Panama's International Banking Center continues to attract new
foreign players, with 16 banks receiving operating licenses
from the Banking Superintendency in 2004 and 2005. While this
might seem to be a good thing, boosting development of the
country's financial system, Panama's more established foreign
banks are starting to complain that the market has become too
competitive and margins are dropping.
Fight for Market Share
Panama's International Banking Center has grown, thanks to a burgeoning local economy and incentives. But some banks complain the market is too crowded.
In a market with only 3 million people, the Banking
Superintendency reported at the end of 2005 there were 78
financial institutions registered as banks, including 37 with
licenses to offer local services and another 34 with licenses
to service international clients.
"It's very hard to make money here because it's a very
competitive market," explains Terence McCoy, vice president and
general manager of Scotiabank Panama. When McCoy first arrived
in Panama nine years ago, he says...
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