Earlier this month the National Bank of Belize Limited located in Belmopan opened to much acclaim. First-time borrowers can access loans of as much as $100,000 with just 5.5% interest rate – a steal that has already caused the competing commercial banks to reduce their mortgage rates. The Hon. Joy Grant, Government Senator, Minister for Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities and Chair of the Bank’s Board of Directors, gave us an update on Monday and says that the Bank is already attracting interest.
Joy Grant – Senator:
We have had over four hundred applications, so we know that there is very strong interest in first time owners getting houses. That’s very encouraging for us. At this moment many persons are out gathering documentation that we need to do the assessment, as to whether they are able to borrow the funding that they would like for their homes. We are taking to opportunity at the same time to educate the persons whio come into the bank, showing them what they are able to afford on the salary that they make. The bank is really a professionally run institution, that people get money and people repay it. When they repay, that money is use for other people to get loans. Also we are definitely committed, in the next few months, to start taking deposits, both from individuals but also institutional deposits. so that we can increase the amount of money, not only for mortgage financing but actually for other things. But in the next few months we will be taking deposits.
Looking into the future, Joy Grant sees the institution reaching out across the country and says Belizeans should not fear investing in something that will help them.
Joy Grant – Senator:
At this point, people have come into the bank and said, “Do we have to bring our account over, at this time?” Because we don’t have an ATM and we don’t have all the services, we are not insisting on that. That is not linked to loans per say, but I could see many people who get loans from the organization wanting to do that. But this will be for all Belizeans who want to come and deposit their money at the National Bank of Belize. The money will be safe at the National Bank of Belize. You have to have trust in the institution, and I am saying that the Government of Belize will not set up an institution that they are not prepared to see function well.
Further equity adding to the initial twenty million source funds from Petrocaribe will be sought by Christmas. In addition to Senator Grant the board is comprised of: Vice Chairman Marion Palacio, Managing Director Jose Marin, Petrocaribe’s John Mencias and Directors Dylan Reneau and Hector Sabido.