Andorra Banks expands into Panama and Uruguay

Andorra Banks expands into Panama and Uruguay

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

According to its management, the business strategy is to focus on asset management, offering clients a wide range 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 retail banking market in Andorra. The bank emphasizes professional service, working closely with family businesses as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

Mikel Valls Roca, president of Credit Andorra’s operations in Panama, said Panama will 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 Andorra’s borders. The new bank sees Latin America as its best hope for expansion, given the common language and of course threats to banking secrecy in its home market of Andorra that may scare off its traditional European clientele.

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

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

Faced with new international challenges and paradigms, the president of Banco Credit Andorra Panama admitted that the bank will adapt its services to be more consultative, 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, is another key factor. He recalled the words of the director of banks in Panama, Olegario Barelier, who remarked at the opening of the bank that Panama and Andorra are small countries that need to reinvent themselves in order to move forward.

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

In 2007, Grup Credit Andorra reported €13 billion in assets under management with €638 million in reserves, a net profit of €128 million and 460 employees.

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