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Feb 12, 2016

Santander Walks Away from S.S.B. Loan

There was a huge outcry from the public, the unions, the People’s United Party, the Belize Progressive Party about a loan of twelve million dollars to the foreign owned Santander Company. The loan request was approved by the Investment Committee of the S.S.B., but according to its chair Doug Singh, it had not been disbursed.  Concerns and reservations varied from the lack of transparency by the S.S.B. for not providing details of the loan, to the high risk since it was part of a syndicated loan from local and international banks and if the S.S.B. loan would have a first-ranking security. Other sectors questioned why the loan was not requested from the private banking sector in Belize or from other foreign banks. It was also felt that the project was touted by G.O.B. as a Foreign Direct Investment, but the venture was in fact using about eighty million dollars of the savings of the Belizean public to raise capital, including the workers’ pension fund. This morning, Santander called a press conference; the Chief Financial Officer Andres Ayau disagreed with the claims made and said that because of the low-risk and high return of the project, inviting the S.S.B. on board was actually a good faith gesture. With that said, it was confirmed that the Santander Group is withdrawing its loan application.

 

Andres Ayau

Andres Ayau, Chief Financial Officer, Santander Group

“As part of our commitment to the economic development of Belize, we thought it would be a good faith effort to invite Social Security Board to participate. Why? Because Social Security Board has returns for its investors between two and three percent currently and this loan offers a return of seven percent, which is more than twice and which exceeds inflation costs which are not being covered by the current returns you are obtaining. We are very thankful to Social Security Board and its members and the workers of the Social Security Investment Committee that did their due diligence in this and trust us ad that decided to support this transaction. That being said, due to this, it saddens us to say that this issue was politicized and given a negative connotation. Due to this negative media coverage, we decided to actually use another lender, an international lender, to cover that participation. We have already proceeded to inform Social Security Board that we will be covering the funds from another source and we really like to thank the Social Security for their interest. With that being said, we would like to leave the door open for Social Security Board and we want to announce that we are doing an additional investment on this project, for the expansion of the factory and the sugar cane fields of fifteen million U.S. dollars and we continue our invitation to Social Security to participate in that transaction.”

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5 Responses for “Santander Walks Away from S.S.B. Loan”

  1. Jason says:

    How stupid can Belizeans be? now the unions and employees are running the show and not even knowing they are screwing themselves out of profits? are we communists now? bet they want uniforms and raises though. Ridiculous. Its sad to see only a few like those on the board had sense and now lost the chance-go on and lend to Luke, Pena, Novelo, godfrey & Zabaneh and the usual suspects that will just squander it anyway. Better yet-keep it there until government changes-keep it safe Unions-under the mattress-morons and mora.

  2. Ricky Malthus says:

    Mr. Ayau must understand that utmost good faith in all contracts must exist. Utmost good faith in this instance means that the SSB funds are not for speculative purposes internally or externally. To quote the benefits of interest rates and inflation is classical decoy and obfuscation on the poor, mis-informed and oppressed Belizean people. Once again, SSB money is to be held in trust to pay pensions, unemployment, healthcare, and social and mental health of the Belizean public. All funds must be deposited with guaranteed rates at Central Bank and local commercial banks and credit unions. We know the Ministry of Finance doesn’t understand this because the FS is turncoat PUP who is scared in his waning and faltering years. Long live Justice!!! Que viva Justicia!!!

  3. Marie says:

    While the return sounds like a good deal, that is alot of money. What if the money is not returned in a timely manner, when depositors might need more money than withdrawn. I am a little leary of it

  4. Belizean Pride says:

    Thank you for not taking the Loan, because first of all SSB did not said that from my contributions what would be my pieces of the cheese when that loan earns the interest and gain profit. They wanted to use our hard earn money with out consulting us the SSB payers. If they would have done that publicly and suggest a compensation to us monthly we’d not bav about it. But as usual they monopolize our contributions as they like with out our consent and we will never benefit from it.

  5. Al says:

    Its not so much about the loan, as what effect it will have on the common belizean worker at the end of the day. What about when informing that they are lending this amount to anyone, while at the same time telling us what good it will bring for us when we get the returns? This money is OUR money. We have a right to know if it will benefit US down the road.

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