Caribbean Banks Shunned

Those active in the Caribbean may need to rethink their banking requirements. Increasingly, local banks are losing access to the global payments system because of severed correspondent-banking relationships. The major international banks see little benefit—and disproportionate risk—in keeping their Caribbean ties in place. While there are pockets of money-laundering concern, the ricochet effect has been dramatic. The World Bank reports that almost all Caribbean jurisdictions have reported significant-to-moderate declines in their correspondent-banking relationships. The front line of this risk aversion is a collapsing remittance business, but businesses and high-net-worth individuals are also being impacted. The answer for many of these names may lie in the cryptocurrency industry, but the transition will frustrating until Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others become more widely embraced.

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Beyond Caparra

Turn Right for Roseau

To the uninitiated, the Caribbean can be a mind-boggling array of small islands, with a few large ones in the mix.

Man with Cigar

Become a geographer. Florida and the Caribbean have the same economic heft as Brazil. Our regional set includes the perimeter economies of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as the Guiana Highlands.

Relative Economic Size

Comments on this blog focus on Florida and neighboring trade partners. By output, we rank the major islands:

1. Puerto Rico ($103 billion)

2. Cuba ($78 billion)

3. Dominican Republic ($64 billion)

4. Trinidad and Tobago ($29 billion)

5. Jamaica ($14 billion)

Florida dominates the region with state-wide GDP of about $770 billion. The largest perimeter economy is Colombia at $378 billion, followed by Venezuela.

Note: Ranking is based on GDP data for 2014 at market prices.

Source: World Bank, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Cranganore.