There are only two commercial banks in Belize which have offshore operations. One is The Belize Bank International. The other is Atlantic Bank Limited.
The United States’ fiscal policy is designed to go after those Americans who try to avoid payment of taxes by hiding their investments in overseas savings accounts. Until recently, offshore banks in Belize have offered Americans the opportunity to do so.
But a crackdown by the US Treasury Department is making it more difficult for American investors to hide their money in secret overseas accounts. By cutting correspondent banking relations, US Treasury officials can make it painful for any bank to continue to ignore US guidelines.
This is what happened last week with the Belize Bank.
By severing its correspodent banking relations with The Belize Bank, the Bank of America is making it difficult for the Belize Bank to operate in foreign exchange transactions. By this action, the Bank of America has made it difficult for the Belize Bank to engage in international exchanges.
Because of the close ties between American and Canadian banks, the chances of The Belize Bank hooking up with a Canadian international bank is also remote.
The influence of the banking brotherhood is so pervasive, The Belize Bank may find it difficult to hook up with any European bank, given the “small change” nature of the business that The Belize Bank has to offer.
The cheerful assurances of The Belize Bank, that it will soon have an alternative correspondent process in operation may be wishful thinking. The Bank of America has dealt The Belize Bank a serious blow, not because The Belize Bank stands to lose a lot of money, but because it stands to lose a lot of prestige.
The Belize Bank’s best bet is to mend fences with the Bank of America. Find out what it is the Americans want by way of compliance, and comply with due diligence.
It would save time and tension.