David Banks

I am always receiving questions related to the banks in Panama and what is required to open an account. Today, I took a short drive around David and took photos of some of the banks that are available.

I asked a couple of the banks for information on their requirements, just to verify that each have their own requirements. You will need to ask for specifics at whatever bank you decide to use.

Opening an account is generally the same for all banks, but there may be exceptions. Below are the instructions for Scotiabank that will give you an idea.

As previously shown the banks offer both checking and savings accounts. Typically the checking accounts will require a minimum monthly balance of from $300 to $500. For example Scotiabank was $300 and Banco General was $500. If you go below that minimum in a month, you will be assessed a fee. Scotiabank’s fee was $10.

There will be some charge for checks.

Savings accounts requires a lesser balance than the checking accounts. Many have a minimum balance of from $25 to $3000 depending on the type of savings account you open. Savings accounts will also assess a fee if you go below the minimum balance during the month.

If you get a credit card through all of the banks I know of, you will have an annual fee of around $50.

Following are photos of several of the banks in David. This is not all of them. If you were to look at the landscape of banks in 2003 and now, many would be gone and many new ones would be here.

HSBC – This bank bought out Banistmo and many of the locations shown below were originally Banistmo. I didn’t take a photo of the largest HSBC bank that is across from the post office.

This is the HSBC in Plaza El Terronal.

This photo is of the bank next to Romero’s in Dolegita, across from Rodelag.

Scotiabank – This is a Canadian bank that is behind Super Baru on the InterAmerican Highway and across the street from TGI Fridays.

Banco General – This one used to be Banco Continental and was acquired by Banco General. It is located on the street that goes by IDAAN (water office), Cable and Wireless and the Electric company.

This is the main Banco General. It has a large parking lot. The parking lot is on the opposite side of the street form IDAAN.

CITI Bank – This bank is on the same side of the street as IDAAN and on the next corner. I did talk to them and ask if it was easier to open an account if you had on in the US. The answer was maybe. They will let you use the phone to call your bank in the US and then the bank in the US will send a letter to this bank.

Banco Universal – This bank is diagonal to the main Banco General bank above. It is also across the street from my favorite watch shop I use to get batteries changed.

BANESCO – This is a new bank that I haven’t seen before. Farther down on the IDAAN street.

MULTIBANK – This is across the street from the Electric company and Cable and Wireless.

British American – This is in the same building as Multibank.

Global Bank – This is a block before Hotel Castilla.

BBVA – A block before Parque Cervantes.

BICSA – This is at the stoplight on Calle Rapida behind UDI university. It is a bank from Costa Rica.

As I said before, this is not a complete list. It is intended to provide an idea of some of the banking options in David. I realize the directions are not great and there is no contact information, but many of the banks will have websites and I assume them may have the physical addresses.

Banks in Panama are not insured. Probably for that reason, many Panamanians keep money in a couple of the banks and some in a shoe box. You will not get a free toaster for opening an account in any of these banks, but you will get a boot in the butt if you go below the minimum balance.

Happy Banking!

10 thoughts on “David Banks

  1. You might also mention, Don, that if you have a credit card with a Panamanian bank, they will put a hold on your account amounting to the limit of the card, i.e., if you have a card with a $3000 limit, they require that you keep a $3000 balance in your bank account to cover any charges that you may not pay.

  2. Hi Bonnie. Thanks for the comment. I really didn’t know that because the only card I ever had was a debit card and it didn’t have that limitation.

  3. Don, thank you so much for your blog. Can anyone explain the practical advantage to opening a bank account at Scotiabank in Panama if I already have one in Canada. Would I not have access to all their services already ?

  4. Hi Dave. I will be surprised if there is an advantage, unless it makes opening the account a little easier. If you open an account in David, you will have access to local money and not be paying ATM charges.

    I do not believe you will have access to your account in Canada with no charge.

  5. Stopped in at my local Scotiabank in Canada and was advised that there is no additional charge for using debit card out of country.

  6. Hi Dave. The charges I was getting was from Master Card and Clave. Neither of these have anything to do with the banks. I think these charges will be hard to avoid. I would think that Clave would be required to get money from Canada at a Panama bank.

  7. Hi Don, I am trying to transfer money from Canada to my brother (who is in David, Panama), so accidentally find your blog. it is safe to send money to Panama from a Canadian Bank to Panamanian Bank?, I actually was thinking to send him a bank draft to him, so he can deposit in the bank in panama. …….Please let me know your thoughts or your experience in this.
    thank you

  8. I and many others have made transfers from US accounts to Panama accounts with no problem. The bank in Panama can provide all transfer information and your brother would have to provide you his account number. There will be a fee at both the US and Panama side for the transfer.

  9. Thanks for the great post… There is so much to know about Central American banking that you could not keep up with it… but this is a great start. A word of caution about Global Bank. I connected with them because of a friend of a friend and everything was OK until I tried to transfer $200,000.00 out of Global.
    Not bad enough that they changed my banking info and “lost” the money… they would not help me locate the money or communicate about the lost funds… They blamed me for their error… They never accepted responsibility or apologized for their error…And, when I was there last, the manager berated me in the lobby in front of the staff and clients for not being happy about their incompetence and lack of communication.

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