Bank Financing in Panama

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

This week, an interesting article came out in the newspaper about how banks are tightening up procedures to avoid money laundrying. This is a tendency everywhere, Panama is no exception.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to remind everyone about the basics of how to apply for financing in Panama. If you are travelling and thinking seriously to buy, it is worth while bringing these documents with you, so you can make the best out of your trip. It will serve you well with banks, lawyers and realtors, as they all have the duty by law to fullfill a strong due diligence.

Tips:

  • Every bank will require a personal interview. Try visiting at least 3, so you have a broad understanding of what is being offered.
  • At this stage, if you are only gathering information, a simple copy of your documents would be fine, for just assestment. Once you start really the process, keep in mind that everything is required in original, notarized AND apostilled.

Basic documents:

  • 2 Bank letters of reference
  • 2 Commercial letters of reference
  • 2 Years of tax returns
  • Your last 6 months of your bank account (Statement)
  • If you are American, they´ll ask the 2 last 1040 and W2.

Of course, they´ll take a copy of your passport.

As a foreigner, you can get up to 70% financing on your home or apartment, and up to 50% if it is a commercial purchase. If you are already living in Panama, and have been here for more than 2 years, you´ll probably have access to more.

Depending on the bank, they might be faster or slower to open a bank account for you. Do ask the officer you are meeting about this specifically, what is required, and how long would it take.

Law 136 of 2014 for Casco Viejo provides a special 3% rate for purchases in Casco, so if you have a strong profile and are considering buying here, do know this is an option for you.

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