As part of a reorganization process at the regional level, the Bank of Swiss origin has decided to close its representative office in Panama City.
Arguing that its exit from the Panamanian market has no relation to the Panama Papers scandal, and required a long planning process, a bank spokesperson told Swiss Info that offices in other Latin American countries will not be affected and will continue to operate normally.
A company spokesman told Swissinfo.ch that"... the closure is due to a reorganization of offices in Latin America, which represents 'a region of significant growth for asset management and private banking'."
Assurance has been given that companies where Continental Group or its shareholders have a minority participation may continue to operate normally.
As outlined in an article on Televicentro.hn , the general coordinator of Government, Jorge Ramon Hernandez Alcerro, stated that "... 'there are over 40 companies' which have with less than 50 percent in shares of Continental Group, whose president is the banker and politician Jaime Rosenthal."
The US Treasury Department has advised that it will not sanction individuals or institutions participating in the liquidation provided that those transactions do not benefit any individual or entity other than those previously identified by the OFAC.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department of the United States has issued a statement regarding the decision of the Honduran authorities to liquidate Continental Bank, after identifying the institution and several of its executives as being involved in drug money laundering:
Following the suspension of operations in June, the Banco Universal de Panama entered into an organizational process that culminated with the sale of assets and liabilities of the company.
The invitation to participate in the expressions of interest was issued to all banking institutions with a general license in the Panamanian banking system. The finalists in this auction, as reported Prensa.com, are Canal Bank and Lafise.
It has been announced that deposits up to $9,200 (L200,000) per person will be returned, and then payments to employees, depositors and others, noting that "... there are sufficient resources to address them all."
The cause is the inclusion of the institution in the list of the U.S Office of Foreign Assets Control, and the freezing of its assets abroad.
Citigroup today announced strategic actions to accelerate the transformation of its Global Consumer Banking (GCB) to focusing on those markets where it has the largest scale and growth potential. As a result, Citigroup intends to exit its consumer businesses in 11 markets. The new consumer banking footprint will serve 57 million customers in 24 markets which capture more than 95% of the existing revenue base in GCB, while further simplifying operations and improving performance.
The Superintendency of Banks in Panama has taken over administrative and operational control of the bank due to its potential illiquidity and insolvency.
From a statement issued by the Superintendency of Banks of Panama:
Based on the provisions of Chapter XVI and Articles 131, 132 and related provisions of the Banking Act, by Resolution 097-2014 of 16 July 2014, the Superintendency of Banks of Panama has ordered the takeover of Administrative Control and Operations of ES BANK (PANAMA), SA effective from July 17, 2014 at 12:00.
The bank Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) argue that the main reason for the closure is the effects of the global economic crisis.
In October 2009 the bank had set up the office which was dedicated to providing services to importers, exporters, multinational and transnational companies as well as offering trade services, loans and foreign accounts.
In November the bank will close down its operations due to lack of clients.
The closure was announced on 25 August by El Salvador's Financial System Regulator (SSF in Spanish).
Víctor Ramírez, SSF head, indicated that the decision to close was made by the bank itself, adding that, "it is no longer in their interests to stay open since the original idea was to provide services to manufacturing companies but as this sector has suffered there is less incentive to stay".
The banking regulator has requested shareholders to begin the liquidation process of the financial institution.
The head of Nicaragua's Banking and Finance Regulator (SIBOIF), Víctor Urcuyo, has said that the decision does not impact on the bank's customers since, "the vast majority have already received their money".
The Nicaraguan Association of Micro-Finance Institutions (ASOMIF) has offered to assist in the recovery of Banex.
Alfredo Alaniz, ASOMIF's executive director, commented that in meetings held with Nicaragua's banking regulator and central bank authorities those present agreed on the need for the institution to continue its operations whether as a bank or as a finance company.
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