National Bank of Belize discussed in Senate
The Government of Belize established the National Bank of Belize in April 2013. NBBL was formed primarily to provide concessionary credit to teachers, public officers and needy Belizeans. The state-owned institution is now set to open its doors, and the House has asked the Senate for approval of twenty-million dollars in capitalization. That matter was debated on Monday and from the discussion, it was clear that there is still concern that the financial sins of the past will be revisited on Belizeans.
Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Private Sector
“In the past we have seen millions and millions of dollars from the Social Security Board, the Ministry of Housing and publicly funded housing schemes written off because overwhelmingly, established and proper due diligence and proper legal and lending protocols were blatantly ignored and not followed.”
Lisa Shoman, Senator, Opposition
“When I look at the acronym of this bank, NBBL, it strikes me that it could be very unfortunate, especially if we start thinking that this is the ‘nibble’ bank of Belize and it’s meant for certain people with privileged political connections to start nibbling away at its assets and benefitting in such a way that instead of NBBL…people might start calling it the piñata bank of Belize.”
“Mr. President, there is ample history of failure and clemency in public banking. My plea to the directors then…is please do not let us burden the Belizean people with more write-offs, loan ruthlessness and political handouts.”
Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business
“This is a good thing man. This is a good thing. What it will do is make affordable credit to the people of Belize. The commercial banks have been leaned on, they have been coaxed, they have been enticed, they have been waltzed, they have been samba and salsa…please man bring down your rates. You have liquidity. The banks are giving you point something percent or one point something percent but hammering you with twelve and thirteen and fifteen percent still. The spread is too big. You can’t do business with that.”
The bank will start out by offering mortgage financing, but directors say that very shortly after, NBBL will become a full-fledged bank. It is expected that the institution will generate a profit after the first year of operations.
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