International Money Lending
The International Financial Services Commission has been empowered by the International Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Act 2007 (No. 8 of 2007) to grant licenses to conduct international money lending business in or from within Belize.
By the International Money Lending (Short Term and Unsecured Small Loans) Regulations 2008 (Statutory Instrument 76 of 2008) loans can be approved for “offshore lending” only (i.e. lending to non residents) no loans can be approved under these regulations to any residents of Belize. As the title of the regulations shows, these regulations deal with small and short term loans of the amount of US$5000.00 or less. Moreover the loans can be given only for household and personal purposes and not for business activities. Such loans are also called ‘Pay day loans’ as they are mostly taken by people who run short of money a few days before the next pay day and need a little cash.
We understand that the clientele for such loans is mainly in the United States and Canada. The loans will be concluded mostly ‘on-line’ and, as such, there will be no security for the loans. As the licensees will have a physical presence in Belize, it is expected that this activity helps create jobs for Belizeans. Regulation 19 provides that a minimum of 70% of all duties and activities relating to the performance of Lender’s business shall take place in Belize and shall be performed by Belizean residents, including loan underwriting, loan processing and generation of loan documents via computer servers located in Belize, etc.
The procedure for applying for an international money lending license is the same as set out in the International Financial Services Commission (Licensing) Regulations 2007 (Statutory Instrument 67 of 2007) which also contains an application form and the capital requirements.