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Caricom looks at threat to finance sector

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PLACENCIA, Belize—Ahead of last night’s opening of the Caricom Heads of Government Inter-Sessional meeting in Belize, Finance Ministers met yesterday morning to discuss a regional response to a threat to the banking sector in member states.

The issue is the threat to correspondent banking relationships, or the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by regional indigenous banks.

Several international banks, mainly in the United States and Europe, have signalled to client banks in the region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business. The so-called “de-risking” by the global banks threatens to impact several critical services, including remittance transfers.

Caricom Heads have established a Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Gaston Browne, to lead the response to this issue. The Committee is supported by leading regional institutions including the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG), the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

Recommendations from the Committee’s meeting are expected to go before the Heads during their deliberations today and tomorrow.