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Panama's opportunity bank to launch in January 2020

The Panamanian government's so-called opportunity bank program is set to launch in January 2020 in an effort to help finance small-scale entrepreneurs, El Capital Financiero reported, citing Samuel Bardayán, general director of the Ampyme association for small enterprises.

The new lending body, which was part of a campaign promise by President Laurentino Cortizo, will be funded with an initial $25 million in capital, according to the report.

The move comes after prior efforts in Panama to promote the modernization and competitiveness of the financial system, including a bill presented by former President Juan Carlos Varela's government which was not approved. The current government purportedly is working to put forward a new bill that would set standards for financial technology in the country.