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US, EU Banks 'Cutting Ties To Belize'

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
29 April, 2015

Belize Bank has expressed concerns about the impact on the territory's banking sector of recent efforts by international banks to 'de-risk' and shed operations in some territories due to fears of incurring regulatory fines for infractions.

The bank said that this is as a result of perceived risk after regulatory changes following the global financial crisis and concerns about ensuring compliance with geopolitical embargoes.

Several large American and European banks have recently decided to cut ties with Belize Bank Limited and Belize Bank International Limited, meaning the loss of foreign correspondent banking relationships, as a result of such policies, it said.

Belizean authorities have said they are engaging in diplomatic efforts with US authorities and financial institutions to draw attention to the potentially disruptive effects of the de-risking strategy of large banks on small, trade dependent economies.

The statement follows warnings last month by Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister of "potentially devastating threats" to the Caribbean's banking sector because of perceptions that investing in Caribbean financial services is more risky.

He said that international banks are cutting ties with the Caribbean because of what he termed "an arbitrary and unsubstantiated claim that the Caribbean is a high risk area for financial services" and called for a unified approach from the Caribbean banking sector to promote its good standing and reputation.

Belize's other domestic banks (ScotiaBank Belize Ltd, Atlantic Bank Ltd, First Caribbean International Bank Ltd, and Heritage Bank Ltd) have not been affected by de-risking, Belize Bank said.


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