5 Benefits of Online Banking with GBTI

GBTI strives to provide a full range of financial products to people throughout Guyana. Part of the bank’s suite of offerings is electronic banking, which is accessible from any Internet-enabled device at any time of day. Knowing that security is extremely important, GBTI offers a guarantee for the safety and security of its online banking system with automatic logouts and unique login credentials. Electronic banking is free to all GBTI customers, and people can sign up online or at any of the bank’s branches. Customers do not need to load any new software onto a device in order to access mobile banking, as they can sign in directly from the GBTI website. However, the bank offers an app that can be downloaded to your phone for easy access. Online banking offers a number of great benefits for banking customers:

1. Instant account access

One of the primary benefits of electronic banking is that it offers easy account access regardless of the time or place provided that you have Internet access. You can easily check your balance before making a purchase in order to create a more realistic budget. This instant access is also helpful for tracking direct deposits from employers or other money placed in an account in order to ensure sure that everything is accurate and up to date. If you notice an issue, you can quickly address it. However, you can also go back several years to ensure that your accounts are accurate. Without electronic access to your accounts, it can prove difficult to keep track of your money.

2. Tracking your transactions

Transactions are instantly recorded, and electronic banking makes it simple to ensure that the charges are accurate. Mistakes happen, and sometimes businesses enter incorrect charges. With online banking, you can quickly catch mistakes and ensure that they are immediately fixed. Also, it is sometimes beneficial to know whether a transaction has cleared your account. Plus, electronic banking makes it easier to catch unauthorized transactions so that you can dispute them immediately instead of weeks down the road when you finally look over your statement. Keeping track of your transactions is an important part of budgeting, particularly if you are trying to cap spending in a particular area. For example, you can subtract transactions from your clothing budget as soon as they occur rather than wait to see what you spent at the end of the month.

3. Easy fund transfers

GBTI offers its customers checking and savings accounts, as well as credit cards. All of these accounts can be accessed online, and transfers between them can be easily initiated. Depending on how you manage your money, you may choose to make deposits directly into your savings account or alternately transfer funds between your checking and savings accounts on a regular basis. Doing so with the click of a button will save you time and energy, as compared to initiating the transaction in person at a GBTI branch. Also, you may be able to save money on transaction fees by handling them online. These easy transfers make it simple to set up multiple accounts for different purposes. For example, you may want to create multiple savings accounts for retirement and vacation, as well as a down payment for a home in order to avoid mixing them up in a single account.

4. Schedule bill payments

GBTI enables users to pay their utility bills online through an electronic banking portal. These payments can be scheduled to transfer directly from a GBTI account in order to avoid the need to write a check each month. Furthermore, the payments can be scheduled so that you never forget a payment, which could trigger late charges. Online payments are instantaneous, so they are immediately reflected in your account. Furthermore, you will not need to worry about a check becoming lost in the mail or forgetting about the payment before it is processed. GBTI has a helpful feature on its website that takes customers through the process of signing up for this service.

5. Online service requests

Many of the services offered at a GBTI branch can be completed online, which saves people a trip to the office while ensuring that the process is completed in a timely manner. For example, you can place a stop payment on a check or other process that was incorrect before it is completed. Moreover, the online portal makes it easy to check on the status of loan accounts, as well as any checks that have been sent or received. All account statements can be easily accessed online, which can prove helpful if you need to submit financial records for a loan or other applications. On the portal, you can also change your mailing address and other account details. A more complete list of these features is available through GBTI’s electronic banking platform at GBTIBank.com.

7 Ways That Companies Can Show Their Commitment to Sustainability

Consumers are becoming increasingly conscientious about their purchasing decisions and are often choosing companies committed to sustainability. GBTI offers green loans that can help companies adopt more environmentally friendly practices. Often, companies believe that going green involves time and money. Certainly, some of the options for making business processes more sustainable do involve a significant investment, which is where GBTI loans can help. Read on to learn about some steps that companies can take to demonstrate their commitment to the environment.

1. Use green web hosting.

Virtually all companies need to have an online presence. In order to launch a website, companies will need to find a web hosting provider. Business leaders may not know that green web hosts exist. These providers plant trees and buy carbon offsets, in addition to using renewable energy, in order to mitigate the environmental impact of maintaining infrastructure and running servers. The majority of these green web hosting companies actually charge the same as other options that are more reliant on fossil fuels. Some options may actually be cheaper, which means that companies can go green while ultimately saving money.

2. Replace the lightbulbs in your office.

One of the primary ways that energy is used in an office environment is for lighting. However, not all lighting is created equal when it comes to energy use. Companies can invest in compact-fluorescent or LED lights to help reduce their energy consumption in the office. While these bulbs cost more money upfront, they last significantly longer than more traditional options and use much less energy than incandescent lighting. With these replacements, companies can actually end up saving a great deal on their energy bills. Best of all, the replacements can be gradual, so there is no need for a huge upfront investment. Instead, bulbs can simply be switched over as they burn out.

