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Banking Law
Panama's International Banking Center, the most modern and successful in Latin America, offers investors more than 100 banks in over 32 countries around the world. Banking has always played an important role in Panama. Banks in Asia, Europe and the Americas, to carry out its operations to and from Panama, not only as a result of the favorable environment established by the Banking Act, but also due to a number of comparative advantages to facilitate banking activity.

The Banking Act contains provisions aimed at ensuring banking secrecy, which prohibit banks to disclose details of their clients operations at the national and foreign authorities, except in special circumstances. This secrecy is the main determinant of Panama obvious success as the most important financial center in Latin America. Other factors have also played a part, including the absence of currency restrictions, free movement of the U.S. dollar as legal tender, the free flow of international capital, a territorial tax system and the lack of a central bank in charge of issuing currency.

Panama's economic stability is largely due to the fact that the economy is tied directly to the U.S. dollar. The currency of Panama is the Balboa (B /.) Who has an exchange rate of U.S. $ 1.00 B/.1.00 = (fixed exchange since 1903).

The main legislation in the banking sector is the Banking Act (1998), contained in our resource section - The Law on Banks (*. pdf). Other legislation is Act 41 of 2001, which introduces a series of anti-money laundering measures.

Under the Banking Act, a bank with a General License must have a minimum of U.S. $ 10 million in the capital and the banking regulator (the Superintendency of Banks), whose office is independent of central government, has broad powers of review and investigation. However, the Superintendent of the authority at any time is subject to strict compliance with the country's businesses confidentiality rules. Heavy criminal and civil sanctions can be imposed on bankers as well as the Superintendent (or your employees) for the unlawful disclosure. However, despite the confidentiality is enshrined in the banking law, a prima facie case is proving illicit funds will not protect criminals from exposure (Act 41 of 2001).

In addition to the increased investigative powers to the Superintendent, the new banking law has reinforced the general controls and regulations and exercised oversight of the country more in line with the regulations are in the European Union and banking centers of America. The legislation introduced using the guidelines of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and requires that all banks have a General License (Unlimited domestic or international commercial banking activity) to maintain at all times the capital that is equivalent to at least 8% of total assets, weighted in proportion to their respective risks.

Banks in Panama may have a General License, an international license, or simply a representative office license.

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