Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank, Housing Finance Chief Seeks to Merge Troubled Agencies

By on September 5, 2019

Sends Draft Bill to La Fortaleza to ‘Optimize Operating Costs’ Via Creation of Entity Relying on Federal Funding

Editor’s note: See page 13 of the Sept. 5 issue of Caribbean Business for the full text of the report.

The new head of both the Economic Development Bank and Housing Finance Authority is forging ahead with plans to merge both agencies into one entity, that will depend largely on disaster-recovery funding to pay for its programs.

“This merger is needed to make operations more flexible and faster, and to optimize operating costs,” said Luis Carlos Fernández Trinchet, who was appointed by Gov. Wanda Vázquez last month as president of the Economic Development Bank (EDB) and as executive director of the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Administration (AFV by its Spanish initials), after the change in administration resulting from the resignation of now-former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in July.

The official said a draft bill for EDB and AFV’s merger into a single agency was sent to La Fortaleza last week, adding that the name of the new agency has yet to be determined. He declined to provide Caribbean Business a copy of the draft bill, saying he preferred to make it public when La Fortaleza officially submits it to the Legislative Assembly as an administration bill. The discussion of the legislation and merger process should take 12 to 15 months, he said.

That timeline happens to coincide with the next elections.