3. Use post-consumer waste supplies.

An easy way for companies to go green is by reducing their use of paper. Nowadays, many business processes can be handled online, so companies’ reliance on paper is much less today than it was even a decade ago. However, green companies sometimes need to use paper products and packaging. When this need arises, companies can switch to post-consumer waste products. Importantly, companies should always investigate the source of these products. Companies can demonstrate their dedication to green processes by going the extra mile and ensuring that the products they purchase are truly made of recycled materials. Post-consumer waste products take less energy to produce and keep material out of landfills.

4. Purchase biodegradable cleaners.

When companies consider adopting greener practices, they may not realize how their cleaning supplies come into the picture. Biodegradable cleaning products have a number of important benefits. These products lack harsh toxins and chemicals that can harm the environment once they are rinsed down the drain or thrown into the trash. Also, using these types of cleaning products reduces employees’ exposure to harmful materials. Biodegradable products are often available in bulk, so companies do not need to pay much more for them.

5. Look for green energy sources.

In some parts of the world, companies can sign up for green power from their utility providers. This electricity is generated through renewable means, such as hydropower, plant matter, and wind. Keep in mind that green power options may be slightly more expensive. If companies do not have access to green power, they can always generate their own by investing in products such as solar panels. These panels can produce a surprising amount of energy and actually reduce utility bills. In some places, excess energy can even be fed back into the grid to provide companies with a credit on their utility bills.

6. Adopt a recycling policy.

A key to going green is recycling products. Companies that do not already have a recycling policy should move to figure out how one would work for them. However, many companies can adopt a recycling policy that is considered somewhat outside of the box. For example, instead of purchasing brand-new furniture, it could be possible to invest in vintage furniture for the office that provides a unique ambiance while offsetting the environmental impact of new pieces. Ensuring that the old furniture goes somewhere other than a landfill is also a great way to reinforce a company’s recycling mindset.

7. Embrace the cloud.

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way that companies approach their workflow. For many companies, the cloud has allowed them to become more green. Several companies now offer cloud-based solutions for businesses, ranging from Microsoft Office 365 to Google Apps. These apps make it possible to access and share information from anywhere in the world. In other words, the apps reduce reliance on paper while making collaboration possible across large spaces. Companies can rely less on travel and promote remote work, which will reduce the carbon emissions associated with commuting. Moreover, using the cloud eliminates the need for power-intensive servers, which will further save on energy bills.

6 Great Apps to Take Charge of Your Budgeting

Managing your personal and family finances can quickly become overwhelming. Luckily, a number of excellent tools exist than can help you to keep track of your spending and get a better picture of where your money is going so that you can make any necessary changes. As one of the core elements of personal finance, budgets are often an evolving concept, and people need a clear idea of their baseline spending as they create them. People may want to consider using one of several budgeting apps now available. These apps can vary quite a bit in terms of their functionality, from applying specific budgeting methods to helping people adhere to those guidelines to simply tracking how much money is spent and where. Fortunately, many of these tools are free and offered on a variety of different platforms. Here are a few of the top apps to consider:

1. YNAB

YNAB

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is an app designed for people who are committed to living within a budget. The app uses a zero-based budgeting system, which means that every dollar earned must be allocated to the overall budget. YNAB has a number of great features designed to enable people to budget effectively, including various workshops and budgeting advice. Individuals can set goals on the app and monitor their progress in order to ensure that they achieve them. While the app is not free, new users are not be charged for the first month. Students can use it for free for an even longer period. For many people, the wealth of resources offered through the app make the price worthwhile.

2. Goodbudget

Goodbudget

People who are interested in the envelope system of budgeting, which involves portioning out monthly income toward specific spending categories, should look into Goodbudget. This app provides access across a variety of devices so it is a great tool to use with partners and the entire family. Goodbudget does not automatically sync to a bank account like other apps, so people need to add the balances manually each month. Once this input is recorded, money is assigned to envelopes or specific spending categories. The free version of the app allows for one account across two devices with a limited number of envelopes, although individuals can pay to expand their access.

3. Mint

Mint

A free budgeting app, Mint has become one of the most popular choices for budgeting across the world. The app connects directly to a user’s financial accounts and updates balances and transactions in real-time. Furthermore, the app automatically categorizes transactions into various buckets, which eliminates much of the guesswork involved in the process. The major benefit of Mint is that it offers an updated picture of spending, so people always know exactly where they stand. Moreover, users can create their own special categories, track bills, and create alerts that will let individuals know when they exceed their spending threshold.

