Belize has established itself as one of the top offshore banking jurisdictions. With all the laws passed to ensure the expansion and development of international financial services in Belize, it is no wonder that the country has really established itself in the financial service industry. Excluding the offshore banks, there are five commercial banks in the country. Three of these banks are Belize-based banks which include the Alliance Bank, Atlantic Bank and Belize bank. The rest of these commercial banks include First Caribbean Bank and Scotia Bank, which are multinational banks.
Belize has short banking hours. Unlike other countries, banks in Belize are only open from 1 to 2 p.m. There are ATM machines. Unfortunately, these machines are out of order most of the time and most machines do not accept ATM cards not issued in Belize.
Belize local banks are relatively similar to the average small town banks. However, banking in Belize is different. You can’t just walk inside the bank and expect to get an account a minute later. You will be required to submit documents that are necessary in order to open an account. One of these is a letter from your former bank confirming your banking relations and stating your banking details. Before you can open a bank account in Belize commercial banks, you will also be required to get an official residency status. You don’t have to worry about your status though if you are opening an account in an offshore bank. This would require that you are a not a citizen or a nonresident of the country in order to open an offshore account.
Loan interest rates in Belize are quite high. The banks interest rates on the business and personal loans are so high that they get a 14 to 18 percent return. The rate is also bloated by hidden charges. This is probably due to the fact that in spite all the laws drafted to promote international financial services, the consumer protection concept hasn’t reached the Belize legislative system yet.