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Sep 3, 2015

National Bank Opens Belize City Branch

Exactly two years ago, on September second 2013, the National Bank of Belize opened its doors for the first time in Belmopan. The mandate was clear cut – the provision of mortgage financing…primarily to public officers, but also to low and middle income Belizeans. Today, the Bank celebrated its second anniversary with the opening of a new office in Belize City, and as Mike Rudon found out, the Bank’s mandate has changed, and that’s an understatement. Here’s that story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

The National Bank today opened its Belize City doors with much the same fanfare as it did two years ago in Belmopan – steel band and dignitaries galore. But at least for the Prime Minister, this launch outdoes the other because it is, for his administration and in his own words, sweet vindication.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The vision of my administration…the vision of my colleagues with respect to this bank was one that was not articulated initially to any sort of general enthusiasm or embrace. There were several officials, and I say this not in anger or by way of recriminations, but merely to underline what is a historical fact and what ultimately then, as I’m going to suggest provides this especially sweet vindication for that vision. But at the start there were those who said it didn’t make any sense.”


But all indications are that it did. And it is an exciting milestone not only for the political players, but for those who have played an integral role in the bank’s day to day growth and development.


Alvaro Alamina

Alvaro Alamina, General Manager

“The National Bank of Belize has made its mark by offering the best rates on the market, and we have had much success with this strategy…so much so that the other banks have been steadily reducing their rates since we made our entry into the financial market. We are in the final process of completing the upgrades and full implementation of our core banking system. And I can assure all here that the National Bank of Belize has a system that is second to none in Belize.”


Janet Arnold, Deputy General-Manager

“From just being a first time homeowner, refinancing for middle and low income we are now offering not only deposit accounts. We are offering corporate accounts, safety-boxes, night services to corporate customers, ATMS, everything…the full gauntlet of banking.”


Janet Arnold


“Where do you see the bank going? Do you see it actually taking its place with all the other major banks in Belize?”


Janet Arnold

“Absolutely! Absolutely! To have accomplished this within the second year I can tell the public at large, Belizeans at large that we are going places very fast.”


The move to Belize City was a natural progression for the Bank which has outstripped all expectations. But the move is not the only significant change for the bank. It was started with an infusion of Petrocaribe funds, but now it’s ready to fly on its own.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“In terms of profitability all I wanted was for the reflows to be such that the bank could continue to lend without having to come back every single time for an additional equity infusion on the part of government. I think it’s still fairly early days yet, but as far as I know there are not the sorts of problems with delinquent loans that would suggest that the Bank is in any danger of not being able to operate viably on its own. I think we’ve put in something like forty-million dollars in equity. We gave a little something extra for the opening of the Belize City Branch because it means that the clientele would have expanded, but government is basically now going to draw the line and say that the continued operations of the Bank, the future operations of the Bank will depend on reflows and depend on the deposits that they have started to take.”


When the Bank opened, one of the main criticisms was that it would be a political piñata for cronies. The PM says that certainly has never been the case.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I made absolutely clear that Ministers shouldn’t even send letters of recommendation, but ultimately I can’t stop them I asked the Chair of the Board to make clear to her Directors and through the Directors the staff…that any such letter should be ignored. I certainly made clear to Ministers that nobody better not dare call up the bank to try to press on the staff the case of any particular applicant so I am satisfied that it’s been completely, wholly non-political in its operations.”


The new office is located on Regent Street in Belize City. The Bank will be officially open for business on Monday, September seventh. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “National Bank Opens Belize City Branch”

  1. easy glenn says:

    Sixty million dollars of the people money to open a Bank wow and the people did not say a word while people the live off crumb Belizean unu get what uno deserve nothing !!! what a calamiti !!! Stay fool and get treated as fools wow!!!! Petrocaribe debt!!!! Growing I hope unu ready fe pay back when that come about

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