Best Bank − Panama: Banco General

Best Bank − Panama: Banco General

Panama

“It will be a tougher market going ahead, and costs are going to go up,” says Raul Alemán, General’s executive vice  president and general manager. Like most banks in the region, Panama’s did not suffer subprime losses, but they are exposed to the ensuing economic slump.  Alemán says the biggest negative impact has been on institutional lending, although that only accounts for 12% of General’s business.Profitability is rising, with ROA and ROE at 3.25% and 30.45% as of mid-year, according to the banking regulator. This compares to 2.4% and 19.3%, respectively, at the end of 2007. To fend off competition from powerful immigrants like HSBC a

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