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
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 Aval,...
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