Find Banking and Financial Services expertise in Belize
The financial sector in Belize offers a range of services provided by a variety of institutions, including banks, insurance companies, building societies, credit unions, providers of international business services and the government owned Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Belize has a relatively small population and private sector, and thus a small local banking sector with five commercial banks, not including those that are classed as offshore (2011). Three of the commercial banks are native – Heritage Bank, Atlantic Bank, and Belize Bank – and the other two are multinational subsidiaries – ScotiaBank and First Caribbean Bank. Belize Bank, owned by BCB Holdings, is the largest bank with some 40% market share (2010). Offshore banks which are not subject to local taxes or exchange controls include Atlantic International Bank, British Caribbean International Bank (also owned by BCB Holdings), Caye International Bank, and Heritage International Bank & Trust Limited. Official policy supported development of offshore financial activities from the 1990s. ;Belize offers a number of advantages as an offshore centre, including tax exemption, low registration costs and a flexible trust law that facilitates asset protection trusts. The financial system also incorporates other elements such as building societies and a domestic mutual fund. The DFC is a substantial public bank providing a wide range of credit facilities to support development projects, such as housing, housing mortgages, tourism facilities, transportation, infrastructure and education.
Regulation of Financial Services
The financial sector of Belize is regulated by several supervisory agencies. The Central Bank of Belize is responsible for the regulation of both domestic and international banks. There is separate legislation governing domestic and international banks, although in practice both face very similar supervision. Credit unions are registered by the Registrar of Credit Unions, while building societies are registered by the attorney general. Furthermore, the Central Bank can request reports from building societies. ;Non-bank offshore activities, such as international insurance, international mutual funds, International Business Corporations and trust and company service providers, are supervised by the International Financial Services Commission. In 2002 a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was established in order to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, ensure coordination among government departments, regulatory agencies, and private parties in the prevention and suppression of financial crimes. The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (2011-2012) ranked Belize 82nd out of 142 countries in soundness of banks.
Development of Financial Services
The 2011 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index ranked Belize 98th in the world (out of 183 countries) for getting credit, putting it in a comparable position to Latin American countries Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Brazil. In relation to protecting investors it placed 122nd. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2011-12) reflected the still developing nature of financial services in Belize, rating its availability of financial services 128th in the world (out of 142 countries), whilst for affordability it came 131st. It was placed 106th in the world for ease of access to loans with a score of 2.3 below the world mean of 2.9. For financing through the equity market it rated 139th out 142 countries, a low ranking, showing the difficulties of raising finance in the country.
|Banking and Financial Services organisations in Belize|
|Alliance Bank of Belize Limited||
|Central Bank of Belize||