4. Personal Capital

Personal Capital

People with investments that they want to track along with their budget will benefit most from Personal Capital. This app is primarily an investment management tool that offers robo-advisor services and access to financial advisors. The app also includes tools to track spending and connects directly to credit cards, savings, and checking accounts, in addition to retirement accounts, loans, and mortgages. Users can view spending snapshots that are split into personally defined categories while also tracking their net worth and examining portfolio breakdowns. People with more complex financial needs may like Personal Capital more than other apps since it has such a broad reach and can accomplish much more than budgeting.

5. PocketGuard

PocketGuard

Anyone who believes that they do not need all the bells and whistles offered by many of the apps on this list can turn to PocketGuard. This apps boils budgeting down to a single question: How much can I spend? The app leverages personal data and information about budgeting goals to crunch the numbers and let people discover exactly how much they have to spend after bills and savings contributions. Users can quickly obtain a sense of how much money they have left for a given day, week, or month to answer the question of whether or not they can afford a purchase. PocketGuard also makes it possible to track categories, such as restaurant and clothing expenses.

6. Wally

Wally

Wally is a great choice for individuals seeking a no-frills approach to budgeting. The app tracks income and expenses and gives individuals an instant snapshot of the budget remaining for incidentals. Individuals can easily track this amount to avoid exceeding their budget. The app is free and offers versions for both iPhone and Android. Another major benefit of Wally is that it comes with built-in support for basically all foreign currencies. Thus, it is a great option for people who live outside of the United States, frequently travel, and make money in multiple currencies.

Spotlight on 7 Interesting Facts about Rice

Guyana is one of the top producers of rice in the Caribbean, and GBTI supports much of its agriculture through its loan services. In fact, GBTI has emerged as a leader in agricultural lending in Guyana, where agriculture is a key part of the overall economy. Rice is a staple food across a number of different cultures, yet few people understand how the crop is grown. As a staple food around the world, rice feeds more people than any other crop, so it is important to understand what makes this food so popular, from the ease of growing it to its nutritional value. The following are some interesting facts about rice:

1. All rice originates as brown rice.

While some people may think that brown and white rice are difference parts of the same plant, this is not a correct assumption. In reality, all rice starts out as brown rice, which is considered a whole grain since it has a bran, germ, and an endosperm. White rice results from removing the husk, bran, and germ of each grain. In addition, white rice is typically polished after this process, which makes it appear more uniform and palatable. Often, white rice is fortified with key nutrients such as iron and calcium. Brown rice has more protein than white rice, as well as large amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fat.

2. More than half the world consumes rice as a staple food.

Around the world, people consume rice in massive quantities. For example, in Asia, the typical person eats about 300 pounds of rice each year. However, people in Asia are not the largest consumers of rice. In the United Arab Emirates, the average person consumes 450 pounds of rice each year. Americans tend to eat over 20 pounds of rice on an annual basis. One of the countries in which individuals eat the least amount of rice is France, where the average person consumes an average of 10 pounds of rice per year.

3. Rice requires more cultivation than corn and wheat.

Aside from rice,the primary staple foods are corn and wheat. Rice actually requires more effort to grow than these other two foods. Farms grow rice from seeds in different beds. Once seedlings start to appear, the plants are relocated to flooded rice paddies, where they can finish growing. The plants can be grown on any continent except Antarctica, where the climate is too cold. Cultivating rice requires a large amount of water, as well as labor. Rice harvests occur once a year. The actual techniques involved in rice farming vary quite a bit between the East and West. In the West, lasers level the land, and airplanes are used to drop seeds. In the East, animals are used to plough fields, and the seeds are often planted by hand.

4. Rice is one of the oldest-known foods.

Archaeologists trace the consumption of rice back to about 2,000 BCE in China, which makes it the oldest-known food that is still widely consumed today. Moreover, cultivation first began throughout China, India, and Thailand in about 5,000 BCE. Merchants most likely carried the crop to the West, where it also became a popular crop. However, cultivation has always been more widespread in Asia than in other parts of the world. In India, Japan, and Thailand, rice is closely associated with specific goods, which made it an important part of the daily diet.

5. Farmers classify rice according to the variety and type.

In general, there are three different types of rice: short-, medium-, and long-grain varieties. Historically, long-grain rice has been considered the best option because it does not easily clump. In terms of variety, more than 40,000 kinds exist. In the West, people tend to prefer aromatic varieties such as Basmati and Thai Jasmine, although Italian Arborio has also become popular because it is used in risottos. Some varieties are considered to have a natural sweetness and are thus used in puddings, as well as other desserts such as cake. Basmati rice is considered the most fragrant variety in the world, and it is produced primarily in the Himalayas between Pakistan and India.

