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Changing banks in Panamá

Hello all

I thought I found a good bank which is the Credicorp bank but that was a very wrong thought.
It's reliable yes and they won't steal yr money but the service is terrible and since I am having a house built and the money transfers come in euros one wants to receive ones money transfer within at the most 10 days!
Anyway the last transfer got lost and it took 3 weeks to find out where it got stuck. My bank in Europe did everything to recover it.
At the Credicorp bank they shrugged and said "we received it and sent it back because we don't receive euros anymore".
So my question was of course " why don't you inform yr clients about this new rule? "
They said they didn't know. .
Anyway now considering the Banco General or Scotia Bank.
I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!

Banco General seems to be well spoken of, and seems to be used by a lot of companies. I have an account at Scotia Bank and have been happy, but I'm not trying to do business or exchange euros so I don't know how they would work out for you.

I've been making international wire transfers to accounts at Banco General and *so far* the funds have been received within days (hopefully it's going to continue this way).

That said, I've always made them in USD. Usually the sending bank allows to chose the currency in which the money should be transferred into.

Thank you Kristc and Adriano. What bothered me most was the abcense of information. I could have changed my euros first and then transfer in US dollars. No problem at all. But I think they could and should have informed their clients about the change of rules. And they never did. And on top of that telling me they didn't know where the money was..that's not what you expect from a Bank

When it comes to bank here you'll have to lower your expectations. The online services for most of them are way below what one comes to expect these days from a bank, and they charge fees even for debit cards.

once you make friends everything will be ok

I use and like Global Bank. Very easy to work with and reliable.

Banco General...great service and providing you keep $300 balance in your checking account no service fees. Their on line banking is only in Spanish but their customer service reps speak English and showed me how to use it and pay bills, etc.

Very happy with their service...and friendly staff!

Thank you all for your advice !
I changed to the Banco General now. Service is much better and they even explain things :-))
Going to make a transfer from Europe today and I'll see hat happens and how long that takes, but at least I have a better feeling about this bank.

We are happy clients of Banco General.

I have dealt with all 3 of these banks and they all have their pros and cons. I believe what was said about Credicorp is true -- lousy service. On the other hand, I think it may be easier to get a credit card through them. BUT trying to get rid of the card involves a long painful process. You have to go to the main branch in town and wait up to an hour, and then they make you fill out a paper and you still have to wait some more and come back, as the fees add up.
If you are near retirement age and want a credit card from these banks, you are subjected to a process called "pignoración," meaning you have to have your purchases covered by a deposit in your account amounting to the amount charged to your card, so it is not credit at all. You just have to pay the bank to move your money. You also do not get a mortgage after a certain age, lower than retirement age.
Unlike American banks, they are not out to lose  money. In the US, banks know they will be bailed out or in, so no one cares. I personally like a country that lends responsibly because it is not likely to go bankrupt. Now, the US?... Hmmm.
Scotiabank took over Citicorp in the country. It seems to have good service, so far.
ALL banks have one major drawback: If you are a US citizen or have had a green card at any time in your life, you will have to sign a FATCA agreement to open an account. This entitles the US government to confiscate any amount of your savings if it even THINKS you owe back taxes. It does not contact you, it simply swoops down and takes your cash.
It can thereby close out your account as you sleep.
An officer of the now-closed Citibank once told me that a Venezuelan client of hers had opened an account with them, and had had $8000 of his money taken by the US government. It seems he had once had a green card. This is, by the way, the other side of the immigration story. You always believed that the US is allowing people to enter the country out of compassion. But once these people get a green card, they are captives for life to their "benevolent" host.
There's still no free lunch.

I had an account at Credicorp for a long time. The service was horrible. I recently closed the Credicorp account and I now have an account with Banvivienda and I love them. My Banvivienda branch account is in Concepcion and the manager speaks perfect English.

And by the way, I have renounced my US citizenship. I gave a copy of my CLN to the manager at Banvivienda; no problem. I had previously inquired about an account at Scotia Bank, advising them that I am no longer a US citizen.  Their reply was since I was born in the US, they would still consider me a US citizen. So "up yours" to Scotia Bank.

In my opinion, Banco Nacional (the national bank in Panama) is the absolute worst.

Thanks! It is possible that Banco Nacional was just obeying US law to the letter, but if Banvivienda is ignoring this invasive and tyrannical FATCA law, then they are definitely a better bank for us ex-pats. BTW, I understand it costs a few thousand to renounce US citizenship, and that if you have any back debts to the IRS, you still have to pay. Right? Not sure. However, I have heard that if you are receiving SS payments, you will continue to receive them even after renouncing your citizenship. Would you be able to enlighten us?

I forgot to mention that there is a Bank of China in El Dorado, just a small bldg on the main drag. By now you have heard the speculation about the USD losing a lot of value and people are buying gold as a result. I have often thought that the RMB may be more stable than the USD in the long run since China has a real economy that makes and sells things -- mostly to the West -- while the US manufactures mostly debt that it has no intention of ever paying back. It might be interesting to swap a few dollars for yuan and see what happens. Not a recommendation but if you're adventuresome, it's a thought. (I don't know if the staff of the BOC branch speaks English or Spanish, though. Last time I was there I saw only Chinese customers transacting in CN).

Banvivienda is not ignoring the "US demands." As I said, I am no longer a US citizen. For US citizens, they would "obey the letter of the law" of Big Brother and the US that wants to control the world.

Banco Nacional just has horrible service, period. What else would one expect from a government entity, just about anywhere? My comment about FATCA, etc., had nothing to do with Banco Nacional. I closed my account there years ago, before FATCA was even thought of.  I do go there occasionally because they accept certain payments--property tax, etc. The clerks never have a smile, act like they are doing you a favor by accepting your money, take forever to complete a simple transaction, etc. I always give the clerks a big smile and a "GRACIAS!" just to screw with their heads because they are so unfriendly. Any response to my "gracias" is either none or grumble, grumble...something.

I receive my SS payments. Those payments are "earned," not an "entitlement." I had no back debts to the US gestapo.

I believe it now costs $2,450 to renounce citizenship, and assuredly the cost will increase. I renounced mine when the cost was $450. Prior to that it was free, which it should still be.  Although the law doesn't require one to have a citizenship elsewhere, almost if not all US consuls will ignore the law and insist that you have another citizenship before "allowing" you to renounce. (Without another citizenship, you would be "stateless.")

There is plenty of information on the internet about renouncing US citizenship, emigrating to another country, etc. Do your own research.  I will not take the time to give you all the answers that you can readily find out for yourself.

Hi, not sure if you are still looking for answers but why don't you have you European bank send the funds in US dollars not Euro's.

I always find sending Canadian dollars, UK pounds and Euro's (yes I have sent from each of those locations as I have homes in Panama, Spain and Canada and did have a home in UK)
I always have them convert there and not here in Panama.

I have Banistmo and while not wildly happy with them I always get my money arriving and sent fairly quick.
I have a Scotia bank and don't use much as they are not widespread and I live outside Panama City.

Thank you. And yes,you are right. I switched to Banco General now. Better service and they said the same thing : do the transfer in US$. It's quicker and seems to be cheaper too, although I haven't noticed that part yet ☺

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