Belize City, Belize, April 18, 2013
– IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping Belize establish its
first credit reporting system, which will allow financial institutions
to share credit information and better manage lending risks, thereby expanding
access to finance for individual borrowers and small businesses.
With support from the Canadian International
Development Agency, IFC and the Central Bank of Belize are co-hosting the
third Caribbean Credit Reporting Conference today in Belize City. The conference
will bring together representatives from financial institutions, credit
unions, utilities, insurance companies and central banks in the region
to build awareness and deepen knowledge of credit reporting systems. IFC
organized previous conferences in St. Kitts and Nevis and Jamaica in 2012.
“A credit reporting system is key to
the development of a sound economy,” said Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, Deputy
Governor of the Central Bank of Belize. “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
In developed countries, information
technology has led to the collection and distribution of vast amounts of
financial information, greatly deepening access to credit. However, credit
markets in many Caribbean economies have traditionally been thin, and access
to finance has been constrained due to a lack of information about borrowers’
credit histories. Establishing the legal and regulatory frameworks for
a credit reporting system and helping financial institutions more accurately
evaluate borrowers’ credit risks increases the availability of credit
and lowers borrowing costs.
IFC has helped the Bank of Guyana pass
credit reporting legislation and regulations. The Bahamas, Belize, Haiti,
the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and Suriname are developing
credit reporting legislation with support from IFC.
“IFC’s Caribbean Credit Bureau Program
plays a critical role in increasing access to finance and promoting financial
stability,” said Jun Zhang, IFC Senior Manager for the Caribbean. “By
working in partnership with the Central Bank of Belize, we can help build
the infrastructure needed so financial institutions can make informed credit
decisions on a vast number of individuals who have previously been underserved
by the financial community because of a lack of credit information.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth
by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial
markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments.
In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion,
leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation,
and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.