Persons with loans owing to offshore banks (financial entities not domiciled in the country) do not currently pay the 15 per cent remission tax because these banks pay a special tax of 125,000 dollars.
That will change if a bill to amend the Law of Central Bank Capitalization is passed by the Legislative Assembly.
Banking authorities want to discourage offshore loans because they are beyond the supervision and control of the Central Bank. They also want all borrowers to operate under the same conditions.
"The idea is to level the playing field," said Central Bank President Francisco Gutiérrez.
In the past two years, over $2 billion worth of financing for large enterprises in Guatemala has been provided by large Colombian banks.
The main participant is Bancolombia, which in 2010 and 2011 was involved in syndicated loans for over $1 billion, including the acquisition of Deorsa and Deocsa by Britain's Actis, the extension of Ingenio Magdalena and financing for Cementos Progreso and Cabcorp.
Central American banks accumulate $61.119 billion in assets, and 55% of its capital is of foreign origin
The blog "From Guatemala" publishes an analysis that describes the different degrees of internationalization of the banking systems of the region, from the Salvadorian banking system, where 95% of assets belong to foreign banks to the cases of the National Bank of Costa Rica and the Industrial de Guatemala, the largest banks of the isthmus, both based on local capital.
The assets of Central America's banks are growing by more than US$9 billion a year and the presence of foreign capital is growing in the sector.
At the end of last year, the total assets of the region's 76 banks came to US$58.8 billion, a 16.4 percent increase on 2006, and 47 of them were foreign controlled or had foreign participation in their capital.
Arguing an attempt to control credit growth in dollars, the Central Bank will apply a reserve limit of 15% to banks that receive lines of foreign funding in that currency.
The banking sector has opposed the measure, asserting that it will result in an increase in the cost of credit in dollars, affecting the business sector, especially exporters and importers who normally resort to credit lines in dollars to finance their operations abroad.
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