Personal vs Corporate Offshore Bank Accounts
A corporate offshore bank account provides a much higher degree of privacy. A personal bank account in Panama may seem secure because it is protected by banking secrecy laws but in fact it has one giant weakness:
Offshore Personal Bank Account: Wires coming in and going out of the bank account will have your name listed as the sender or receiver, utterly defeating the purpose of an offshore bank account for most of our clients. The wire system records are easily accessible by anyone with a modest interest in your affairs. A corporate bank account is a much better option, because incoming and outgoing wires will be in the name of an anonymous bearer share corporation.
Why Hire a Law Firm to Set Up An Offshore Bank Account?
There are several sources of offshore bank accounts on the internet today but not all of them are created equal. Choosing a law firm is critical when setting up a secure asset protection strategy. Attorney - client privilege is your first line of defence. Why give up that layer of security?
What Do I Get With An Offshore Bank Account?
Your offshore bank account will have online banking with the ability to send and receive wires, and a visa debit card.
Important: The visa debit card does not have your name on it. It has only the name of the the corporation on it. This is very important for your privacy. Our competitors falsely advertise privacy and then give you a visa debit card with both the corporation and your name on it utterly destroying your privacy. Your name goes into the global visa database which is easily accessible by anyone with very little effort. In fact, every time you buy something online, this database is accessed to verify that the name and address you entered are in fact correct for your visa card.
Multi-National vs National Panama Banks For Offshore Banking
We offer our clients a choice between a multi-national bank in 80 countries with 22 billion in assets and a bank here in Panama with about 700 million in assets. There are pros and cons to both options.
The multi-national bank has a presence in "onshore" countries which means with enough pressure it is possible (but unlikely) they would divulge your personal banking information. This has happened in a few rare circumstances in some jurisdictions (but NOT in Panama). In Panama the multi-national bank, even though it bears the same name as the other locations abroad, is a totally and legally separate bank under Panama law. In Panama, anyone who violates bank secrecy faces jail time. Bank secrecy laws are strongly enforced in Panama.
National Bank in Panama Only
The other option is a large well respected national bank here in Panama. Many of our customers choose this bank because it is very large, yet has no presence outside Panama. Entities outside of Panama are unable to pressure this bank because it doesn't have an onshore presence. To understand how large this bank is, please see the picture below:
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National Bank Tower: Panama Icon
This huge banking tower is a Panama City icon and can be seen from anywhere in the city.
One of Panama's Biggest Banks
Citibank here, just rents space in the National bank tower. This gives you an idea of how big the national bank is here in Panama.
The national bank has fantastic customer service in both English and Spanish. When you enter the bank, there is a wall of desks on the right with personal banking representatives waiting for you to talk with them. There is a large grand piano surrounded by couches, more reminiscent of a chapters bookstore than a bank. A very inviting atmosphere for banking indeed. They treat you like you have a million dollars in the bank even if you don't. They also have tellers like normal North American and European banks for those who prefer that type of service.
Panama Banks have Conservative Lending Practices
Banks in Panama are very conservative when it comes to lending. For instance, to get a mortgage, you need to put down 25% of the total purchase price if you are resident and 30% if you are not a resident.
What Are The Ongoing Fees to Maintain an Offshore Bank Account?
The bank account itself does not have yearly fees associated with keeping the account in good standing. The only ongoing yearly fees are to maintain the corporation or foundation that owns the bank account.
We charge $695 per year to to renew your Panama corporation ($300 to the government of Panama, $300 to the nominee directors and a $95 resident agent fee. Most of the service charge is eaten up in administration to do the renewal leaving a very modest profit.)
What Features Does An Offshore Bank Account Have?
Banking offshore is not unlike onshore banking. With a user id and password you can logon to your bank's website. In addition to online banking users will receive a debit card and cheques.
What You Can Do With Your Bank Account As An Online User
You are able to see your balances, transfer money between accounts, receive and send international bank wire transfers. Use your visa debit card to withdraw money from bank machines all around the world.
Since we deal with the largest and most well known banks in Panama the visa debit card is NOT one of those cards with a load fee you get from our competitors. Instead you will be getting the same visa debit card as the all the other thousands of clients.
What You Can Not Do With Your Bank Account As An Online User
You can't pay bills outside of Panama. This popular banking feature in most major North American banks is not available to offshore banking customers.