6. The Guinness World Records has a record for the largest bowl of rice.

Currently, the Guinness World Records recognizes a bowl of rice weighing 6,944 pounds produced by the Turkey Culinary Federation as the largest ever produced. In 2015, 300 cooks in China teamed up to break this record, and they collectively made a bowl of Yeung Chow fried rice that weighed 9,242 pounds. Unfortunately, the bowl of rice was deemed unfit for human consumption. Guinness ruled that the entirety of the bowl of rice needed to be edible in order to qualify for the record.

7. Sticky rice holds the Great Wall of China together.

The Great Wall of China was built in the 15th and 16th centuries under the Ming dynasty. During construction, workers used rice mixed with calcium carbonate as a sort of mortar to hold the stones in the wall together. Remarkably, this mortar still holds strong, although anyone who has had to scrape caked rice from the bottom of a pot is probably not surprised by this fact.

7 of the Best Tips for Managing Your Credit Wisely

Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), one of the largest banks in Guyana and the Caribbean region, offers a full range of personal and commercial services, including small business and “green” loans, large commercial loans, savings and checking accounts, credit cards, and more.

GBTI also provides customers with helpful tips and tools to assist with personal finance and banking in person and through its website at GBTIBank.com. 

GBTI VISA Gold and VISA Classic credit card accounts offer customers numerous benefits, including the convenience of shopping online and in local stores and restaurants, all with the peace of mind that comes with the bank’s PIN-protected system and 24-hour customer support. 

GBTI’s VISA cards are accepted by more than 25 million businesses all over the world and at more than 1 million ATMs across the United States. Additionally, GBTI VISA customers enjoy competitive interest rates, online account statement access, free monthly statements, and a maximum one-week turnaround time for replacement of lost, stolen, or damaged cards. 

Anyone at least 18 years of age with valid picture identification is eligible to apply for a GBTI VISA card. The bank’s branches offer application forms, but customers may also access forms online, print them, and fill them out before their scheduled interview with a bank representative. 

credit-card

Thanks to the expansion of access to personal credit over the past few generations, credit cards have become ubiquitous worldwide. There are numerous excellent reasons to open a credit card account, but it is also vital to keep sound principles of managing credit in mind when using it. 

Here are a few tips from experts in personal finance that can help consumers manage their credit card accounts in ways that will most benefit them over the long term:

Pay bills on time

Paying your monthly statement—or at least the minimum repayment amount—by the due date will prevent late charges from racking up, and it will also help you maintain a good credit score. In fact, one leading reason why consumers fall into steep credit card debt can be traced back to a failure to make repayments on time.

Pay as much of your balance as possible

Experts advise paying off your entire card balance every month, or at least as much of it as possible, to keep interest and additional fees down.

Of course, there are reasons when it’s just not possible to repay your full balance every month. Even then, it’s still important to repay as much of it as you can—and on time. 

Keep balances low

It’s also a good idea to focus on keeping card balances under about 30 percent of your total credit limit.

Carrying forward more debt than you are prepared to manage puts you in a less favorable position for obtaining a mortgage or financing your child’s higher education. For many potential lenders, credit card balances that continuously hover just under the limit are a sign that a consumer may present a higher risk when it comes to a loan. 

Traditional thinking on this issue also advises credit card holders to spend at most one-third of their monthly income on servicing debt—automobile loans, student loans, and credit card bills, for example.

Keep spending under control

Use only as much credit as you can afford to repay. A store discount of 20 percent may sound exciting, but if you can’t afford to pay off the purchase in your upcoming billing cycle, that discount could end up costing you far more than it was worth.

Make a budget

A simple monthly budget is perhaps one of the most underrated tools for curbing excess

spending and making credit work well for you.

Outline all your monthly income, create a list of all necessary expenditures, and the difference will show you how much debt you can realistically take responsibility for and repay.

You can even use your credit card as a budgeting tool. By planning to make all your regular recurring purchases and bill payments by card, you are helping to build your credit while maintaining an up-to-date log of expenditures. 

Get a copy of your credit report

Experts recommend requesting a copy of your credit report every year from any of the relevant credit reporting companies. Check this report carefully to note and report any errors, and be particularly alert for any signs of fraud or identity theft. Make sure to correct any wrong or incomplete information, such as address, marital status, or current mortgage or loan status. 

Let your bank help you

GBTI’s free monthly statements and easy online account access can become powerful budgeting and tracking tools for helping you keep track of your cash flow every month. Try logging in to your account once a week to make sure you understand your usage patterns and available credit. This will also allow you to promptly bring any problems you see to your bank’s attention.

How to Discuss Money with Your Significant Other

Managing your money well is no easy task, and it can be doubly difficult when you become married or enter into a common law union. You’re now having to sort out expenses and budget effectively for a household rather than for an individual.

