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Sep 2, 2014

National Bank Celebrates One Year Anniversary

The National Bank of Belize, the country’s sole government-owned lending institution, is celebrating a milestone achievement this week.  Since opening its doors to the public on September second, 2013, the bank has been disbursing loans to first-time property holders, as well as small business owners at an incredibly low interest rate of five-point-five percent.  Despite a change in the helm of the bank’s management earlier this year, the bank says it has grown considerably, expanding its portfolio from the initial twenty million dollars to an additional twenty-three million dollars in loans by next year.  Today, the institution observed its anniversary by hosting a series of events.  Deputy General Manager, Janet Arnold, gave an update on the bank’s progress.

 

Janet Arnold, Deputy General Manager, National Bank of Belize

“I’m very, very pleased to say that we have grown considerably.  If you all recall at the prime minister’s speech when we opened, the government had pledged twenty million [dollars] to the bank.  I am pleased to announce right now that we have disbursed almost fourteen million of that twenty and we actually have approximately twenty-three million dollars in loans approved.  So yes, in terms of loans, we have grown considerably and we are very, very happy at the stage we are at right now.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“When you look at the overall landscape, in terms of the number of lending institutions operating in Belize and the fact that there is tight competition in terms of either the types of loans being offered and the competitive interest rates, where does the National Bank, in your opinion, fit into this entire picture?”

 

Janet Arnold

Janet Arnold

“I like that question because, the National Bank is “of the people, for the people” Many times the institutions they have mottos which sound good, ours sound good and it is so.  It is of the people for the people.  We have seen where many Belizeans before not being able to access loans to build their first homes, to refinance, to expand, to start a small business and we have found where many of our customers, many of our customers when they come in this is what they share.  They never realize that they would have been able to achieve their first home, to get a small business off its feet.  So we are happy to say that we are achieving exactly what we set out to achieve.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the process of applying for a loan at the National Bank, the interview stage, the approval and the disbursal, to some extent there have been criticism that at times the bank takes a bit longer than usual or expected to be able to approve and disburse loans.  Is there a specific reason for this?  Is there a process that actually takes place outside of the normal interview and the response?”

 

Janet Arnold

“There is no difference in terms of the process.  It is the same; however; again because of our rates that we are offering right now, we have had an unprecedented amount of applications and we are trying to address each application as they come in on a timely manner with our timeframe.”

According to Arnold, the National Bank of Belize operates like a regular commercial bank and borrowers should not expect debt forgiveness should they default on their mortgages.

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1 Response for “National Bank Celebrates One Year Anniversary”

  1. Harrison says:

    I went in and spoke to a loan officer who found every excuse not to lend and only after I struggled to overcome them, did I have a chance and he took my applciation. I never heard back for 6 months. When I checked back-they said he was transferred-so where is my loan at this stage? how government like. I dont expect to hear anything or get my loan but people should know that it is not so rosy inside

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