Trade and Project Financing - Bahamas Business Guide

Bahamian banks tend to be far more conservative than their American counterparts in making business loans, often asking for high levels of collateral. At the end of 1996, the prime lending rate in The Bahamas was unchanged at 6.75 percent. Commercial bank rates for residential and commercial mortgages ranged from 10.06 percent - 10.87 percent, respectively. Consumer loan rates were 14.69 percent.

The Bahamas Development Bank (BD) was created to assist Bahamians in establishing new businesses or expanding existing concerns through the provision of concessionary funding and technical assistance, for projects which generate jobs and which contribute to the economic growth and development of The Bahamas. Joint ventures between international investors and Bahamians are eligible to access funding from BDB or from the domestic capital market. Bahamians may, however, borrow a percentage of their contributions from BDB or the domestic capital market. An established joint-venture is not debarred from accessing BDB funds.

Recently, there has been talk in the financial sector about eliminating exchange controls. The government has already allowed commercial banks limited exchange control powers. Local financiers believe that eliminating exchange controls will increase investor confidence, facilitate the free flow of currency in and out of the economy, and enable the government to measure the performance of the economy accurately.

The Bahamas is a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and EXIMBANK financing is available.

U.S. commercial banks operating in The Bahamas include:

BRITISH-AMERICAN BANK P. O. Box N-7502 Nassau, Bahamas Tel: (242) 327-5170 Fax: (242) 327-5166
CITIBANK BAHAMAS P. O. Box N-8158 Nassau, Bahamas Tel: (242) 322-4240 Fax: (242) 323-3088

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