Banesco branch aims to lend more than US$50mn in first year of operation

Monday, November 7, 2011

Venezuela's largest bank, Banesco, expects its recently opened Puerto Rican branch to disburse more than US$50mn in its first year of operations, Rafael Saldaña, chairman and CEO of Banesco USA, told BNamericas.

Banesco opened its branch in San Juan last month and plans to add a few more in the central-eastern municipality of Caguas, as well as in the western part of the island, Saldaña said.

"We've come to promote trade business, Venezuelan investments and lend to local midsized firms. We have already given loans to areas such as affordable housing construction, gas stations, drugstores, export software development services and warehouse lines of credit for mortgages, among others," he said.

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Despite that island has been battered by a stubborn recession for years, Saldaña said he sees a lot of potential in the Puerto Rican banking system, as the eight lenders that operate in it manage a combined US$50bn in loans and deposits each.

"This means that with just grabbing a 1% market share, our bank will have US$500mn in assets," Saldaña noted.