Guatemala - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing
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Banking System

Overall, the banking system remains stable. According to information from the Superintendence of Banks (SIB), which is responsible for regulating the financial services industry, Guatemala’s 18 commercial banks had an estimated $63.8 billion in assets in April 2023.  The six largest banks control about 87 percent of total assets.  In addition, there are 11 non-bank financial institutions specializing in investment operations, three licensed exchange houses, twenty-eightinsurance companies, four credit card issuers, and fourteen bonded warehouses.

Guatemalan banking regulatory authorities and the Guatemalan congress actively work to draft laws to adequately regulate the business and financial sectors. In August 2012, theGuatemalan congress approved reforms to the Banking and Financial Groups Law and to the Central Bank Organic Law that strengthen supervision and prudential regulation of the financial sector and provide resolution mechanisms for failed orfailing banks.  The Guatemalan congress passed anti-moneylaundering legislation in December2001 and terrorism finance legislation in August 2005.  The Financial Action Task Force removed Guatemala from the list of non-cooperating countriesin July 2004.

The Guatemalan government submitted to congress proposed amendments to the Banking and Financial Groups Law in November 2016 and an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing draft law in August 2020. Both proposed laws were pending congressional approval as of June 2023. For more information on the banking system read the section Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment of the Investment Climate Statement.

Foreign Exchange Controls

Guatemala maintains an open and unrestricted exchange regime.  There are no restrictions on converting or transferring funds associated with an investment into a freely usable currency at a market-clearing rate. The exchange rate moves in response to market conditions. The government sets one exchange rate as its reference, which it applies only to its own transactions, and which is based on the commercial rate.  The Central Bank intervenes in the foreign exchange market only to prevent sharp movements.  There are no legal constraints on the quantity of remittances or any other capital flows, or delays in acquiring foreign exchange.  Since May 2001, banks are permitted to offer accounts and conduct business in any foreign currency.  In October 2010, monetary authorities approved a regulation to establish limits for cash transactions of foreign currency to reduce the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing.  The regulation establishes that monthly deposits over $3,000 USD will be subject to additional requirements, including a sworn statement by the depositor stating that the money comes from legitimate activities.  The reference exchange rate of Quetzals (GTQ) to the U.S. dollar (USD) has remained relatively stable since 1999.

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks

Citibank N.A., Guatemala Branch has maintained operations in Guatemala since 1990.

Local banking institutions:

For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.

To access Guatemala’s ICS section on financing, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.