Type to search


FirstBank gets several awards during National Small Business Week

The Puerto Rican bank was recognized for its outstanding business support and rapid loan processing.

FirstBank Puerto Rico received the Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands District Office’s “2024 Bronze Lender of the Year” award and the “2024 Puerto Rico Lender Star Award of the Year” from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) during the recently celebrated National Small Business Week.

FirstBank provides financing and SBA guarantees for small and medium-sized businesses under the 7(a), Export Express, SBA Express, and SBA–504 programs. As an SBA Preferred Lender, FirstBank processes approvals for federally guaranteed loans quickly, the financial institution stated.

The awards recognized the bank’s achievement in securing 53 financings totaling $13.6 million under the SBA’s 7(a) program in fiscal 2023, reflecting a 320% growth in SBA-guaranteed loan originations compared to the previous year.

In addition, Eduardo Díaz-Argimón, a veterinarian and customer of FirstBank, received the Small Businessperson of the Year in Puerto Rico Award for his business achievements, growth and contributions to the community.

Through his veterinary clinics, Baldwin Animal Hospital and Caparra Animal Hospital, Díaz-Argimón supports nonprofit animal rescue organizations, offering services such as foster home coordination, vaccinations, detoxification and general grooming. The financing for his clinics under the 7(a) program was facilitated by FirstBank with SBA support.

The SBA also recognized CPA Brenda Rodríguez with the Special District Director’s Award for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for 24 years “of commendable work for Puerto Rico’s SBTDC [Small Business and Technology Development Center]. Rodríguez is currently with FirstBank, where she serves as assistant vice president and business banking relationship officer in the Ponce region,” bank officials said.

Lilian Díaz-Bento, executive vice president of FirstBank’s Small Business Group, expressed pride in the awards received by the bank and its customer. 

“At FirstBank, we have a solid commitment to our customers, supporting them financially in their development and growth,” she said.

“Díaz-Argimón is a living example that developing and growing a business is possible. We’re also pleased with the recognition given to our esteemed colleague Brenda Rodríguez,” Díaz-Bento continued. “We’re grateful for all these recognitions from the SBA and wish to reiterate our commitment to the development of all entrepreneurs who aspire to grow and support Puerto Rico’s progress.”

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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *