If you are a citizen of a country that does not form part of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and you are seriously considering establishing a business in Barbados to serve local and regional markets, then one of the first things that you will want to know is the range of services available from the island’s banking sector, particularly access to short- and long-term capital.
Several of the products and services that banks offer to businesses in Canada, the USA and the UK are available in Barbados; however, in many instances the products and services may not be as comprehensive or as customized.
Despite its relatively small size, Barbados has a banking system that is not only quite sophisticated, but also prudently managed. In the 2011 edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, Barbados was ranked number 11 in the world on the soundness of its banks [See note 1]. This is not surprising given that much of Barbados’ finance related legislation is based on the Canadian model (the Canadian banking system was judged to be the most sound in the world in the same report [See note 2]).
Three of Canada’s largest banks have maintained a presence in Barbados for over a half century and one major US banking entity has recently entered the commercial banking arena. These institutions along with strong regional banks and smaller, well managed and innovative finance companies comprise the island’s financial institutions. These institutions can provide investors with a range of efficient banking services, such as cash management, factoring and electronic payroll services, as well as several options for short-term borrowing and credit, asset-financing, project-financing and mortgage financing.
The following information is designed to give you an overview of the banking and financial services available to foreign investors wishing to establish businesses in Barbados. It also provides information on other avenues that exist for raising capital on the island and also addresses some of the restrictions that apply to prospective investors seeking to borrow funds or raise capital from local financial institutions.