Business Overview

The community bank of Emberá Puru was established in 2014 and has 25 strong active members. Nevertheless, the caja still looks for innovate ways to increase membership and have a wider reach within their community and thus meets every week, in which they are able to delve into a variety of strategies to continue to grow.

Community Bank Emberá Puru - Emberá Puru, Panamá

Economic Challenge

The community bank of Emberá Puru is one of the oldest community banks. Founded in 2014, it has provided affordable access to financial services to the community of Emberá Puru, opening opportunities for the development of micro-enterprises, household improvements and transport for education, medical needs and emergencies. So far, this community bank is the only financial institution of the community, other options (cooperatives/commercial banks) are too distant for this community, and their requirements to open a savings account (not to mention to request a loan) are highly bureaucratic and expensive for them.

The Business

During the creation of the community bank 5 years ago, one of the members said “you are coming here to ask us to put money for the capital of this bank and also save money, don’t you understand? we are poor. You should be giving money to us and go do the same to other communities that are in need too”. Now, 5 years later, Emberá Purú has one of the highest value of savings and its membership has contributed a total of $1280.00 USD in capital for the community bank.

Competitive Advantage

The community bank of Emberá Puru continues to be an important leader when it comes to community banks, they have an engaging and hard working membership that want to continue to improve their community bank. One of their most recent achievements is the construction of the community bank, which will be inaugurated during the month of january.


Even though the community bank offers access to affordable financial services, not all members of the community of Emberá Puru are part of it. They have tried different strategies to increase membership, yet it has not shown a significant growth and remains at 25 members. This is a challenge that the leadership board is currently working on together with the Global Business Brigades technicians, with the purpose of facilitating broader financial inclusion within the community.

Business Snapshot

Active Loans
Total Savings
Active Loans Amount

Next Steps

The tasks thatCommunity Bank Emberá Puru has prioritized are:

1: Conducting and income statement of the community bank
2: Auditing and analyzing savings data information from financial books 2014-2019 monthly)
3: Conducting a leadership workshop with community bank members and the tourism groups.

Page Last Updated:December 13, 2019