May 14, 2012 Lord Ashcroft and Prime Minister Barrow’s Peace Talk

If you felt the ground shake on Friday night, that is because there is a major shift in relations between the government and Lord Michael Ashcroft. Ashcroft, the man who has been at the epicenter of an open war by the government in the past three years and in endless litigation in local and overseas courts, was in Belize last week. The occasion was a celebration to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Belize Bank. The guests assembled at the Radisson Hotel and the Prime Minister delivered the keynote address and unveiled the new logo and tagline for the Bank. There, came the first public statement by Prime Minister Dean Barrow in respect of the Ashcroft’s group of companies. In a well crafted address on the ongoing Central Bank dispute with the Belize Bank, the PM signaled that cooperation not confrontation was the way forward.
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(Story featured in The Reporter Newspaper)

Atlantic Bank in Belize City has announced that through financial collaboration with the IFC  and the Canadian International Development Agency, the bank will  have more than $15 million for onlending to small and medium development enterprises in Belize.

This new infusion of cash represents a 40 percent increase in A.B’s SME portfolio over the next five years.

Announcing the good news this week Atlantic’s General Manager in Belize, Mrs. Sandra Bedran said:“We welcome IFC as a partner in our effort to create a sustainable and prosperous business environment for our SMEs, and look forward to helping the country diversify and increase economic activity where it is most needed.”

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. IFC creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and through the delivery of advisory services to ensure sustainable development.

In a time of global economic uncertainty, IFC’s new investments climbed to a record $19 billion in fiscal 2011.

Atlantic Bank is Belize’s third largest bank in terms of assets and loans disbursed. The bank has 15 locations across the country and works with individuals, small businesses, and corporations, offering a wide range of banking products and services including credit cards, online banking, savings and deposits, payroll  and merchant services.

Atlantic Bank Ltd, established more than 40 years ago, is a 55-percent owned subsidiary of Sociedad Nacional de Inversiones, S.A. of Honduran.

Atlantic Bank has not indicated what rate structures it will put in place for its development loans.

It is anticipated it may have to compete with credit unions which now offer personalized loans at the rate of one percent a month on the remaining balance.



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