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Puerto Rico ‘outpacing, outperforming’ Banesco USA’s mainland business

The bank appointed Maritza Abadía as the island’s only woman president of a local bank.

Banesco USA’s Puerto Rico operation is “outpacing and outperforming” the stateside operation with increases in loans and deposits, Calixto García-Vélez, CEO of Banesco USA, confirmed Wednesday.

In a meeting with reporters, García-Vélez shared that, year-over-year, the local operation reported a 30% growth in its loan portfolio and a 93% jump in deposits compared to 2023.

“Overall, Banesco USA’s loan growth was 23%, and 24% in deposits, which shows that Puerto Rico’s growth outpaces what we’ve achieved in other markets, mainly Florida,” he said. As a private bank, Banesco USA does not disclose quarterly results.

“The growth has to do with Puerto Rico’s economic activity, the growth we’ve seen in sectors such as construction, food, distribution and, most of all, it has to do with the fact that Puerto Rico clients are looking for options as a result of the banking consolidation we’ve seen in recent years,” he added.

“Almost without exaggeration, there isn’t a commercial client that we call that doesn’t open the door for us to listen to the added value we can offer them,” García-Vélez said.

Banesco USA’s focus is mainly on the commercial sector, but also caters to individuals, although it is not in the business of consumer loans such as auto or credit cards.

Still, the bank, which was certified as a government depository institution by the island’s Treasury Department in June 2023, will now be expanding its footprint to offer financial services to municipalities and other government entities, as well as to Act 60 beneficiaries and professionals including doctors, attorneys and CPAs.

Maritza Abadía, who has been promoted within the bank to Puerto Rico market president of Banesco USA, said part of Banesco’s plans in Puerto Rico include continuing “to recruit new talent and expand our reach into new business segments where we have seen growth opportunities.”

The bank has approximately 300 employees in Puerto Rico, and plans call for adding more banking executives to offer personalized services. Banesco USA focuses on adding customers to its online banking platform, which García-Vélez described as “superior to any other bank’s, allowing clients to move money efficiently and quickly.”

“We’re working on offering new products and services. For example, our electronic platform with Zelle allows customers to make real-time transactions between United States bank accounts,” Abadía said. 

“We’ve seen that many of our customers have this particular need, mainly because they have businesses in the United States and Puerto Rico, and Banesco has a U.S. ABA [American Bankers Association routing] number, which provides real-time functionality,” she added.

“We’re also segmenting products by industry type to offer product bundles according to the particular needs of certain industries,” Abadía noted.

Carlos Eduardo Escotet, director at Banesco USA, who has participation across the bank’s international markets, said Puerto Rico has “surpassed all estimations by economists, and more than data, what we like about Puerto Rico right now is the optimism that’s popping up across the island and we want to be part of that.”

Abadía’s new role
During Abadía’s tenure at the helm of Banesco in Puerto Rico, she has managed to grow the operation by venturing into new business segments while exceeding customer satisfaction levels, García-Vélez said.

“We’re extremely proud of having a professional of Maritza’s caliber at Banesco. She exemplifies the values of our organization and is an inspiration to all Banesco employees. This appointment is a recognition of the excellent work that Maritza has done for the past 12 years leading the Puerto Rico team,” said García-Vélez.

Currently, Abadía, who is also a certified public accountant, is the only woman to preside over a bank on the island. Before joining Banesco USA in 2012 as executive vice president and country manager, she worked in Citibank NA Puerto Rico.

“I’m grateful for the trust that Banesco’s executive group and board of directors have placed in me. Puerto Rico is an important market in Banesco USA’s growth strategy. We remain committed and focused on executing our business plans and continue expanding our capabilities to offer the best banking service to our customers,” said Abadía.

“We will continue to enhance our cutting-edge, technology-driven treasury management solutions. We are also working on customized lending and deposit products tailored to the unique needs of our market and in developing specific value propositions that align perfectly with the financial goals and aspirations of specific markets we serve. This strategic focus reaffirms our position as a leading financial institution, poised to meet the evolving needs of businesses and individuals in today’s dynamic market,” she 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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