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Feb 9, 2023

Belize Bank Receives Best Credit Rating Score in Belize

The Belize Bank Limited is one of the highest credit-rated banks in the country. And on December twenty-first, 2022, the Caribbean information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS) reaffirmed the bank’s near-excellent national rating. It is good news for the bank, which represents almost fifty percent of Belize’s financial sector. This is also an advantage for Belize Bank clients because a high credit rating means fewer risks associated with doing business with that company. News Five’s Paul Lopez tells us more.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

There is big news coming out of the Caribbean for The Belize Bank Limited. The Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited have reaffirmed that The Belize Bank Limited is a solid foothold in the commercial banking industry in Belize. CariCRIS has rated the bank as bzAA+ on its long-term rating scale. That’s the second-highest rating on CariCris’ long-term rating scale. It means that the bank has been deemed fully capable of meeting its payment obligations, whether interest payments or principal payments.


Filippo Alario

Filippo Alario, Executive Chairman/CEO, Belize Bank Limited

This rating is significant in the sense that it is a rating for the period post-pandemic. It really reflects how the bank has performed and came out of the pandemic period, which is one of the biggest shocks we have received in generations. It is usually three parts they look at, the existing current financial position of the bank. They go back and look at three to five years of financial performance. They look at how key performance indicators trend up or down. They look and history current, and then they look at our processes, systems, risk management framework, AMLCFT protocols, our initiatives going forward, and they make an assessment of foreseeable events in terms of the economy, and they take those three things and put it together, and they come up with a rating. It is pretty detailed, and we do that every single year to let our stakeholders know where we stand.”


A financial institution in the post-pandemic era must adapt to changing times, with customers’ heightened dependency on technology. Without digital services, there is a risk that company capital and performance could significantly decline. But, the Belize Bank Limited is not facing that issue. CarsiCRIS has pointed to the bank’s ongoing digital initiatives as one of the drivers behind the bank’s enhanced and robust risk management framework.


Filippo Alario

The bank is investing significantly in digital initiatives to make sure that our clients have many channels to conduct business with the bank. We wanted to make it as easy as possible. So, we have been spending significant amount of resources in training our staff, doing financial literacy. For example, one of the projects is Ekyash, our digital wallet, which I very fantastic. We are getting strong adoptions. And, on the back of Ekyash, we will be doing a lot more digital projects. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to relate to us. Our strategy clearly articulates a digital-first strategy. That doesn’t mean we will neglect people who want to have that one-on-one relationship with the bank. But there are many services that can be done from the comfort of your home. So, when we talk about branches, your home should be a branch.”


CariCRIS also cited the bank’s acquisition of Scotiabank Belize, and the improving economic conditions in Belize, as grounds for the bank’s high credit rating. It is worth noting that the Belize Bank Limited is the only bank in the country with such a rating. Financial institutions are not required to carry out the exercise as it is a voluntary rating. In Belize, banks are not mandated to seek such ratings. However, having an independent opinion of an organization’s overall creditworthiness informs stakeholders about the level of risk they are taking. And therein lies the value.


Filippo Alario

“Having half of the market, representing fifty percent of the financial sector, we have a duty, and we feel a responsibility to give our stakeholders the ability to know how we are doing. And that is why an independent rating agency provides that to our stakeholders. Our stakeholders are customers, depositors, people who have saved all their life savings with us, borrowers, correspondent banks, multi-lateral agencies, government, and regulators. So, there are many stakeholders with a stake in the bank. So, it is important for them to know what is the snapshot of the financial position of the financial institutions.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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