Carribean countries get cut off from the international banking system as U.S. banks pull out due to tighter controls and risk aversion. Colette Luke reports.
The aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis still being felt far from Wall Street in the Caribbean where tighter controls and aversion to risk have left nations such as Belize essentially cut off from the international banking system. Yeganeh Torbati traveled to Belize and saw first hand the effects of the trend known as "de-banking" or "de-risking." SOUNDBITE: YEGANEH TORBATI, REPORTER, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I went down to Belize city, interviewed different Belizean owners.. Belize is really ground-zero for this trend, only 2 belize banks maintain any relationships of U.S. banks and the businesses that I spoke to told me it used to take them moments to clear transactions to pay their suppliers in the U.S. or abroad, but now they really have to set aside weeks" U.S. banks like Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo have been pulling out of the Caribean altogether. SOUNDBITE: YEGANEH TORBATI, REPORTER, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Carribean countries because they're small they don't have much of a manufacturing base, they depend disportionately on trade as well. Those banking links are used by the world's poorest people to send funds back and forth, and they often keep entire families out of poverty with their wages. That raises real concerns among the World Bank and other international organizations that the global goal of financial inclusion is really being hampered by this trend."