Oriental Bank President José Rafael Fernández will be chairing the Puerto Rico Bankers Association starting this month, something he described Monday as “a true challenge, but a great opportunity.”
“The banking industry is an enabler of our economic development and an instrument for growth and creating new opportunities for all, from regular citizens to large or small companies,” he said. “In Oriental, our mission is to help our customers and the communities we serve to find progress, and I will use that same approach to lead the Bankers Assocaition.”
Fernández will be adding hew new responsibilities to a long list of other tasks — aside from sitting on the Oriental Financial Group and Oriental Financial Services, Oriental Insurance and Caribbean Pension Consultants boards, he is also a member of theCommunity Depository Institutions Advisory Council for the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
“My goal is to lead the Bankers Association in two main areas: 1) promoting the welfare of Puerto Rico’s banking system in a climate of fair competition among its members, and 2) to contribute to the economic development of Puerto Rico by coordinating efforts with the private sector and other sectors of the economy that help to improve our competitiveness, mainly by reducing energy costs and increasing productivity,” said Fernández.
The Puerto Rico Bankers Association comprises seven financial institutions that operate on the island, employing about 12,000 people. The banks boast a combined 402 branches, some 1,365 ATMs, 40,376 points of sale islandwide, serving some 2 million consumers.
Fernández earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has almost 30 years of experience in the financial industry, 22 of which have been working in Oriental, which he has presided since 2004.