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Jun 29, 2018

Choice Bank’s Licensed Revoked

There are new developments tonight in respect of Choice Bank following an announcement on Thursday that the institution would be allowing its customers to withdraw funds in three tranches leading up to its closure at the end of the year.  The bank, in its statement, said that clients would be able to take out up to twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars in the first instance, seventy-five in July and one hundred thousand dollars by the end of August. But this afternoon things developed very quickly and by this afternoon the Central Bank had taken over the bank located on Marine Parade. Governor Joy Grant in a statement issued to the media confirmed that Choice Bank’s license to operate as an offshore entity in Belize has been revoked, prohibiting it from carrying on any international banking business.  Grant also sought to allay fears that the financial sector was not under threat.

 

Joy Grant, Governor, Central Bank of Belize

Joy Grant

“On June 29th, 2018, the license for Choice Bank Limited was revoked on the recommendation of the Central Bank of Belize.  This prohibits Choice Bank from carrying on international banking business.  International banks licensed in Belize are prohibited from residents of Belize with exceptions under the law.  The Central Bank takes its responsibilities to protect the assets of both residents and non-residents very seriously.  We wish to assure the public that the situation is specific to Choice Bank alone as it does not involve or affect the safety or soundness of any other domestic or international bank licensed in Belize.  The Central Bank took this strong action after a comprehensive examination of the facts, as guided by the regulatory framework and supported by the laws of Belize.  I take this opportunity to briefly outline how the events leading to the revocation unfolded.  In late 2017, the results of the Central Bank’s routine examination of Choice Bank reveals serious operational weaknesses and violations of the International Banking Act, leading the Central Bank to impose corrective actions in January 2018.  In April, Choice Bank’s problems escalated after its license for prepaid services was suspended by the cause processor.  Choice Bank’s primary business was based on these prepaid cards.  Choice Bank then suspended the withdrawal of deposits and began to phase out the use of its prepaid cards.  Since Choice Bank took these actions the Central Bank has been bombarded with emails and phone calls from Choice Bank’s customers and depositors.  Some have already chosen to pursue legal action.”

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