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Aug 24, 2015

Chamber Looking for Answers in B.O.A. De-risking

Arturo Vasquez

For the past few weeks, we have been reporting about the Bank of America severing ties with banks in Belize. Since then, Heritage Bank has been put on notice that it will also be losing its correspondent banking relationship with Bank of America. The pulling out of BOA from the banks in Belize has been attributed to strict money laundering regulations imposed on the region. But, some parties are more worried about what this means for Belize, while others have attributed it simply to changing times and policies. Today, we asked President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry Arturo Vasquez, to weigh in on how the loss of correspondent banks affects business in Belize.

 

Arturo Vasquez, President, BCCI

“I wish I had the answer to that, really. It is not a good position for banks to not have international representation. What we have been hearing is that it has been affecting the international part of the banks. Belize Bank, I think is the only local one, I believe, where Bank of American has taken away the relationship. But since then they have established their own relationships. I know from experience that you can still transfer money to and from outside the Belize Bank and all the other banks. Scotia Bank, of course, is in a different position. Heritage Bank, we heard just recently, that they got notice from Bank of America. The Chamber, from since this thing started, we have tried to have discussions with the President of the Banking Association and we met with them twice. We met with the Governor of the Central Bank because, really, what we want to have a good position or a good understanding of what is happening.  As I mentioned, previously, on a talk show, that this seems to be coming at us as surprises every so often. So, I don’t really know if anybody has a direct answer hopefully somebody will have that at some point. The Chamber is planning a mixer for this Wednesday, where we are trying to have the Governor of the Central Bank and maybe some of the other banks representatives speak on this but the word de-risking that has been used is something that I am worried about. If we would know what the risks are then we would know why they are de-risking from us. Money Laundering is one of the suggestions but really I am not sure that anybody, unfortunately, has the answer as to what will happen tomorrow with this.”

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1 Response for “Chamber Looking for Answers in B.O.A. De-risking”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    What a poor showing!!! For a tiny Belize not to have Banking relations with the international is a form of financial sanctions placed on Iran and Russia. Belize can’t be compared to these very rich countries which absorbed all the negative insults and survived. How long can Belize survive? That is the question. I am amazed the rep from BCC , Central Bank, et al cannot see the assault on our economy by halting payments for imported goods which will further erode investments, employment and many other services.

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