BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved funding of US$250,000 to strengthen financial transparency, and assist in preventing the loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) in the region.
In the Caribbean, CBRs facilitate a number of payment systems, including international trade, cross-border payments and receiving of remittances. Recently, some large international banks have started terminating or severely limiting their CBRs with smaller local and regional banks, in an effort to reduce exposure to risks associated with money-laundering and financing of terrorism.
This process, known as de-risking, has negative implications for the Caribbean, potentially resulting in the loss of trade relationships and negative economic impacts.
“CBRs are fundamental to the efficient operation and resilience of the global financial system. This project will contribute to a more stable financial system in the Caribbean, which will in turn allow more banks to access CBRs, so that they can continue to carry out international transactions. This is critical if the Caribbean is to reduce poverty and spur economic development,” said Daniel Best, director of projects at the CDB.
The project will be a pilot initiative, and will include The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, and members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It has three components:
• Strengthening the implementation of, and compliance with, international financial integrity standards by governments in the region, including updating laws and regulations as required.
• Increasing the technical capacity of banks and credit unions in the Caribbean to conduct customer due diligence, and adopt anti-money laundering best practices. This will include training for staff at financial institutions.
• Improving public-private sector coordination with regulators to more effectively address de-risking and develop a mechanism for ongoing dialogue between this group and external regulators and foreign banks.
The project will be implemented over three years in partnership with the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. MIF will also manage the project. Components two and three will be executed by the Office of the Secretary of the Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas.