We spoke to Grant and her deputy Governor at the launch of the Central Bank's newest project. APS3, or the Automated Payment and Securities Settlement System. It's a new electronic system that will make banking in Belize more efficient. APS3 will cut the time it takes to clear checks, make payments and transfer funds in half by connecting banks to the system. He's how the bank officials put it.

Joy Grant, Governor of Central Bank
"First, its right for me to recognize the previous governor and the work that he has done. But to say that I firmly believe that for any country to develop has to embrace technology and this is a way for the financial system in Belize to embrace technology so that we become more efficient and hopefully that the cost to the consumer overtime will decrease for transactions that they do now without thinking, but that are important for the running of this economy."

Reporter
"The investment that placed into this project for the past 6 years, is it worth it what we are going to get out of it?"

Joy Grant, Governor of Central Bank
"Well we didn't say the figure, but I could tell you that its millions of dollars for the equipment and for staff time, but to echo what the chairman said, it's not a choice. We have to move into the future and to do that we have to make sure that we have the systems in place. For example, if you were waiting for 5-7 days to get funds in your account and you now could get it in one day. That means that you could do more with that money overtime. For the small transactions on an individual basis, it probably doesn't seem like much, but for large value transactions, there is a lot that can be done with those funds if they had it available in a much shorter period of time."

Reporter
"How can the Belizean public and corporations and businesses be sure that their financial information won't be hacked or taken from somebody who wants it?"

Joy Grant, Governor of Central Bank
"That's a good question, because in electronic systems there is always that possibility and if you look in the news for the last few months, you know there's been hack in the banks and I could go on and on. So initially they got to stage when we were ready to roll out, but they took the extra time to make sure that your information will be secured."

"But I am going to be the first to say that this is not something that's static. We have to constantly be reviewing our security systems to make sure that the information is 1) protected and 2) that your funds will not go somewhere where it shouldn't."

Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, Dep., Gov., of Ops., - Central Bank
"Every single domestic back right now is fully onboard. They are fully connected to the system and today they are operating via the system. So there is one payment instrument, the cheque which I don't have a problem with that will be coming on in the next 3 weeks. Why I say I don't have a problem with bringing that on in the next 3 weeks is because I really want people to try to use our electronic funds transfer instruments and services via APS3. These are much more efficient than cheques. We are going to keep cheques as an option, but we want to reduce its use. So while we won't be removing it totally from the options to the people of Belize, we encourage you to use the other electronic transfer services provided by APS3."

APS3, as of 8:30 this morning, is up and running and promises to make banking efficient and secure.

Channel 7