Depending on your prior circumstances, you and your partner may have had different experiences with money. You’re also likely bringing diverse budgeting skill sets into the relationship. Since decisions about money often have to be made daily, making those decisions jointly can be a challenge for couples.

Read on for some helpful tips for managing money as a couple from our GBTI banking experts.

1. Begin with Honesty

Money can be a touchy subject. Some people find it relatively straightforward to discuss their finances, while others are reluctant or become anxious. Think honestly about what money means to you. Do you value having the spending power acquire nice things or is it satisfactory just to have sufficient funds to pay the bills and put food on the table? Do money worries have you up at night or is your financial health rarely a source of stress? Be as clear and truthful as you can with your spouse.

2. Recognize Differences

After opening up to one another, you’ll probably discover that you and your spouse or significant other have some different feelings and expectations on the topic of finances. This will involve decisions about how to spend, save, and invest your wealth. In addition, one of you may feel much more comfortable handling the family budget. Note where you differ and where you can find some common ground for agreement. You don’t have to have everything figured out at once—just enough to begin the budgeting process.

3. Be Compassionate

couple

Take some time to understand where your partner is coming from. What was their exposure to money management growing up? Did they benefit from solid financial literacy training or were they shielded from discussions about money? If they have difficulty talking about budgeting, it could be that they witnessed their parents having financial troubles or disagreements.

4. Decide on an Approach

The next step is to figure out your money management approach. Many couples who bank at GBTI have joint checking and savings accounts. However, you may decide to keep your GBTI accounts separate from one another, or have a joint account for common expenses and individual accounts for personal spending and saving. If you have individual investments or bank accounts, be sure to designate a beneficiary.

5. Play to Your Strengths

If one of you is better at handling the family budget, it makes sense to have that person take on the responsibility. Some people have a natural aptitude for dealing with finances and know how to spend and invest wisely. They may also thrive on looking for deals and ways to stretch dollars for more buying power. Play to your strengths as a couple while making sure that you are both aware of your budget details and in agreement with all financial decisions.

6. Build in Flexibility

The best budgets have some flexibility built into them for contingencies. Whether it’s rounding up regular expenses to the next few dollars to provide a cushion for price changes or slowly building an emergency fund to prepare for large unexpected expenses, take care to use a few proactive budgeting practices. The more prepared you are for increases in living costs and emergencies, the more trouble-free your money talks will be.

7. Review Regularly

Your financial situation will change over the course of your relationship. Hopefully, your situation will improve with job promotions, profitable investments, and increased expertise in managing your funds. Having said that, the opposite can certainly happen, and you may struggle with your finances at times due to various adversities. By regularly reviewing your budget and financial goals together, you’ll make sure that you are on track and make adjustments as needed.

8. Make Room for Mistakes

Making mistakes with money cannot be avoided. You might forget to pay a bill, overspend on holiday, not set aside sufficient funds for repairs on an older vehicle, or commit a more serious oversight. Poor financial decisions don’t need to lead to anxiety and guilt. Just use it as a learning experience and move on. Remember, if you start to find yourself out of your depth, GBTI can help.

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your successes. After putting in place the above strategies and experiencing the advantages, it’s important to celebrate the fact that you’re working as a team to manage your money.

How to Build an Emergency Savings Account

GBTI has been in the banking business long enough to know that many people live paycheck to paycheck with little or no money put aside for emergencies. Whether you are making a good living, you are scraping by, or your financial situation falls somewhere in between, you’ll run up against an emergency every now and then.

Emergencies are unavoidable in life and many of them require financial resources to address. Here are some ideas to boost your savings so that you can handle urgent situations with less financial stress.

Start Small

money growth

Budgeting can be tough. When you look at your earnings versus your expenses, it’s understandable if you feel there’s just no room for emergency savings. Do not despair—begin with whatever you can. Even squirreling away a few dollars here and there is a solid start and, as you see your savings slowly build, you’ll feel inspired to keep going.

Saving any amount is better than nothing. While it may not be enough to cover something unexpected like the cost of replacing a home appliance or repairing a vehicle, whatever savings you’ve accumulated will definitely help.

Turn Saving into a Game

See if you can trick yourself into saving more. Some people find it works to empty their pockets or purse of smaller denominations or change at the end of the day and set it apart for savings. Just a few dollars here and there quickly adds up.

You might find that tucking away a $20 bill when you take cash out of the ATM at payday and seeing how long you can make it last is helpful. Look for ways to challenge yourself to spend a little less and save more.

Keep Savings Separate

savings

Whatever you do, make sure to park your emergency savings in a separate account from the ones you use for regular banking. For instance, you may already have several personal accounts at GBTI. Most people have a checking account, where their pay is deposited, to use for making mortgage, rent or car payments and settling other monthly bills. Some also have a savings account for irregular expenses.

If you’re trying to juggle all your financial obligations and emergency savings in one account it can be nerve-wracking, not to mention impractical. Therefore, it makes sense to have a different account for unexpected expenses.

Make Saving Automatic

Making your emergency savings automatic is one of the best pieces of advice GBTI has. This means setting up an amount for GBTI to move every month from the account where your earnings are deposited to the savings account that you’ve designated for unpredictable events.

Having the bank take care of this transaction for you ensures that you’ll not forget or change your mind and spend the extra cash. Plus, when you do not actually have to handle the transfer on your own, you can pretend that your income is that much less.   

Maximize Windfalls

From time to time, you may find that you receive a small windfall. Perhaps you get a refund from the government on your income taxes. Maybe you were given some money as a gift or have earned a little by selling used items or doing some short-term work for someone. Maximize the impact of this unanticipated money by putting it directly into your emergency account.

Here’s another helpful approach. When your salary grows, simply increase the amount of your automatic deposit into emergency savings by the amount of your raise. It will assist to build up this account faster instead of adjusting your spending to incorporate your new take home pay. 

Try Specific Accounts

As your savings starts to grow and benefit from compound interest over time, you can fine-tune your approach by setting up specific accounts with GBTI for different types of unforeseen circumstances. What accounts you choose will depend on what makes the most sense for you.

For example, depending on your situation, you may choose to fund an account specifically for vehicle maintenance, since it can be expensive to keep your car on the road. If you have a large family whose members are spread out from one another geographically, you may choose to fund account dedicated to urgent travel to see loved ones in a family crisis.

Having an emergency fund in case of job loss may also give you peace of mind. You can rest easy knowing that you will be able to cover several months of lost income while you find other employment. Entrepreneurs with variable income or those whose work is seasonal in nature may also benefit from saving in advance. That way, you don’t have to worry during the times that are less busy.

In short, emergency savings will make you feel better equipped to handle your finances no matter what comes along in life.

This Is How GBTI Green Loans Are Transforming Guyana’s Economy

The largest commercial lender to work with Guyana’s agricultural sector to date, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has also built a strong green loans program to help businesses throughout the country.

Like all GBTI loans, green loans center on creating trusted partnerships between the bank’s experienced credit advisors and clients throughout the business community. 

A forward-looking loan policy

Financing through GBTI green loans is available for businesses interested in the following:

  • Alternative energy projects
  • The development of hybrid motor vehicles
  • Water-treatment, filtration, and recycling products
  • Energy-saving appliances
  • Low-carbon emission agriculture projects such as aquaculture

The many benefits of a GBTI loan include competitive interest rates, discounts on certain lending services, and a quick turnaround for the approval process. Additionally, certain GBTI loans are eligible for one- to six-month moratoriums on installment payments. 

The bank’s commitment to helping build a strong green infrastructure is in keeping with that of the Guyanese government, which has placed the development of a green economy at the heart of its infrastructure planning.

A new vision for sustainable growth

In 2019 President David Granger announced the launch of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) Vision 2040, a 20-year strategic planning document that encapsulates the steps Guyana will take toward creating an inclusive green economy and social system within its borders.

This vision of the country’s development focuses on protecting precious environmental resources and improving opportunities for all citizens to attain education, security, and prosperity within a just and equitable society. 

growth

Granger’s remarks upon presenting the document to the public are instructive for understanding Guyana’s commitment to large-scale changes. He noted that climate change has become an incontestable reality for every nation on earth, with none capable of avoiding its deleterious effects. 

Granger said that the time has come for Guyana to seize the moment, allowing the country to get ahead of the problem and begin to solve generational challenges. Its geography, in particular, presents several obstacles, including cycles of flood and drought in the hinterlands, as well as regular coastal flooding. Guyanese industry, the president noted, is already beginning to experience success in addressing issues of air and water quality.

The priorities of the GSDS concentrate on the diversification and transformation of the nation’s economy, investment in people through wide-ranging educational programs and job skills development, prudent management and effective oversight of the use of natural resources, and a balance between economic development and conservation for the benefit of everyone. 

The benefits of international participation

As part of its commitment to creating a strong green economy, Guyana became a member of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy, or PAGE, in 2017. A project of the United Nations, PAGE brings together the resources of five UN agencies concerned with labor, environment, industry, and research to support countries working toward building green, sustainable, and inclusive economies. 

PAGE was developed in response to Rio+ 20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. PAGE’s ultimate goal is to assist countries with reforming their economic policies regarding sustainability and developing business collaborations and models that will promote increased investment in green technologies and untapped resources of human potential.

