance minister: “This year, Panama’s economy is expected to surpass the pre-pandemic nominal GNP of 2019. In 2021, GNP grew 15 percent after falling 18 percent in 2020. ECLAC expects Panama to grow 6.3 percent in 2022, leading Latin America’s economic growth. The country’s banking sector is recovering from the effects of the Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. In July, profitability of the national banking system improved 44 percent as compared to 2021. The increase in profitability is the result of a 20 percent increase in net interest and commission income, and a 27 percent reduction in loan-loss provisions. Liquidity and capital adequacy of Panama’s banks remain strong and twice regulatory requirements. Credit growth (4.5 percent in July 2022 as compared to July 2021) has been sluggish, trailing the economic recovery by a wide margin. However, most sectors of the economy show positive credit growth, except for…”

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About the Financial Services Advisor

Covering Latin America’s banking and insurance sectors, remittances trends and data, micro lending issues, new technologies in the industry, anti-money laundering regulations, and much more, the Inter-American Dialogue’s biweekly Financial Services Advisor, a sister publication of the Latin America Advisor, gives readers fresh insight and diverse viewpoints from financial sector leaders. To subscribe or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at ebrand@thedialogue.org.


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Staff

Erik Brand

Publisher
P. 202-463-2932
E. ebrand@thedialogue.org

Gene Kuleta

Editor
P. 202.463.2920
E. gkuleta@thedialogue.org

Megan Cook

Reporter
E. mcook@thedialogue.org

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