Chairman Says Belize Bank is Recovering from Derisking Woes

For the past two years, correspondent banks in the U.S and Europe have been cutting relations with banks across the Caribbean. Since 2015, the U.S. has been putting the squeeze on local banks due to suspicions of terrorism financing and money laundering. A number of local banks have been affected, including the Belize Bank, Heritage Bank and even the Central Bank. Today, we caught up with the Chairman of the Belize Bank, Lyndon Guiseppi; he told us that as it relates to the Belize Bank, the bank is on its way to recovery.

Lyndon Guiseppi, Chairman, Belize Bank

“The whole concept of the derisking issue has to do with correspondent banks, essential American banks and European banks, taking a decision not to do business in certain jurisdictions for concerns regarding either terrorist financing or money laundering or alternatively because it don’t consider the profits that it makes in those jurisdictions to be sufficient. Now Belize has been impacted significantly, but I hasten to add, it is not a Belizean phenomenon. Most of the countries in the Caribbean, from Trinidad in the south to Jamaica in the north have had the lost of correspondent bank in last two years. Belize is peculiarly juxtaposed in Central America between Mexico and Guatemala, has found itself, I guess, at the tip of the spear. But what I would say is that we are finding solutions to work around that and that why the crisis hasn’t come to an end, the banks in Belize, certainly Belize Banks, we are finding ways to provide the correspondent banking services to our clients for them to get their money out of the country or to allow money to come into the country. We are extremely optimistic that this matter is going to be resolved in the short term and we are already on the road to recovery.”

Lyndon Guiseppi

Reporter

“Can you give us a timeline for when that recovery stage will be reached?”

Lyndon Guiseppi

“Sure, well as it is now, we continue to provide all of the correspondent banking services that we have provided in the past. The difference between now and a year ago is that it is taking a bit longer to get the wires out; it’s taking a bit longer to get the wires in and it is become a little more expensive to get the wires out. But fundamentally we continue to provide the same services. We just need to find a mechanism that will expedite that process.”

Channel 5

De-Risking Doing-In Belize

Banks in the Caribbean continue to suffer the effects of de-risking. It is all due to the US Treasury Department and its anti money laundering measures. As a result corresponding banks in America have been pulling out of the Caribbean, making it difficult to impossible to process payments to foreign companies in US dollars. The Belize Bank was on of the first to be affected when the Bank of America - cut ties with them earlier this year. So how is the bank subsisting? We asked them the Chairman of Belize Bank today.

Lyndon Guiseppi- Chairman, Belize Bank Ltd.
"Belize has been impacted significantly, but I hastened to add, it's not a Belizean phenomenon. Most of the countries in the Caribbean, from Trinidad in the south to Jamaica in the north, have had the loss of corresponding banks in the last two years. Belize is peculiarly juxtaposed in Central America between Mexico and Guatemala, have found itself I guess at the tip of the spear. But what I would say is that we are finding solutions to work around that and that while the crisis hasn't come to an end, the banks in Belize, certainly Belize Banks - we are finding ways to provide the corresponding banking services to our clients for them to get their money out of the country and to allow money to come into the country. We are extremely optimistic that this matter is going to be resolve in the short term and we are already on the road to recovery."

Emanuel Pech
"Could you give us a timeline for when that recovery stage will be reached?"

Lyndon Guiseppi- Chairman, Belize Bank Ltd.
"Well as it is now, we continue to provide all the corresponding services we have provide in the past. The difference between now and a year ago is that it's taking a little bit longer to get the wires out, its taking a bit longer to get the wires in and it's become a little more expensive to get the wires out. But fundamentality we continue provide the same services. We just need to find a mechanism that will expedite that process."

Channel 7