For Panama’s banks, it has long been a familiar
refrain: the foreigners are coming. For years, international
investors have been drawn to Central America’s
most sophisticated banking sector. Vying for regional
expansion, global banks entered the market, including HSBC,
which in 2006 snapped up Panamanian lender Banistmo.
Bank of the Year, Panama: Banco General
Opportunities abound for banks in in Panama, with a fast-growing economy and regionalizing banking system
The global banks have since retreated in the face of
tightening global regulation and more stringent capital
requirements — but the foreign incursions have hardly
let up. Just as HSBC withdrew, Colombia’s two
largest lenders made moves into Panama.
Bancolombia in February paid $2.1 billion cash for
HSBC’s Panama operations, in a deal that instantly
made it the number two bank in a fast-growing market. Grupo
Already have an account?
Subscribe now for unlimited access to all current and archive news, data and market analysis.
Take a free two-week trial now for the latest news, data and market analysis.