Guyana expects that its ongoing participation in PAGE will continue to inform the roll-out of its Green State Development Strategy over the coming decades. In fact, Guyana’s participation in sustainability efforts such as climate resilience and low-carbon initiatives has influenced much of the GSDS document. 

Maintaining sustainability for the long term

The GSDS document additionally leverages the provisions of the 2019 Natural Resource Fund Act to finance its program of sustainable development. President Granger has emphasized that revenues from Guyana’s rapidly developing oil and natural gas industry are slated for wise investments designed to help the country avoid “Dutch disease.” This is the problem that can result when a country’s currency value spikes amid sudden success in one industry, paradoxically harming other sectors of the economy and bringing on a concomitant crash.

In 2019 the International Monetary Fund noted that Guyana could potentially realize economic growth of about 86 percent in 2020, which could put it in first place worldwide in terms of economic expansion (largely due to the discovery of its first commercially viable oil and gas deposits in 2015).

While global economic shifts associated with the coronavirus pandemic have made this outcome more problematic, Guyana’s status as a new petroleum exporter has raised its overall economic prospects. The country, with a population of under 800,000 people, is estimated to possess the world’s highest amount of oil reserves per capita—3,900 barrels per person in comparison to Saudi Arabia’s 1,900. 

Along with its approach to prudent investment strategies amid a rocky world economy, Guyana is focusing on teaching its younger generations about environmental issues. Eventually, the government hopes, they will develop the knowledge that will help the entire country make its dream of prosperity and sustainability a reality.

This Is Why Guyanese Businesses Are Going Green

Guyanese citizens are well aware of the country’s push to protect the environment against the ravages of climate change and to create a sustainable future. If you are a business owner, you have most likely been paying close attention to the ongoing media coverage of government and private sector discussions and plans to reduce Guyana’s carbon footprint. Whether you are a new entrepreneur or an experienced business executive, you are probably asking yourself “What does this mean for me?” The following is a look at some of the advantages of going green and the current momentum in Guyana, as well as how GBTI is helping the cause.

Benefits of going green

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While it there are some initial costs associated with launching a company that is sustainable or switching to green practices, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Certainly, there may be a financial outlay at the beginning, but there is money to be saved over the long term. As an example, purchasing energy-saving equipment or machinery will save on utility costs. Marketing your firm as an environmentally responsible business will also inspire loyalty in your customers. They will respect you for doing your part to take care of the planet. In addition, you will attract new clients who are looking to purchase merchandise or services from a green company. Your employees will also feel proud to be working for such a forward-thinking firm. Finally, with the increased focus on sustainability, government policy and legislation are slowly changing—not only in Guyana, but in other countries, too. Going green positions your enterprise to be in compliance when the rules change—whether domestic or offshore—and to serve as a leader in the marketplace.

Momentum in Guyana

Guyana has been at the forefront of developing a green economy for a number of years. It began in 2009, in partnership with the country of Norway, with the “Low Carbon Development Strategy: Transforming Guyana’s Economy While Combating Climate Change (LCDS)”. The goal of the LCDS was “to transform Guyana’s economy to a low carbon, sustainable development trajectory, while simultaneously combating climate change”. The idea was to demonstrate that protecting the environment and combatting deforestation would lead to commercial benefits for all Guyanese companies. In recent years, the government has launched the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) “to reorient and diversify Guyana’s economy, reducing reliance on traditional sectors and opening up new sustainable income and investment opportunities.” In response, the Ministry of Business has begun crafting the Green Business Framework that will, in part, focus on guiding Guyanese companies toward sustainable practices.

As some people may already be aware, in the last few years more educational and networking opportunities have become available for Guyanese business owners with an interest in the green economy. In 2018, Georgetown hosted the first Green Expo and International Small Business Summit under the banner “Sustainable economic growth through small business innovation entrepreneurship and transformative government policies.” The event provided small business owners with a platform to showcase their innovative products, which are designed to provide green solutions.

Guyana’s capital city was the site of another important business networking event in 2019 to celebrate Guyana Green Economy Week. Government representatives from the Ministry of Business, Ministry of Finance, and the Guyana Revenue Authority collaborated with others from the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, several United Nations organizations with a mandate to promote environmental sustainability, the private sector, civil society organizations, research institutes, and more. Participants had an opportunity to learn and share knowledge through a variety of workshops. Green Economy Week culminated in a public conversation with international experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) offering examples of where sustainability has worked with appropriate “green” economic principles in place.

