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Jul 2, 2020

“It Ain’t Over ‘til the Fat Lady Sings;” PM Weighs in on Scotiabank Buyout

The purchase of Scotiabank Belize by Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited, the parent company of the Belize Bank, awaits regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Belize. The initial announcement was made on June twenty-second by Governor Joy Grant in a recorded statement acknowledging that the transaction is commercial in nature between two private companies and the role of the Central Bank is to ensure that the stability of the monetary and financial systems remains intact. The process to complete the transaction is months away but this morning, Prime Minister Dean Barrow chimed in on the situation in a lengthy virtual press conference.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“My understanding is that this deal has not been consummated, the Central Bank has to give ultimate regulatory approval before there can be any finalization of this acquisition.  You asked me about it last Friday and I was trying to be careful because I did not want to appear to be personalizing what is in fact an extremely consequential, critical issue and a process that the Central Bank will have to demonstrate that it has carried out in terms of the scrutiny before it can give approval, that the Central Bank will have to prove to people that it has done in a completely thoroughgoing and professional way.  I still am trying to treat this somewhat differently in terms of, I’ve gone off on all the other things having to do with B.T.L. and the registry and so on.  Confidence is so important in our financial sector that I must be scrupulous in trying to guard my words.  You know the Belize Bank and Scotiabank Ltd., as far as I have been able to determine, as of December 31st, 2019 held forty-seven percent of commercial bank loans. Belize Bank and Scotiabank Ltd. retained fifty percent of assets.  Belize Bank and Scotiabank Ltd., forty-eight percent of deposits.  Belize Bank and Scotiabank Ltd., fifty-seven percent of current year’s profits.  Belize Bank and Scotiabank Ltd., sixty percent of equity.  Belize Bank and Scotiabank Ltd., seventy-six percent of quarterly net income.  Belize Banks weighted average lending rate from what I saw is twenty percent higher than Atlantic Bank Ltd., for example.  If this proposed acquisition is to be approved by the Central Bank of Belize, whose jurisdiction it is, it would put the Belize Bank in a dominant position.”


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