BANK of AMERICA halts all WIRE TRANSFERS to/from BELIZE: American expats left HIGH and DRY

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
By Paul Martin
August 12, 2015

Bank of America issued a statement July 28, halting Atlantic International Bank wire transfers, U.S. dollar bank drafts, and foreign currency transfers to and from Belize.

chl bofaAccording to the statement, Bank of America is exploring options for the flow of incoming and outgoing wires and hopes to find a solution to the issue. The issue is called de-risking and is in compliance with the regulations currently imposed on Caribbean and Central American regions by large U.S. and European banks. This process has severed ties with several smaller banking institutions.

The move caught U.S. expats in Belize by surprise and threatened to derail several real estate closings that were awaiting wire transfers. Several foreigners said they planned to change banks but others said they believed that all U.S. banks would soon follow suit.

“It’s another example of the U.S. government and banking system restricting the flow of people’s hard-earned money,” said Wilbur Simmons, a real estate investor.

De-risking is when a corresponding bank looks at the bank’s rating according to Caribbean Financial Action Task Force standards for the region. If the rating is good then they continue to do business and they extend the level of business that they do. But, if the rating is poor, then they cancel any agreements with that bank.

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