THE Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) is looking to expand its membership, covering institutions that are not indigenous to the region.
Given that issues which affect banks that are native to the Caribbean also affect non-indigenous banks, the CAB has invited international financial institutions that operate in the region to become a part of its membership.
"A bigger and better association could affect policy change more significantly," said Carlton Barclay, chairman of the CAB.
Adding that the CAB already has a strong presence in the Caribbean, Barclay told the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange that it has already shown how it can benefit non-native Caribbean banks through advocacy.
The CAB has observer status on the Caribbean Community (Caricom) body of finance and planning, and has affiliated financial institutions in 24 regional countries.
The advocacy group has the potential to influence change and development within the region, Barclay said. He added that the association can address financial issues that are destructive to growth within member states.
The areas of concern in the financial services sector are rapid technological developments, identity theft and the implementation of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
The CAB, formerly the Caribbean Association of Indigenous Banks, was formed to look after the interest of regional banks. Barclay said the key function is to influence changes in policies that affect the various interest groups.
It currently represents 58 general, service and associate member organisations and ensures that members are kept abreast of legislative, regulatory and market developments that influence or impact the future of the banking and financial services industry.
Jamaica will host the CAB's 39th Annual General Meeting and Conference in November. During the three-day event, regional and international economists will address issues that have implications for the financial sector of the Caribbean. Areas up for discussion are strategic integration, operations, and information technology, with reference to credit bureau, micro-finance and remittance, Barclay said.
Local members of CAB include, National Commercial Bank, Jamaica National Building Society, Capital and Credit Merchant Bank, First Global Bank, and Jamaica Money Market Brokers.