I am sure people who are thinking of relocating can put the "Are the banks safe?" question in the top 3 of the many questions they have. I would say yes but that is a personal opinion.
We chose to go this route as it suits our needs perfectly. We opened our accounts with Banco Pichincha. We opened a savings account here in Ecuador and a checking account in Panama (both opened at the branch in Cuenca). The advantage to this is if you need for some reason to put money back into the US you are not charged the tax to wire your money out like you are if wiring out of Ecudor. You can write a check here in Ecuador and the person can cash it like a local check. We will keep some money here but Panama will the the vehicle the drives it to Ecuador and back out if needed. There is a bunch of paperwork and you must be a resident.
You can also pay your utilities through your local bank account with auto debit of your account. You need to bring in the previous bill and then you are all set, no waiting in line.
We discovered this option by accident and thought it is a sensable format.
Until next time.....................J&D