In May 1975, the Republic of Panama put before the 20th Meeting of Central Bank Governors of Latin America the proposal to create a multinational organization to finance exports in the Region. Approval for the creation of a bank was issued in 1976.

Banco Latinoamericano de Exportaciones, S.A. (Bladex) was thus organized in 1977 and established as a corporation in 1978 pursuant to the laws of Panama. With headquarters in Panama, the Bank officially began operations on January 2, 1979.

The decision to establish the Bank in the Republic of Panama was based on the following:

  • International offshore banking center and free transfer of capital
  • U.S. dollar as legal tender
  • Absence of exchange controls
  • Key geographic location
  • Well-developed communications network and infrastructure

Through Contract No. 103-78, established on July 25 1978, Panama granted Bladex special benefits as an international organization.

Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation of the Bank which included a change in the legal name from Latin American Export Bank to Foreign Trade Bank of Latin America , maintaining the name “Bladex” as its commercial trademark, became effective June 17, 2009.