BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 26, 2020– In a Cabinet brief dated November 25, the Government of Belize confirmed that the merger between Belize Bank Limited and Scotia Bank Belize was approved by the Central Bank of Belize. The brief also announced that a new board would be appointed for the Central Bank of Belize.
The announcement comes after a meeting which sealed the deal on November 18, 2020. Governor of the Central Bank, Joy Grant, later informed the Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño, of the approval.
The acquisition, which is in the interest of British business tycoon Lord Michael Ashcroft, will catapult Belize Bank Limited to the top of the domestic banking sector. The brief states, “The Cabinet noted that under the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Act, this approval was granted by the Central Bank of Belize and not the Minister of Finance. The Cabinet also decided that it would move promptly to appoint a new Board for the Central Bank of Belize.”
So, while the Government says it had no say in the final decision of the Central Bank, it is not expected that this will be the case in future circumstances, since the Central Bank Board is appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
This prompt move to announce the appointment of new members of the board comes amid many changes in the upper echelons of the Government of Belize by the new administration.
The Central Bank Board, which currently consists of the chairman, Joey Montalvo; Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight; Joy Grant, Central Bank governor; and deputy governors of the bank, Marilyn Usher and Kareem Michael, will be replaced by a new team, handpicked by Prime Minister Briceño and the Ministry of Finance.
Joy Grant has held the post since 2016, when she replaced former Central Bank governor Glenford Ysaguirre.
With the BBL/SSB merger in full swing, a major shift in the banking sector in Belize will take place. How big of a swing, is yet to be seen. What is believed is that Lord Ashcroft will be pitcher, batsman and umpire in this match.