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Banco Popular Steps Up U.S. Hispanic Market Outreach

Opening first hybrid branch on west coast, mortgage subsidiary call center on east coast


April 4, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

As part of its never-ending effort to serve an increasingly higher share of the mainland U.S.’ burgeoning, 38.6-million-strong Hispanic market, Banco Popular’s stateside subsidiaries are in the midst of launching new check cashing, retail banking, and mortgage banking initiatives.

The developments are taking place simultaneously, but on opposite sides of the continental U.S.

In Panorama City, Calif. (a Los Angeles suburb), Banco Popular North America (BPNA) has announced the opening of its first hybrid check-cashing/retail bank branch. According to BPNA Vice President for Corporate Affairs Frances Ryan, the branch will combine the features of a Popular Cash Express (PCE) check-cashing office with those of a conventional Banco Popular retail bank.

"What we’re opening in Panorama City is our first pilot hybrid branch," Ryan told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. "If this approach towards introducing the check cashing population to our full range of financial services is successful, we’ll replicate the model elsewhere," Ryan said.

As Ryan indicated, most check-cashing clients are typically on the margins of the financial industry, and don’t have regular bank accounts. The hybrid branch in Panorama City is bigger than regular BPNA branches, in order to accommodate the higher level of walk-in traffic usually associated with PCE offices. Regular bank customers will also benefit from the hybrid branch, she says, because of its expanded customer service hours.

Meanwhile, Marlton, N.J. is about to become the site of a new bilingual call center within Popular’s stateside mortgage banking subsidiary, Equity One.

Through this initiative and under the leadership of former Popular Mortgage executive Sammy Sanchez–who moved to the Philadelphia suburb just last month to head the operation–Equity One aims to better reach the 1.5 million-strong Hispanic market located within the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware tristate region.

"The tristate region is home to a large population of second and third-generation Hispanics, many of whom have grown up in families that have traditionally been renters," Sanchez said. "They’re progressing and they’re poised to become homeowners, and we want to help them do so."

As regional manager of Equity One’s new Hispanic Lending Group, Sanchez says he’s begun a three-pronged outreach strategy to reach this important U.S. market segment. "We’re cultivating ties to community leaders and Hispanic-owned businesses, as well as initiating a major advertising campaign in the region’s Hispanic-oriented media," Sanchez indicated.

As part of the new campaign, the Hispanic Lending Group’s logo will be "Mi casa es su casa" (My home is your home). Sanchez said Equity One is initially targeting the tri-state area in this new effort, and he expects the initiative to be gradually expanded to other areas of the continental U.S. with high Hispanic concentrations. Equity One has the largest number of stateside offices of any Popular Inc. stateside subsidiary, with 140 branches in 33 states.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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