After over five decades, Scotiabank’s era has come to an end in Belize. The prominent and well lit signs on all its branches in Belize were taken down on 31 March in time for Holy Friday, the most sacred day in Belize’s Easter holiday calendar, small, green and blue signs were seen hungover on the eponymous Scotia Bank’s red and cream buildings with the new brand, “Belize Bank Corporation Limited (BBCL)”.
In June last year Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited purchased Scotiabank Belize Limited. And now, four months after approval by the Central Bank the changeover is complete.
In an email to its customers, Scotiabank detailed some changes that they can expect. The email tells customers who use mobile or online banking that they will have to switch over to a BBCL application or website. If you are used to receiving transaction alerts via email or text when using your debit or credit cards, this service will be discontinued. In terms of deposit and loan products, the BBCL will continue with these. And while those details of the changeover may bedevil customers for a few weeks, in the long term, what emerges now is the largest commercial bank holding in Belize.
In a letter sent to Scotia Bank Belize customers on 31 March 2021, it was announced that “The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) and its subsidiary, Scotiabank Caribbean Holdings Limited, have entered into an agreement with Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited (CIHL), to sell Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd (SBL) to CIHL. After the completion of the transaction, SBL will be renamed Belize Bank Corporation Limited (BBCL) and will become a wholly owned subsidiary of CIHL. All SBL’s current employees will remain with the company and will continue to serve customers in Belize.
“As a part of our agreement with CIHL, Scotiabank will support BBCL for a period following the closing of the sale through the provision of certain services to help ensure a smooth transition.”
The transfer is not going smoothly for some customers. A call placed on 2 April 2021 to Scotia Bank’s call centre located in the Dominican Republic, had a a heavily Spanish-language accented employee unable to give more information other than that given by the letter, such as to when to change over foreign wire transfer details. The withdrawal of ScotiaBank from Belize is seen as part of a process described by noted Caribbean commentator Sir Ronald Saunders as “Quite extraordinarily, the major Canadian banks that established in the Commonwealth Caribbean did so on a letter of comfort; they did not invest a cent in capital, other than what was needed to satisfy the start-up of operations. From the time they opened their doors to now when they are closing them, Canadian banks were mere custodians of the assets of Caribbean people or people benefitting from doing business in the Caribbean. The only things they owned were the few buildings that they bought or built, and the large profits they made for many decades – all of which were repatriated to Canada for the benefit of their shareholders and the Canadian economy.”
Scotia Bank has made minor repairs to branch buildings it owns outright, while leased branches are falling into disrepair. The Belize Bank already owns or leases its own buildings in Belize and due to the merger implemented under the new Peoples United Party, it has become the largest single bank in Belize – for now. The native Belizean investor owned Atlantic Bank is reportedly reaching out to former Scotia Bank customers and has become more active in its web, social media and television advertising and marketing promotions.
New Belize Bank Foreign Wire Transfer Coordinates For Former Scotia Bank Belize Customers
SWIFT Wire Transfers:
For those customers who use SWIFT for incoming and outgoing wire payments, please note that the SBL Bank Identification Code (BIC) will no longer be valid for these transactions. For those customers who routinely receive incoming wire payments in USD, you will need to advise your remitters to utilize the following wiring coordinates:
|Receiver’s Correspondent (SWIFT Field 54) USD Citibank N.A. New York 111 Wall Street New York, NY USA SWIFT BIC: CITIUS33||Intermediary Bank (SWIFT Field 56) Crown Agents Bank Quadrant House Sutton UK SWIFT BIC: CRASGB2L||Beneficiary Bank (SWIFT Field 57) Belize Bank Limited 60 Market Square Belize City, Belize SWIFT BIC: BBLZBZBZ|
Please call the number 0‑800‑227‑4648 for further clarification.
The above bank routing information was sent out to Scotia Bank customers under the hand of Scotia Bank Belize managing director Sarah Hobbs, but see below for updated information.
6 April 2021 Update by the Belize.com Editors: After speaking to a very knowledgeable and kind Belize Bank Belizean national representative, we are informed that the correct number to call is 0-800-227-2200, and NOT the 4648 number above. Calls to the previous number are going unanswered. You can also call the Belize Bank in Belize direct at +501-227 7132. You can also WhatsApp the Belize Bank at +501-613-0257 or email them: firstname.lastname@example.org