Business Overview

The caja rural of el Peñón, located in the Comarca Ngobe-Buglé, an autonomous indigenous region, was founded in 2019 as a part of the World Bank Project alongside three other communities. This community bank has 39 active members.

Community Bank El Peñón - El Peñón, Panamá

Economic Challenge

The community of El Peñón is located in the Comarca Ngobe-Buglé, an autonomous indigenous region which was established in 1972 when the Panamanian constitution required the government to establish ‘comarcas’; however, it wasn’t until 1997 that the Ngobe-Buglé were granted this territory. Despite large strides in Indigenous Peoples Rights, inadequate social services continue to be a major issue in the majority of the comarca and often times due to financial and economic strain, lack of transport and insufficient government resources children are unable to attend school. These elements alongisde lack of access to financial institutions have hindered these communities from economic growth.

The Business

The community bank of El Peñón is one of the 4 communities selected for the World Bank project which seeks to expand financial inclusion to some of the most under-resourced regions of the country. This project started at the beginning of 2019 and has since then flourished significantly with 39 stakeholders and almost $3,000 in savings in less than a year, a true testament to the incredible hard work and leadership of their board of directors.

Competitive Advantage

The community bank of el Peñón has showed a significant amount of growth and the caja presents a maturity typically exhibited by community banks that have been functioning for various years.


Due to the distance of the community, and the lack of access to a wide range of services often times community members struggle with motivation to continue forward with the caja.

Business Snapshot

Active Loans
Active Loans Amount

Next Steps

The tasks thatCommunity Bank El Peñón has prioritized are:

1: Conduct an income statement of the Community Banks of El Peñón
2: Gather all savings data per individual (monthly)
3: Conduct a leadership workshop with all community bank members

Page Last Updated:December 15, 2019