Andorran Banks Expand to Panama and Uruguay

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Banco Credit Andorra (Panama) has recently opened offices in Panama City’s Torres de las Americas, following the granting of a Panamanian banking license in 2008. Operating under an international license, Credit Andorra joins Andbanc as the second Andorran bank in Panama’s international financial center.

According to its management, the business strategy is to focus on asset management, offering clients a broad spectrum of offshore banking and financial services as well as offshore financial advice.

Credit Andorra is the leading private bank in the Principality of Andorra, where it has a 40 percent share of the Andorran retail banking market. The bank emphasizes professional service while working closely with family businesses, as well as small and medium-sized firms.

Miquel Valls Roca, President of Credit Andorra’s Panama operation, said that Panama would be the company’s gateway to Latin American opportunities. The opening of Banco Credit Andorra Panama is part of Grup Credit Andorra’s internationalization strategy, which seeks to grow and strengthen the company’s business beyond Andorran borders. The new bank sees Latin America as its best hope for expansion, given the common language and of course the threats to banking secrecy in its Andorra home market which may be scaring off its traditional European clientele.

The bank also has a new office in Montevideo, Uruguay, having received a license on December 20, 2008, where it is also the second Andorran bank present (Banca Privada d’Andorra, the smallest of the Andorran banks, has had a presence in Uruguay for some years).

Roca noted that Panama’s location and the area’s economic development were strong reasons to open an office here. The move, according to press releases, will also let the bank work with European clients who “want to develop projects in the area.”

Faced with new international challenges and paradigms, the Banco Credit Andorra Panama President acknowledged that the bank would adapt its services to be more advisory, with simpler banking products focused on risk management and global solutions.

According to Roca, Panama’s excellent compliance with international regulatory standards, such as those designed to prevent money laundering, was another key factor. He recalled the words of Panama’s superintendent of banks, Olegario Barrelier, who noted at the bank’s opening that Panama and Andorra are both small countries that have had to reinvent themselves in order to move forward.

The bank received its license last September, and executives are not ruling out developing other types of operations here in the future.

In 2007, Grup Credit Andorra reported 13 billion euros of managed assets with 638 million euros in reserve, a net profit of 128 million euros and 460 employees.

Source by Peter Macfarlane

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