Richard Carrion: Putting A Puerto Rican Bank On The Map

He's the grandson of the founder of Puerto Rico's largest native bank, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. But as a child, Richard L. Carrion dreamed of settling in the U. S. He seemed well on his way after earning degrees from the Wharton School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But an uncle got him to try a job at Banco Popular; the rest is historia. "I never expected to find myself involved with the family business," he says. "Now, I can't picture doing anything else."

Carrion, 41, is much more than involved. When his father retired five years ago, he became chief executive. Now, he is dramatically reshaping the 98-year-old bank, both in Puerto Rico and in the continental U. S. It had just six branches on the mainland when he became CEO; Carrion has added five. Including 13 from a recent aquisition, U. S. branches represent 8% of Banco Popular's $9 billion in assets, a figure he aims to increase to 20% within five years.

Back home, he's competing aggressively with American banks such as Citicorp. In late 1990, he acquired his largest competitor, BanPonce, a move that boosted assets 50% and is helping him vie for the business of small and midsize companies in Puerto Rico. The results: Bank profits for 1990 totaled $63.4 million, up 12% from 1989--nearly double income in 1986.

When not playing racketball, Carrion is often spotted with his four children. He can claim it's work: He's getting the next generation of potential managers off to a good start.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.