Credit is essential to businesses to obtain goods and services and to individuals to advance their livelihoods. Belize is in the process of establishing a credit reporting service and today the Central Bank of Belize hosted the 3rd annual Caribbean Credit Reporting Conference featuring representatives of financial institutions and others working in the banking and service sector. Deputy Governor of the Central Bank for Operations, Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, explains the necessity of a credit reporting system.
Marilyn Gardiner-Usher – Deputy Governor, Central bank:
A Credit Reporting System is key to the development of a sound economy. It helps to reduce risks for financial institutions, and often leads to lower interest rates, making loans more affordable and more widely available. That’s a win / win for Belize. A well functioning Credit reporting System shares credit information provided by both financial and non-financial institutions, allowing members to more efficiently access the credit-worthiness of borrowers, resulting in more responsible lending and reduction in default rates.
According to International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s senior Caribbean manager Zhang Jun, the bureau helps all businesses and individuals maintain their financial integrity.
Zhang Jun – FOJ’s Senior Caribbean Manager:
Credit Bureau is an essential financial credit infrastructure that will facilitate orderly transactions between the financial institutions and the borrowers, where the money is needed. That would give the financial institutions that makes the lending decisions good information in terms of who they are lending money to. What we have seen world-wide is where there is a lack of information then there is a severe constraint on the access for finance. This is particularly true for the small businesses.
The 2-year Belize project is funded through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as part of its extensive program with the Caribbean. The Bank says that while planning is still ongoing, the bureau would gather data from insurance companies, utility companies, creditunions and other financial institutions going back at least two years and there would be legal and regulatory frameworks in place, including obtaining consent from the person to make credit reports available freely.