The Business Year


PANAMA - Finance

Victor Viggiano Guardia

Executive Officer, Bi Bank


Victor Viggiano Guardia is a member of the senior management team and credit committee and holds vast experience developing effective teams and a strong background in credit risk management, credit analysis, credit products, and client relationship management. He has been part of large banking institutions such as BankBoston, Grupo Banistmo, Towerbank, and Metrobank. He is currently part of the BI Corporation of Guatemala leading Bi Bank in Panama. He graduated from Clark University in the US with a bachelor of arts in economics and holds a master’s degree in economics and finance from INCAE.

"We are well positioned in the region, with a presence in El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala."
TBY talks to Victor Viggiano Guardia, Executive Officer of Bi Bank, about Panama’s role as a financial hub, being the preferred bank for corporates, and corporate social engagement.
What main advantages can Panama offer as a potential financial hub?

Panama offers many opportunities. About three decades ago, it was an international financial center. Given the changes in regulations of different countries, additional capital adequacy requirements, and Panama’s unfavorable reputation during this period, its financial system became more regional as multinational banks left. Those spaces are currently filled mostly by Colombian banks, such as Grupo Aval and Grupo Banistmo, as well as Central American and Caribbean banks. As of today, I would categorize Panama as a regional financial center with the potential to once again become more relevant as an international financial hub. What main advantages can Panama offer? First, the DE Facto currency is the US dollar without having a monetary policy or a central bank. This makes Panama the only country aside from the US where the dollar can hold its value. This makes Panama a good regional destination for investors looking for capital preservation. Second, Panama has an investment grade rating from all the three major rating agencies, which enhances its investment profile and makes it more attractive for capital inflows and lower cost of financing. Third, we have free flow of incoming and outgoing capital with no restrictions or taxes. That is a major advantage compared to other countries. Fourth, Panama has a platform of complementary services such as legal, insurance and fiduciary services.

What advantages does Bi Bank have as part of the BiCapital Corporation?

Our main focus are investors from the Central American and Caribbean region. Bi Bank is part of the BiCapital Corporation an established Financial Group with more than 55 year of operations. It is well positioned in the region, with a presence in El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Guatemala. We have a deep infrastructure for raising funds in Guatemala, with more than 800 agencies alone. That gives us a vast network for raising funds. In that context, Panama, within the countries of the group, is the only one with an investment grade. It is the only one that uses the US dollar and all the aforementioned benefits. The combination of being within a corporation with a strong footprint in the region, deep channels for originating deposits and solid Financials, combined with all the benefits of Panama, offer a great advantage for regional investors.

What sets Bi Bank apart as a preferred bank for corporates?

Every bank has its strategies and reach. We focus on being the preferred bank for regional and local corporates. We can lever our holding company balance sheet of over $25BN to fully underwrite and structure relevant financial transactions. For example, in Guatemala, Banco Industrial, the biggest bank of the group, has fully underwritten transactions with tickets of more than USD200 million and has the capacity to underwrite up to for USD500 million. Not many institutions in Central America can do that, which is a major advantage. In Panama, Bi Bank can underwrite USD27 million, which is also a substantial size for its economy. Our execution capacity also differentiates Bi Bank. We have an experienced team that is knowledgeable of the market with the capacity to execute and deliver tailored-made financial solutions.

How does Bi Bank demonstrate its commitment to social support and loyalty to the country?

We have financed more than USD100 million in clean energy, sponsored blue oceans awareness and supported local art talent and institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art.



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