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Scotia/Belize Bank merger still being investigated; takers waiting in the wings

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belize bank

Posted: Monday, August 17, 2020. 4:09 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Central Bank of Belize continues to review the potential merger of Scotia Bank and Belize Bank Limited, agreed to in principle a few months ago.

Recently, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow asked Bank Governor Joy Grant how it was going and was told “it was going” with no specific date of when it would be complete, “hopefully sooner rather than later”.

But the news is that, according to the Prime Minister, “there are multiple expressions of interest from concerns that would dearly love to be in a position, to be given a chance to purchase Scotia Belize,” noting that the bank cannot negotiate on other offers while the Belize Bank proposal is under review.

But if the Central Bank were not to give regulatory approval and Scotia still wants to sell, the P.M. said, there would be “no shortage of takers” waiting to step in.

The banks are the largest and second-largest in Belize in terms of their portfolios, and previously the P.M. expressed his worry that the result firm would be more difficult to regulate than the two separately.

The Belize Bank is controlled by Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited (CIHL), which counts Lord Michael Ashcroft among its backers.

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