Risks of Banking in Belize [Banking in Belize]

The risks of banking in Belize are different for each client. However, Belize risks include reputation risks, regulation risks, economic risks, and more.

The risks of banking in Belize can range from loose regulations to lost correspondent banking relationships and everything in between.

But, the primary concerns for non-residents relate to accessing their money, making transfers, and managing their accounts.

In this article, we’re going to help you navigate these risks and share several important factors you should consider before opening bank accounts in the country.

We will also be answering common questions that we receive from our members when considering opening accounts in Belize.

This article is part of our free series on initiating an account set up in Belize, which you can access by clicking here right now.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Risks of Banking in Belize
  2. Is Belize Safe for Banking?
  3. Offshore Bank Accounts for Non-Residents in Belize
  4. Frequently Asked Belize Banking Questions
  5. Ready to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

Risks of Banking in Belize

There are three main risks to consider before banking in Belize, which include (1) bank-specific risks, (2) economic country risks, and (3) banking regulation risks. That said, there are also a number of important nuances that can make non-resident banking in Belize very frustrating. We’ll discuss each of these banking risks and the additional nuances in detail below. 

Is Belize Safe for Banking?

Yes, Belize is safe for banking if you choose the right banks and bankers, and maintain reasonable deposits that match your risk tolerance. That said, we do not generally suggest consumer finance services through a personal bank account in Belize unless you have limited other alternatives, require a local Belizean currency account or an FX account, or have a very specific reason for wanting to bank in Belize.

Additionally, like banking in any country, if you choose an institution firm from the list of banks operating in Belize that has poor management, irresponsible lending, and investing practices, weak correspondent relationships, and does not maintain adequate capital and liquidity ratios, it will not be “safe”. But, again, this is true anywhere in the world.

These factors are important to consider, especially if you are looking to open an account with a low deposit amount, transfer funds globally, send money to Belize, or are looking for remote opening.

As mentioned, there are three broad risk factors that you should consider before opening accounts, especially if you’re looking for business lending through a business bank account in Belize, which are bank-specific risks, economic country risks, and banking regulation risks. Each of these factors is explained in detail below.

Bank-Specific Risks in Belize

Not all financial institutions, including the leading banking enterprises and the largest banks in Belize, are created equal. This is a given. Certain banks are better managed, better capitalized, and worth considering over others. This is especially true when you are looking to bank in Belize as a non-resident.

That said, unlike many larger jurisdictions, banks in Belize cannot settle foreign currency transactions directly. Instead, they are completely dependent on external correspondent banking relationships.

This means, that if a Belize bank were to lose a correspondent relationship, all cash on deposit in the bank would effectively be frozen. Leaving clients with no access to their money until the bank gets another correspondent banking relationship established. And unfortunately, correspondent banking relationships don’t just appear overnight.

In addition to Bealizen banks not being able to settle foreign currency transactions directly, banks here also have limited deposit protection and limited financial services.

So, before you consider opening an international bank account in Belize, it’s important to consider the strength of each bank’s correspondent relationships, the product options and banking services they offer, and how much money you want to maintain in an account.

Economic Country Risks of Belize

Like some offshore banking jurisdictions, Belize has experienced political and economic instability. Unfortunately, this can have a large impact on the stability of Belize’s banking system.

In fact, Belize has a recent history of banking difficulties and failures. For example, between 2013 and 2016, Belize banks lost 83% of their correspondent relationships. And with de-risking still on the rise, Belize’s financial sector is, unfortunately, being negatively impacted.

With this in mind, we don’t typically suggest opening an overseas account or banking offshore in Belize as a non-resident. Instead, we suggest taking a close look at your client profile, understanding your banking needs, and determining whether or not opening a bank account in Belize is the right decision for you. In most cases, you will likely find a more suitable banking option elsewhere.

Banking Regulation Risks of Belize

Belize is well known for loose regulations. And while this may attract certain banking clients who struggle to open accounts elsewhere, it isn’t the best banking option for most non-residents.

In short, Belize’s banking system has limited regulatory oversight compared to many other countries. This can unfortunately increase the risk of fraud, money laundering, account freezes, account closures, and more.

Additionally, there is an overall lack of transparency in Belize’s banking system. In other words, banks here don’t always disclose account access protocols, banking requirements, compliance obligations, and other banking information, which can make it very difficult for non-resident applicants to understand the challenges and risks associated with a specific bank. For this reason, it’s also important to understand the financial institution’s fee structure and Belizean banking costs before applying to open an account here.

While we don’t think Belize is a sound choice for most people, we do understand it may be the only banking option available to you. Of course, this will ultimately depend on your client profile, residency, banking needs, and other contributing factors. In fact, when the right bank is chosen, there are special deals and benefits to banking in Belize, which you can learn more about by clicking here and accessing our free guide.

Do You Want to Explore All Your Offshore Banking Options?

Offshore Bank Accounts for Non-Residents in Belize

Offshore bank accounts for non-residents in Belize are available. In fact, opening deposits are relatively low compared to elsewhere, and remote opening is 100% possible.

However, whether or not Belize is the best option for you depends on your residency status, desired deposit, desired services, and the reason for opening an account. In most cases, you will likely find more suitable banking options and services elsewhere.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the cons of Belize’s financial system.

Cons of Banking in Belize’s Financial System as a Non-Resident Client

  • Limited regulatory oversight
  • Political & economic risks
  • Limited deposit protection
  • Limited banking services
  • Archaic online banking
  • Costly and timely transfers
  • History of bank failures
  • Ongoing de-risking of banks

Frequently Asked Belize Banking Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people asking about the risks of banking in Belize. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Which Bank Is Best in Belize for Foreigners?

Which bank is best in Belize for foreigners depends on each applicant’s client profile, desired banking services, and risk tolerance. That said, there are only a handful of banks that a non-resident can choose from in the country. With this in mind, it’s important that foreigners carefully consider their application and bank before submitting as they will have few chances to successfully open an account.

What Are the Risks of International Banking?

The risks of international banking will ultimately depend on the country you choose to bank in, the bank you choose to open with, and the services you require. However, specific risks to look for when banking internationally include political and economic risks, foreign exchange risks, credit risks, operational risks, reputational risks, and regulatory risks. That said, most of these risks also exist when banking in your home country and you may find that many domestic banks are riskier than banks that can you access in some of the top-rated international banking jurisdictions.

Ready to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

If so, you can access GlobalBanks Insider and start the process of applying for an offshore account in a few clicks.

GlobalBanks Insider is a dedicated account opening solution that involves direct support from our team and direct introductions to the banks of your choosing. It gives you instant access to the…

+ Direct support from a team of banking experts

+ Direct introductions to your desired banks

+ Answers to your most pressing questions and challenges

+ Expert insights on which banks to choose & why

+ Plus, FULL access to our entire suite of account opening tools and intelligence!

And “yes!” GlobalBanks Insider is designed to help foreign and non-resident individuals and companies open bank accounts.

Use this link to see how GlobalBanks Insider can help you successfully open accounts.

Share This Article on Your Favorite Platform
GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

Sorry, but you cannot copy the content on this page.