With a lack of foreign exchange, international regulatory pressure and shortage of bankable risks, Belize's young banking system still has serious deficits.
Few Belizean farmers hoping to improve the quality of their
citrus harvest bother to apply for a loan at one of the
country's five commercial banks. Lending rates average 15%-16%
in Belize and are considerably lower than in other parts of
Belize has a
population of 232,000, five commercial
banks and a handful of credit unions.
The trouble is that the bank will require collateral, and
since Belize has no reliable system of land records, few
farmers have deeds. As a result, few farmers can borrow.
"Titling is a total mess here, as it is in many former
British colonies," says Hugo Souza, the Inter-American
Development Bank's country representative in Belize. "A lot of
farmers in the south can't access credit because they don't
have titles to their land. Our land management program is aimed
at developing the capital markets." The IDB has approved
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