Cayman National Corporation will set up a banking representation office in Panama City.
CNC’s Manager Business Development North America Kim Remizowski explained what the new office will do in a press conference last week.
‘This office will be the platform to contact existing Cayman National Latin American clients and will provide business opportunities in new markets in the region at a minimal cost,’ he said.
Mr. Remizowski said several factors besides Panama’s mature banking industry made it an easy decision for Cayman National to set up the banking representation there.
He cited the recent free trade agreement between the United States and Panama; the US$5.2 billion project to widen the Panama Canal; Panama’s international airport hub that linked to every major Latin America city.
The Panama City office will also be of help to businesses in Cayman, Mr. Remizowski said.
‘The Cayman National office in Panama will support the business community in Cayman to detect new suppliers and to facilitate trade between the two countries, through banking and financial mechanisms.’
Panama already has more than 85 banks from 35 countries, Mr. Remizowski said, adding that Panama also has a thriving offshore financial sector, which serves over 370,000 registered companies there.
In addition, Panama has taken steps to combat money laundering.
‘Panama’s new comprehensive banking law meets the standards of leading financial centres in the world,’ Mr. Remizowski said. ‘Panama maintains a firm commitment to fight against fraud and money laundering, the financing of terrorism and organised crime through its various financial authorities and governmental bodies, in close cooperation with other jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands.’
Mr. Remizowski also pointed out that the Cayman Islands had traditional trading links with Central America, as well as familial links.
‘The region had been a crucial component in the success of the Cayman Islands economy,’ he said. ‘In the days after Hurricane Ivan, one of the first aid planes arrived from Panama.’
Cayman National has moved one of its Cayman-based employees over to Panama to facilitate the opening of the new office. Carlos Guzman left for Panama with his family earlier this month.
A large contingent of CNC employees is schedule to attend the second Chamber of Commerce Cayman Panama Trade Mission from 6-10 March, during which there will be a ceremonial official opening of the new office.