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The First Banking Services

It is a booming economy. Soon there will be three banks in San Pedro, three of the most powerful banks in Belize- Atlantic Bank, Belize Bank and Alliance Bank. You would think that banking has been on this island from the time the community was founded in 1948. But no, our history in banking does not go so far back.

Actually the first bank to set its foot in San Pedro was Scotia Bank. It was the first one to offer services to the fishermen and a few tourist guides that lived on the island in the late 1970’s. Scotia Bank used to send one or two clerks once a week to offer banking services. The first office was located downstairs of Mr. Miguel Rivero’s house where Amy’s Store is presently located on Pelican Street. After some time, it moved its office on front street right across from the Catholic Church. The building used to belong to one Lucy Rosado, who later on sold to Mash Hardware. At times the business was so slow that the girls would come out on the street to enjoy the shade and the breeze. Other times you could find them nodding at the counter and they were delighted to have a customer drop in to do some business, or at least to chat. A metal box with cash used to be flown in once a week and there was no security guard with weapon or anything to protect the box. They simply got into a jeep and drove off to the office. Deposits, withdrawals, and perhaps money orders were some of the few services offered. I doubt there were any loans or larger transactions.

Exactly why Scotia Bank closed its sub-office here in San Pedro is unknown to me, but I am sure they are sorry they closed for today they would be among the leading competitive banks offering service to this booming business community of Ambergris Caye.

The next bank to offer services to San Pedro was Atlantic Bank, and they commenced with full banking services every day of the week. Their first office was a rented space at the Spindrift Building. When Belize Bank commenced its services to Belize, one of the first places where they offered sub office was San Pedro. They have gone through massive expansion and are presently under construction with a spanking new building of their own. It is only a matter of time for Atlantic to expand its already large and comfortable setting. And as for The Alliance Bank, in a short time the people of San Pedro will be able to give it its rating. Indeed banking has come a long way in the past 25 five years. Twenty Five Years Ago salutes you and congratulates you for your vision of San Pedro.

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