Re: Commentary: De-risking or destruction? Neither is fair
"Of all the Caribbean countries, Belize has been the hardest hit by US banks terminating correspondent relations." Sir Ronald Sanders - Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States.
From my layman's understanding of the whole de-risking, there are two types of risks: regulatory risk and illicit risk. I understand our banks are compliant with the regulatory. This leaves me to conclude that the US banks view Belize as an ILLICIT RISK! So then we need to honestly ask the question: why is our region seeing Belize as being the hardest hit with de-risking by US banks? Why does our Prime Minister have to go out of his way for three of domestic banks namely; Heritage, Atlantic and Belize Bank? Notice there is no mention of Scotia being named? It is interesting to note that a few years ago Scotia tried offshore for a very short time, then shut it down.
As a Canadian based bank, they are very strict with compliance and I'm sure saw that the risk was not worth it. Some 10 years ago, I closed my Belize Bank and first Caribbean accounts and moved to Scotia. In hindsight, that was the best banking move I ever made. Worthy of note is that a retired Scotia Belize Country Manager was selected to be Belize's Ambassador to Washington in November. He is now tasked to get his banking colleagues out of the mess he knew they would find themselves in! It leaves the lingering question: is this one of the reasons PM Barrow refuses to sign the UN convention against Corruption? Our domestic banks have been playing with fire for too long! And you know what they say when you play with fire? Think about it!