Finance sector threat to get regional attention

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Head Table
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Antigua and Barbuda Hon. Gaston Brown (2nd right) chairing this morning’s meeting. He is joined at the Head Table by CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (2nd left), Assistant Secretary-General Mr. Joseph Cox (right) and Evelyn Wayne , CARICOM Secretariat.

Placencia, Belize, 15 Feb, 2016:   Ahead of Monday night’s Opening of the CARICOM Heads of Government Inter-Sessional meeting in Belize,  Finance Ministers are deliberating  this morning on 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 mainly the Regional indigenous banks. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signaled 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 established a Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. 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).

The recommendations from the Committee’s meeting this morning are expected to go before the Heads during their deliberations on Tuesday and Wednesday in Placencia, Belize.