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Banco Popular Puerto Rico - Banco Popular Puerto Rico: Forging a Link with the Future

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Banco Popular Puerto Rico is the largest bank in Puerto Rico and one of the largest financial institutions in the world. Founded in 1893, the bank has now expanded into a global conglomerate with some $45 billion in assets and about 13,000 employees. Voted the Best Consumer Internet Bank in Puerto Rico by Global Finance in 2007, Banco Popular Puerto Rico continues to distinguish itself among global corporations and will undoubtedly gain further accolades in the future.

The story of Banco Popular Puerto Rico began while the country was still under the control of Spain. On October 5, 1893, several influential Spanish and Puerto Rican citizens formed the Sociedad Anonima de Economias y Prestamos as a thrift institution for the poor people of Puerto Rico. In keeping with this philosophy, in 1928 the bank became the first financial institution in Puerto Rico to offer personal loans without collateral. 1930 saw it expand by acquiring the Banco Comercial de Puerto Rico, and in 1938 it became the first Puerto Rican bank to offer an FHA mortgage loan.

In 1961, Banco Popular opened a bank in New York, followed in 1975 by a branch in Los Angeles. The 1980s saw Popular move into both the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Since then, Popular has acquired several other institutions, culminating in its 2010 acquisition of the failing Westernbank. Today it includes many subsidiaries including Popular Auto, Popular Mortgage and EVERTEC, formerly known as GM Group.

Banco Popular is more than just a big company. In 2005, Fortune Magazine ranked it the 84th best company in the world to work for. Founded with the goal of helping the poor to improve their lives, Popular is still deeply involved in projects that help the children and youth of Puerto Rico’s poor communities.

One of the foundations associated with Banco Popular is the Fundacion Banco Popular (FBP). Founded in 1979, this organization supports social initiatives addressing the educational, cultural and community needs of Puerto Ricans, especially those in disadvantaged parts of the nation. Their efforts are particularly oriented toward meeting the needs of children through educational programs as part of an organized effort toward community services and development. FBP has a grant program, a volunteer program, scholarship programs and an interesting project by which old musical instruments are collected, restored and distributed to schools and other musical institutions.

Another project is the Banco Popular Foundation, a philanthropic institution that gives out grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for projects to build community, make a measurable difference and change lives. Grants are given for projects at both the local and regional level, with special priority for those which can demonstrate ongoing sustainability.

Banco Popular Puerto Rico operates the Rafael Carrion Pacheco Exhibition Hall in San Juan. Established in 1989, this facility has held many exhibitions of interest on the island, including presentations on Puerto Rico’s music, art and history.

Banco Popular Puerto Rico’s patronage of music includes the production of musical events which are televised and sold on CD and DVD. In 1993, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary with a musical TV show featuring a group of prominent Latin American artists. The program proved to be such a success that Banco Popular started producing annual television Christmas specials featuring all-star lineups. The programs and recordings have been wildly popular, and the project has become an annual tradition in Puerto Rico.

Despite its many changes, Banco Popular Puerto Rico has held true to its original vision. Today, in addition to simply being one of the financial giants of the world, Popular is active in programs that bring renewal to communities and help ordinary people improve their lives. Their patronage has brought the positive cultural experiences to citizens who otherwise would not have had them, and has especially made a difference in the lives of countless children.

With its long legacy of building and helping communities, Banco Popular has had a positive impact on many of its individual customers and the communities where they live. Dedicated to giving financial opportunities to those who deserve them, Banco Popular Puerto Rico has always left a positive mark on the local scene.

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