Presentation of “Integrity Handbook for the Banking Industry”

Tuesday, 04 October 2022

Panama, October 4, 2022.- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), together with the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP) and the Panama Banking Association (ABP, for its acronym in Spanish), presented the “Integrity Handbook for the Banking Industry”, tailored specifically for the banks and the financial institutions in the market, to address the risks related to the lack of transparency that these entities could face during the performance of their activities.

The purpose of the integrity handbook, prepared with the aid of Miller & Chevalier Chartered (Miller & Chevalier), a renowned law firm, is to be a practical (non-binding) guide for general and international license banks and financial institutions in Panama who seek to develop or improve
their anti-corruption compliance programs. Likewise, this handbook describes the different components of an effective compliance program, based on best international practices and universally accepted anti-corruption measures.

“With this Integrity Handbook, we aim at strengthening the institutional capacity of small, medium, and large banks in the Panamanian market, for them to adopt this handbook and thus improve governance, embrace transparency, and promote integrity in their operations to avoid unsuitable
practices,” said Amauri A. Castillo, Superintendent of Banks of Panama, during the presentation of this document.

The Superintendent recognized that the quality of institutions and transparency are essential for democratic governance, an efficient service provision, and the establishment of a business climate that encourages investment and supports the development of the private sector, so from the
Superintendency of Banks, along with IDB’s technical assistance, work has been done for the preparation of an integrity handbook for the banking industry in Panama.

Castillo added that, in the context of increasing globalization of economic and financial activity, money laundering can affect the reputation of countries, especially when they do not implement financial transparency rules, such as those issued by FATF.

“The transparency of our financial system and the adoption of international standards and regulations play a significant role in our efforts to fight money laundering,” Castillo remarked.

According to this initiative, the regulatory body, along with the IDB, has provide online training to more than three hundred (300) Compliance Officersfrom Panamanian banks, to discuss the integrity handbook and provide trainees with practical advice to apply the various components of it.

On the other hand, Rocío Medina Bolívar, IDB Group representative in Panama, commented that “the Panamanian banking sector already has a sound regulatory framework. This handbook is an example of how the regulatory body and the industry want to go further the legal mandate and raise
their own bar in terms of integrity.” The representative added that, Panama hosted Americas Business Dialogue’s (ABD) Second Meeting in 2015, therefore, what we are presenting today is the result of the goal the country set since then.

The tailoring of this handbook took about six (6) months; a multidisciplinary team, lead by IDB, was set and it was joined by specialists from different areas.

“Banks have always been a part of the drive towards a better country, and we are confident that with this handbook, a worthy example of public-private effort, will be a step towards what all Panamanians want, which is Panama to excel,” said Otto Wolfschoon.

This handbook is already available on the Superintendency of Banks of Panama’s website. To access click please visit the following URL address:

About the IBD

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social, and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance, and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

About the SBP

Promoting public trust in the banking system is one of the objectives of the Superintendency of Banks of Panama. Its institutional values are the cornerstones and shape its mission and work culture: among these values, integrity stands out, which includes the personal qualities of honesty,
probity, sincerity, and the absence of corrupt behavior.