Panama ranks alongside London, Hong Kong, Geneva and Singapore as a global leader for wealth management and private banking. A stable economy, a business-friendly regulatory landscape and a high concentration of expertise in asset management have made the Central American nation an attractive prospect for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and major corporations.

For banks too, Panama is a land of opportunity. Increasingly, clients come from far beyond the traditional heartlands of Europe and the Americas, with many Asian mass affluent and HNWIs now turning to Panamanian banks for investment and portfolio management services.

In this expanding market, competition can be fierce—and banks like MMG Bank face the challenge of capturing and defending their market share. Founded in 1996 by partners at one of Panama’s leading legal and financial service providers, the bank is always looking for innovative ways to grow its customer base and assets under management (AUM).

Providing market-leading services

To help win new clients, MMG Bank aimed to launch services that would empower HNWIs and businesses to protect their assets and reach their financial goals. To support a sophisticated portfolio of new private banking products, the bank looked for a flexible, scalable core banking platform that could manage high transaction volumes.

Maria Elena Hernán, Technology Vice-President at MMG Bank, explains: “As a business, we want to build a reputation as a market leader for private and investment banking, with the largest portfolio of AUM among Panamanian banks. To grow our market share, we knew launching innovative products wasn’t enough—we also had to bring them to market before our competitors.”

Deploying best-in-class technology

MMG Bank chose Temenos Transact as the foundation for its new offering. Since the initial implementation, the bank has continued to add new modules to the Temenos platform—increasing the value it delivers for its clients.

”During the selection process, we looked for a core banking solution that would scale seamlessly as we added more clients, and a technology partner that could bring an expert voice to the table and offer long-term support. When we found Temenos, it didn’t take long to realise they offered the ideal combination of deep industry knowledge and experience, and best-of-breed technology.”

Maria Elena Hernán,Technology Vice-President

Developing a rich product portfolio

With the Temenos solution, MMG Bank has continued to expand its product portfolio, helping it to deliver high-quality private banking and asset management services. In recent years, the bank has expanded its investment and wealth management division, launching new offerings such as discretionary portfolio management, fixed income funds and advisory services.

“The Temenos solution makes it very easy for us to innovate and bring next-generation services to market quickly,” adds Maria Elena Hernán. “Whenever we want to add new functionality or integrate a third-party product with the core platform, it is very simple to complete the process. In particular, the security, funds transfer and accounting capabilities of Temenos Transact are very impressive, and ensure we provide an exceptional level of protection for our clients and can centralise many key business processes.”

Supporting a growing client base

Since the implementation, the Temenos platform has also helped MMG Bank to scale its operations and manage the assets of increasing numbers of HNWIs and businesses. Having started with just 20 business users, there are now 180 bank employees working with the Temenos solutions every day. MMG Bank has also grown its client base dramatically, from a handful of clients in 1996 to more than 4,000 today.

“The robustness and reliability of the Temenos platform is exceptional,” adds Maria Elena Hernán. “Even as we have increased our client base and transaction volumes, Temenos Transact has never let us down. And when we do have queries about new functionalities or upgrades, there is an excellent local support team from Temenos available in Panama—something not all vendors can match.”

Managing multi-billion-dollar assets

Supported by Temenos, MMG Bank today enjoys a status as one of the main players in the Panamanian private banking arena. In 2019, the bank manages $4.5 billion in assets, while in 2018 it achieved a net profit of $13.3 million. Working hand-in-hand with Temenos, MMG Bank is confident of further success in the future.

”We have worked with Temenos since the very start, and they have been integral to our growth into a leading financial service provider in Panama. The Temenos platform provides the capabilities we need to continue to prosper and develop even more tailored client products and services. All banks looking to innovate should seriously consider partnering with Temenos.”

Maria Elena Hernán,Technology Vice-President