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Sep 6, 2023

Central Bank to Introduce Measures to Address Excessive Banking Fees

Kareem Michael

There are four domestic banks operating in Belize’s financial sector and their fiscal performance is described by the Central Bank as fairly stable.  But are there concerns regarding profits and losses?  And why are some banks charging for every financial transaction that is done when a customer accesses his or her account?  Central Bank Governor Kareem Michael explains.


Kareem Michael, Governor, Central Bank of Belize

“The concerns are simply outside of what we would consider maybe calm and it’s rare in a financial system where there will ever be a period of harmony, or calm, or still waters.  Just by the nature of competition, by the nature of how your economy is constructed, by the strategies employed by each individual bank, maybe some targeting agriculture over tourism, of course external shock, you will always have different impacts on balance sheets.  That’s why the regulator is here.  The regulator is here to make sure that those wherever there might be a little bit of smoke, that it is properly addressed and we safely navigate out of those. I should also let you know that we have developed a practice direction that should come into effect in December that will target some of these fees that we have deemed as unfair or excessive.  While I might not, it may not be in my best interest or within norm to call the bank’s name, I’m sure you can, the issue we’re having is a depositor across every point of access at a commercial bank is charged for that bank to keep his money.  That, I think, stretches any sort of fairness boundaries or consumer financial protection ideas that we may have.”

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