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FirstBank gets ‘Bank of the Year’ nod from The Banker

For the first time, Puerto Rico-based FirstBank has won the “Bank of the Year” recognition in 2022 from the Financial Times’ The Banker magazine.

FirstBank received the distinction in the Puerto Rico market, mainly for its “sound financial capital, its high levels of profitability compared to its industry peers, and the structured strategy with which it carried out the acquisition and eventual merger of the Banco Santander of Puerto Rico operations amid the pandemic,” the financial institution stated.

In normal times, successful mergers and acquisitions are generally complex processes that involve extensive planning to complete, as they require a great deal of synchronization at an operational level to carry out the integration.

“During the pandemic, this very aspect represented a challenge due to the impact of sudden changes in customer habits. However, the acquisition and merger of the operations of both banking institutions went according to plan and without major inconveniences,” the publication stated.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as Puerto Rico’s ‘Bank of the Year.’ This award shows the strength of our institution and the deep commitment that all our professionals put to our clients’ service while supporting our communities and employing extensive efforts to operate a sustainable organization,” said FirstBank CEO Aurelio Alemán.

“Following the successful integration of more than 150,000 customers from the newly acquired transaction, we’re now focused on increasing our market share by leveraging our fortress balance sheet across all core business segments, continuing to improve and expand our digital self-service offerings, for the benefit of our clients and their communities, our employees, and our shareholders,” said Alemán.

The Banker also established as part of its criteria for awarding the recognition the bank’s high profitability and the fact that it has the lowest cost-to-income ratio and the lowest non-performing asset ratio of the local industry. Updating its digital banking offering by partnering with a fintech was another factor considered, FirstBank officials stated.

The distinction confirms that all the banking institution’s efforts are going in the right direction to strengthen its market positioning even further, Alemán said, adding that the award comes at a historical moment when FirstBank launches the fourth phase of its “Together Nothing Stops Us” brand campaign, in which the financial institution highlights its most valuable resource: its FirstBankers, “the professionals who made possible the deeds that today have made the bank worthy of this distinction,” he said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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