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Belize Government Launches State Bank

belize banking belize government bank national belize bank concessionary mortgage credit union

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 04:58 PM

On Wednesday the House of Representatives approved an injection of $20 million into the state owned National Bank of Belize Limited. The Government of Belize established the National Bank in April of this year to compete with independent commercial banks and credit unions. It will operate under the motto “Of the People for the People” and will provide loans at concessionary rates.


According to Prime Minister Barrow, “The mission of the bank is principally to make residential mortgage and other consumer loans available to lower and middle income Belizeans and in particular public servants and teachers at cheaper rates than are being offered in the market.” The bank is estimated to start lending at an average of 6.5% on the reducing balance of loans.
The $20 million approved by the House is only start-up capital as the authorized share capital of the institution is $100 million. The Bank will eventually be divided into 1 million shares at $100 per share.




The immediate goal of the institution is to expand the home-owning community by focusing primarily on mortgage loans. The Bank will also accept deposits and eventually expand its loan portfolio to finance small businesses and other developmental causes. Government’s $20 million is a subscription to 200,000 shares in the company.

The National Bank is Government’s most recent initiative to encourage other lending institutions to lower lending rates. Previous initiatives were more friendly towards those institutions such as the increase in Treasury Bills to provide local banks with an opportunity to invest its excess capital and make a profit. Those gains were not relayed to the consumers and lending rates dipped only slightly despite a worldwide recession. Now the local banks are forced to play ball if they are to compete with the state owned bank that is using oil funds from Venezuela.

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:16 PM

“Of the People, for the People” is the motto of the new state-owned National Bank of Belize, which will offer  housing loans at 6.5 per cent annual interest on the reducing balance with $20 million in start-up capital.


Legislation to set up the bank was approved at the sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan on Wednesday, August 7.


Prime Minister  Dean Barrow introduced a Bill to fulfill a promise made at his first quarterly press conference of the year on April 29 to create a new bank which would put pressure on commercial banks to lower their interest rates.


The Bank’s stated primary objective is to offer credit to public officers, teachers and other needy Belizeans. It is designed to help middle-income and even low-income families to own a home.


The Bank will have an authorized share capital of $100 million through a million  hundred dollar shares.


Wednesday’s Bill allowed the government to subscribe to 200,000 of those shares. The $20 million to buy the shares came from US$40 million in financing which the government of Belize can tap into under the Petrocaribe agreement with Venezuela.


Minister of Energy, Science and Technology,  Senator Joy Grant chairs the board of the new bank, and  former Provident Bank president, Jose Karim Marin is its Managing Director.


Other Board members include Dylan Reneau, president of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and John Mencias of the Petrocaribe Fund. For weeks now the local newspapers have been running advertisements to recruit bank staff.


In April P.M. Barrow explained: “We are looking principally at mortgage financing. We intend to ultimately accept deposits and turn this into a full-scale bank with all the services. The idea is to expand the home-owning class of this country, to provide cheaper access to credit, and we will not stop at mortgage lending.”


The National Bank will take over the former headquarters of the Small Farmers and Business Bank in the City Of Belmopan.

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