Don’t believe everything you read on the internet or hear on the radio or TV. Some unscrupulous companies are reporting that you can no longer wire money from the United States in to or out of banks in Panama. This is simply not true! I know you can send and receive wire transfers because my tour clients who have moved to Panama and I wire money every month with no problems. Our wires are at a variety of different banks. And none of us have every had a problem.
Wires sent before noon usually arrive the same day. Wires sent after noon usually arrive within 24 hours. You can do most wire transfers using online banking.
Many expats have their Social Security checks or pensions automatically wired directly in to their Panama bank account. The money shows up like clockwork.
So, why would unscrupulous companies lie about such an important topic?
Some are just repeating what they have read on the internet and think that it is true because they saw it online. It is stupid to report something you have not even verified as being true or false.
The real reason for the false reports, according to my attorney in Panama, is that other companies (and countries) are hoping to create fear so they can steal business from Panama banks and law firms after the Panama Papers scandal broke. The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca based in Panama but with office in more than 40 countries. They set up offshore entities all over the world. Learn more about the Panama Papers HERE.
Many reports about the Panama Papers makes it sound like all the people were criminals who use offshore entities. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is perfectly legal to own an offshore entity. And many countries where these entities are set up allow you to use nominees to hide your ownership of the entity so your name does not appear on public records. This is primarily used for asset protection and estate planning purposes much like putting title to real estate in a Trust or Foundation instead of your own name. It’s legal!
The illegal part comes in if your country requires you to report any offshore entities you control or have a signature of… but you fail to do so. That’s a big no-no which comes with big penalties.
Rest assured that you can still wire money from most banks in the United States in to most banks in Panama. And you can wire money from most banks in Panama to most banks in the United States. You can also get access to cash at ATM machines which are throughout the country.
The only bank, that I’m aware of, in Panama that cannot receive or transfer wires, or accept deposits or withdrawals, is Balboa Bank which the Superintendency of Banks of Panama ordered the seizure of administrative and operating control of Balboa Bank & Trust, Corp. effective at two thirty post meridiem (2:30 p.m.) on Thursday, May 5, 2016 based on Article 131 of the Banking Law and by means of Resolution SBP-0087-2016. The Balboa Bank website states “The Superintendency of Banks of Panama wishes to make it clear to all Balboa Bank & Trust, Corp. customers and the general public that these measures are adopted to protect the best interests of the Bank’s depositors” Once the problems are resolved at Balboa Bank, customers will be able to withdraw their money.
In Panama or the Unites States, just like any country, it is a good idea NOT to have all your money in just one bank. Diversify. Have some money in 2 or 3 different banks. Perhaps even have money in banks in two different countries. Then if there is a problem with one bank, or one country, you still have access to cash and wire transfers through a different bank.