Determined not to lose focus on its long-term plan, Panama’s second largest bank last week opened its Costa Rican headquarters, officially entering the market as a personal and corporate bank.
On Thursday evening, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the new Banco General in Escazú, west of San José. The ceremony marked the completion of the international expansion that had been planned for more than a year, according to a bank spokeswoman.
While Banco General has representative offices in seven other Latin American countries, this is the first branch it has opened outside of Panama that offers its banking services to the public.
The bank plans to open another office on the eastern side of San José by year’s end and as many as 15 branches in the next few years.
Banco General was founded in Panama in 1955, originally building a tradition with mortgage loans. Even though it altered its operations slightly in the early 1990s, opening up to commercial investors, it still maintains the largest stake in Panama’s mortgage market – a market that was booming until recently.
And, while Panama isn’t currently recording the record growth that characterized the past few years, its economy continues to perform better than the economies of all other Central American countries.
– Daniel Shea