PRESS RELEASE: Acquisition of Scotiabank (Belize)

22 Jun 2020

Central Bank Commences Review of the Acquisition of Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd. by Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited

The Central Bank has been notified officially of an Agreement for the acquisition of all the shares of Scotiabank (Belize) by Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited, the parent company of the Belize Bank Limited. This Agreement will, in effect, represent an eventual merger of these two domestic banking institutions.

Both parties have already tendered their assurances that Scotiabank Bank’s customers, employees, as well as its financial footprint in Belize will be protected. Further, the acquisition process will not change the way customers currently use or access their accounts, while the Central Bank works expeditiously to complete the acquisition review.

This significant investment and expansion by the Belize Bank represent a bold expression of confidence in the long-term potential of the economy. Such faith is praiseworthy, particularly during this period of global crisis. It is noted that well before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, a procession of bank consolidations and mergers was underway in the region. Canadian international banks, whose presence in the region stretch back almost 150 years, announced a refocus away from the Caribbean and Central America. 

While the transaction between these two private companies is commercial in nature, it is the Central Bank’s overarching interest and mandate to safeguard the monetary and financial systems stability and to protect the Belizean dollar for the wellbeing of Belize. 

As the regulator, the Central Bank has commenced a detailed review of this Agreement and will ensure that foreign currency already in the banking system is not used for purposes of this sale. As such, the Covid-19 crisis and the balance of payments sensitivities facing all small, open economies like Belize is an important consideration.
About the Financial Sector
The Central Bank remains committed to the public and the business community in its proactive approach to assuring quality, competitiveness, and efficiency throughout the financial sector in addition to strengthening our oversight capabilities. Strength, stability, and expansion will endure as the key qualities in the financial industry.

Over the last decade, assets in Belize’s financial sector have grown by 53% to $4.615 billion with 469,000 individual accounts. Together, the sector will rebound from the current Covid-19 crisis, stronger and more diverse than ever before.