Barbados has been a member of the International Monetary Fund since 1973. The Barbados dollar is backed by gold and foreign assets, which have promoted stability and confidence in the currency. Since 1975 the country's dollar has been fixed at BDS$2.00 to US$1.00.
Barbados has exchange control regulations, although these are being loosened over time. However, international businesses, including Exempt Insurance and Qualifying Insurance Companies, are exempt from these exchange regulations.
The Central Bank of Barbados
Barbados has had a Central Bank since 1973. The main role of the Central Bank is to act as banker, fiscal agent and financial advisor to the Government, and to monitor and regulate the activities of commercial banks and other financial institutions. It also has a duty to promote monetary policies and exchange policies that encourage economic growth.
Commercial Banks and Finance Companies
The banking system in Barbados is well established, and the island has a competitive commercial banking sector. The commercial banks currently operating here include: FirstCaribbean International Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Barbados National Bank and Bank of Butterfield.
There are also several finance companies in Barbados. Apart from collecting deposits, these companies complement the commercial banks in financing the purchase of construction equipment, motor vehicles and other consumer durable goods.
Barbados has a highly developed domestic insurance industry. Placment of insurance through broker is commonplace.