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Popular, Oriental grant hefty loans for Puerto Rico projects

Plaza Las Américas President Jaime Fonalledas

Plaza Las Américas President Jaime Fonalledas

Two major Puerto Rico banks, Banco Popular and Oriental Bank, announced Monday the closing of two significant loans that will move forward projects that will benefit the economy and the community.

On one hand, Popular approved a $250 million loan to mall operator Plaza Las Américas Inc., which will pave the way for a $100 million investment in improvements for the Hato Rey shopping center. Projects include building the structure to house the island’s first The Sports Authority store, the development of the former National Guard facilities adjacent to the mall, and the remodeling of retail space between JCPenney and Macy’s.

With the remaining balance, the mall will settle the debt owed to Plaza Las Americas bondholders following a 1999 bond issue through AFICA, as the as the Authority of Financing for Industrial, Tourism, Educational, Medical and Environmental Control Facilities is known for its initials in Spanish. The proceeds were used to renovate the mall, resulting in the opening of Macy’s and more than 100 new stores in 2000.

“This transaction between two distinctly Puerto Rican companies and leaders in their respective categories shows that when companies come together with common goals, Puerto Ricans generally benefit through more development projects that create jobs, investment in goods and services and economic activity in general,” said Jaime Fonalledas, president of Plaza Las Américas.

“We’re proud to partner with an institution as strong and committed to the social and economic welfare of Puerto Rico as Banco Popular in this new stage in the development of Plaza Las Americas,” Fonalledas noted.

Meanwhile, Banco Popular President Richard Carrión said, “this transaction confirms our confidence and commitment to local entrepreneurs. This is one of the largest investments Banco Popular has made in Puerto Rico in its 120 years and represents our confidence in the island’s economic recovery.”

Oriental approved a $3.9 million loan. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Oriental approved a $3.9 million loan. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Oriental assists community nonprofit
On the other hand, Oriental Bank announced that its business banking unit granted a $3.9 million loan to HPM Foundation, a nonprofit corporation focused on improving the quality of life of residents at Barrio Obrero and adjacent areas, to help finish the construction of the corporation’s new medical facilities and administrative offices in Santurce.

“For all of us at Oriental, it is a great pleasure to contribute to the well-being of the community,” said Elena Manrara, Oriental’s senior vice president and business banking director.

HPM Foundation Inc. operates as a Federal Qualified Health Center and receives federal funds from PHS Section 330 grants. It offers primary healthcare and general medical services to low-income populations in the Santurce area, such as: gynecology, odontology, nutrition and pharmacy, among others. Its board comprises members of the communities being served.

“This loan will help substantially increase the number of patients that are presently served by HPM Foundation. They will have bigger, modern and better facilities, with the most advanced technology, which will boost the satisfaction and well-being levels in the area,” Manrara said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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