GBTI offers support

Small- and medium-sized companies require some funding in order to help them to realize their vision of building a sustainable enterprise. GBTI works alongside government and private sector initiatives to help green businesses. Its credit advisers provide critical financial assistance to clients through GBTI’s green loans program to enable them to implement changes in order to make their enterprises more green. This can include initiatives such as switching to solar power, recycling and treating water with filtration systems, purchasing hybrid motor vehicles or energy-saving appliances, upgrading air filtration systems, or embarking on various wind- or hand-powered projects. Furthermore, GBTI offers competitive interest rates, fast approvals, no late payment fees, no prepayment penalties, and other benefits.

As the evidence suggests, Guyana is becoming a fine example to other nations of how to move toward environmental sustainability, and it is definitely poised to be a leader in the green economy. Many entrepreneurs are recognizing the benefits of going green and engaging with the groundswell of support for Guyanese companies.

GBTI’s Microlending Program – Part of a Global Movement to End Poverty

One of the Caribbean region’s leading commercial banks, GBTI offers a full range of services for individual and business customers. The bank’s microloan program for small business owners, for instance, emphasizes assistance to single mothers hoping to build their own companies. 

Microlending for single mothers changes lives

Through GBTI’s Women of Worth microlending program, thousands of female entrepreneurs have received the funding they needed to build businesses and gain independence for themselves and their families.

baby and mother

GBTI has earmarked GYD 500 million (USD 2.4 million) to support this program, with the no-collateral loans administered through Guyana’s Ministry of Human Services. Single mothers who qualify to participate in the program can receive up to GYD 250,000 (USD 1,200) to start or grow their business. 

The standard interest rate for a Women of Worth microloan is 6 percent, with a two-year repayment period. To leave women free to concentrate on getting their businesses off the ground, there is a three- to six-month grace period before the first installment payments are due. 

Building businesses in multiple sectors

Many women participating in the microlending program have started farms, which often help them turn the subsistence farming they were already doing into viable, money-making enterprises. Loan recipients have also been able to purchase and cultivate additional land as their agricultural businesses have scaled.

And it’s not just farming—female entrepreneurs have used the Women of Worth program’s microloans to build out small restaurants and hospitality and personal service businesses. They have also been able to start or expand childcare businesses by renting additional space and hiring more employees. 

The growth of an idea

Microlending, in the form familiar to global markets today, was pioneered by Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, often called the “Banker to the Poor.” Yunus established the Grameen Bank Project in the mid-1970s to study how non-exploitative bank loans could be made available to help people in Bangladesh lift themselves out of poverty. 

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Yunus’ initial loan was for $27 to a group of female weavers making stools out of bamboo. Previous lenders’ unscrupulous practices resulted in only a 1-penny profit per stool going to the women. Because of the microloan Yunus provided, the women were able to purchase their own supplies and begin a thriving business, repaying the microloan when they began to succeed. 

Over the decades, the World Bank and other policy institutions have conducted independent research demonstrating the success of the microloan model. Other financial institutions began to follow Grameen Bank’s lead.

In recent years, microlending has become commonplace in the financial industry, with tens of thousands of these programs available all over the world. Also, the growth of the Internet as a source of peer-to-peer communication has boosted the popularity of peer-to-peer microlending through nonprofit platforms. 

The practice of microlending became so widely accepted that the United Nations designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit. Then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that microlending had demonstrated its value as a “weapon against poverty and hunger,” able to help struggling people around the world improve their lives over the long term. 

An answer to the needs of a developing world

Microlending has shown itself to be particularly well suited to answering the financial needs of the developing world. People who had previously been unable to access traditional banking services due to lack of collateral, poor or non-existent credit, or for other reasons now have access to the financial services that can help them become independent. Studies of microlending also show a traditionally high rate of repayment. 

Before the advent of larger-scale microlending supported by banks and international organizations, people hoping to establish a small business in a developing country could only turn to small community organizations and agencies such as credit unions, member-run mutual aid societies, or postal banks.

Due to a lack of size and resources, however, organizations of this type were limited in their ability to build a microlending infrastructure and help larger numbers of people. For example, due to technical constraints, they were less able to analyze for risk assessment of micro-enterprises and to deliver the full range of needed support services cost effectively. This is where established banks, such as GBTI, have emerged as major sources of microfunding.

Experts have recently pointed to the need for more funding and support for small business entrepreneurship in the developing world, among youth in particular. Young adults in Guyana have a strong role to play in their nation’s economy, with close to half the population now under the age of 24. Yet, to date, a relatively low percentage of younger adults have taken advantage of microlending programs.

GBTI, as a government partner and now one of Guyana’s leading microlenders, continues to focus on building and promoting its capacity to fund entrepreneurship through the Women of Worth program.

GBTI Women of Worth microloans are available to applicants between 18 and 60, and they can supply a life-changing amount of capital that will not only build a young mother’s future but, through her success, can contribute to sustaining the long-range economic prospects of the entire nation as well.