Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Puerto Rico Financial Institutions’ Commissioner Resigns

By on March 6, 2020

(Courtesy)

SAN JUAN – Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced Friday that she had accepted the resignation of Puerto Rico Financial Institutions Commissioner George Joyner.

Puerto Rico’s Financial Institutions Commissioner’s Office (OCIF by its Spanish initials) regulates the island’s banks and financial institutions.

In a press release, the governor said Joyner had submitted his resignation last week and takes effect Friday. She did not give an explanation for the development.

OCIF Deputy Commissioner Alejandro Blanco will take over as acting commissioner.

“I received the resignation of the Financial Institutions Commissioner, George Joyner, who I thank for the work done and for his years of service heading OCIF,” Vázquez said. “We wish him the best of success in any future endeavor.”

Joyner oversaw two key banking consolidations on the island last year: the combined $1.6 billion acquisition by Puerto Rico-based financial institutions Oriental Bank and FirstBank of the island operations of Scotiabank and Banco Santander. Some banking analysts said the exiting of overseas-based entities such as Scotiabank and Santander from island retail banking left Puerto Rico bereft of major international sources of capital for loans and investments.

However, Joyner told Caribbean Business in December that he did not believe that to be the case. He said multinational financial giants such Capital One, Bank of America, Citibank and American Express are heavily marketing financial products such as credit cards, savings accounts and personal and commercial loans to island residents. Besides, he said, Venezuela-based Banesco and Citibank still address segments of the local commercial market.

“The way consumers access and consume financial services is changing,” he said. “Although there is a consolidation of three big commercial banks, there is no diminishing of financial services offerings to consumers. The reality is that with many of these products—not to say all of them, with perhaps mortgages being the exception—you already have a wide offering from outside Puerto Rico available here.”

Former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló appointed Joyner to the post in July 2017 after the sudden passing of interim Commissioner Ivelisse Colón Berríos.

Joyner is another one of multiple officials in Rosselló’s cabinet who worked under former Gov. Luis Fortuño’s administration (2009-2012). Back then, he was the executive director of the Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financing Authority. Before accepting the government post, Joyner consulted for the public and private sectors in Tampa, Fla., in his capacity as an investment, banking and real estate expert.

In 2011, he was named “Banker of the Year” by the Puerto Rico Homebuilders Association, and was recognized in 2012 for devoting his career to improving the industry.

He earned a master’s degree from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico and an accounting degree from Metropolitan University in Puerto Rico.

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