Business Overview

The community bank of Tortí was officially inaugurated in January 2020, being the youngest community bank they are full of dreams, opportunities and willingness to learn, grow and develop.

Community Bank of Tortí - Tortí, Panama

Economic Challenge

The community bank of Tortí is the youngest community bank partnering with Global Brigades in Panama. Founded in January 2020,  it has had an impressive start in terms of financial inclusion in the community of Tortí. Interestingly, this is one of the very few community banks that is located in a more urban context; there are banks, insurance companies, big supermarkets and agro-industry enterprises in Tortí. 

One would suppose that most people have access to banking services in such a large town. However, when asking the current members of Tortí why they wanted to start a community bank here, they said: “We can walk to the bank, but their requirements are excluding of most of the population of Tortí. if I want to save, they ask me for so many requirements that are almost impossible to get, not to mention if I would like to get a loan.”

Given this context, the members of the Community Bank of Tortí are incredibly excited to begin this journey and expand access to affordable banking services in the city of Tortí. 

Similar to other communities in the region, the community bank performance is still closely linked to the overall community development. Agriculture, construction, and other activities play an important role in generating employment and income. This means the community bank’s performance is subject to the uncertainty, volatility, and complexity of rural areas in Panama. This bank represents an excellent opportunity for thinking outside the box and exploring alternative approaches and innovations for financial inclusion and economic development in Tortí.

The Business

The community bank of Tortí has had a great start with 20 members in the first 2 months, and they are hoping to increase the membership even more at this early stage.  They already have over $500.00 USD of capital and over $300.00 USD in savings. The community bank has not started any loan activity since they are still at an initial stage, where they receive training, contributing to the capital of the bank and starting savings. 


Competitive Advantage

This Caja has a strong group of stakeholders that are highly motivated. The affordable community banking services that it offers in a city where access to savings or loans are scarce makes this bank a great opportunity for the people of Tortí to join the community bank and benefit from it.


Being a brand new community bank, there are many dreams and hopes. Even though they have started to plan for the future, this community bank would benefit from business consulting in order to develop a business plan that helps them set specific goals for the future and clear steps to achieve them within the determined time period.

Business Snapshot

Savings to date

Next Steps

The tasks thatCommunity Bank of Tortí has prioritized are:

The tasks that Community Bank of Tortí has prioritized are:

1: Leadership workshop for the leadership board and members of the community bank
2: Provide financial literacy training to Tortí’s community bank members
3: Develop a business plan and a marketing strategy for the community bank

Page Last Updated:February 28, 2020