Moneylenders (Amendment) Act

The Moneylenders (Amendment) Act, 2017 (MLA), was passed by Parliament in December 2016, with an effective implementation date of 1 April 2017.   The MLA (i) modernizes the regulatory regime in accordance with international standards; (ii) enhances supervisory and enforcement powers; (iii) allows for greater  transparency  in  the  application  /  licensing  process;  and  (iv)  ensures  people  connected  with moneylending business are fit and proper to be involved in the sector.

 
The MLA designates the Central Bank of Belize as Registrar of Moneylenders and, among others, includes provisions for:
• Prudential regulation and AML/CFT supervision
• Fit and proper requirements
• Powers to issue regulations and guidelines
• Powers to take enforcement action including issuing directives and imposing administrative penalties
• Penalties for unlicensed moneylending and abusive lending practices
• Requiring the implementation of compliance policies, systems and controls
• Requiring the appointment of a compliance officer to oversee and monitor compliance with the Act

The Moneylenders Regulations, 2017 (Regulations) was published in the Belize Government Gazette on 25 November 2017. The Regulations aim to strengthen the regulatory framework for the moneylenders sector by providing further clarification for:
• Application and licence fees for new and existing licences
• Moneylenders’ responsibilities and restrictions for contributions towards compliance inspections, interest, late interest, permitted fees and charges
• Recordkeeping and reporting requirements
• Disciplinary measures and enforcement actions