Banco Popular Officials Are Still Trying To Open St. John Branch

Residents can still look forward to a possible new banking option as Banco Popular officials are continue trying to open a Love City branch.

While high rent and building costs have delayed any agreements with local landowners, bank representatives are still working on securing a St. John location, according to Banco Popular’s senior vice president and regional manager Valentino MacBean.

“We’re working with some people and hopefully we’ll reach some kind of agreement,” MacBean said. “One problem is the high cost of rent. Then we have to build the building and finance the building and then take care of the lease.”

“These are all significant problems, but we’re trying to come to some kind of consensus,” MacBean continued.

Not Far from Cruz Bay
Although MacBean would not disclose the proposed location, it “is not too far from the Cruz Bay area in a very nice location,” he said.

The long-term nature of a bank should create flexible lease terms, MacBean added.

“We built the building here at Sugar Estate for $19 million and in St. John it will at least be double that,” he said. “I don’t know why the lease has to be so expensive, particularly with a customer such as ourselves and the long-term nature of the bank.”

“We’ll enhance the property and be there for a very long time,” MacBean continued. “Our assets in the Caribbean have grown significantly and continue to grow significantly.”

In the meantime, Banco Popular officials are expanding two of their St. Thomas locations and opening new branches in Tortola and Virgin Gorda, MacBean explained.

“We’re expanding our Sugar Estate branch from 2,700-square feet to 5,000-square feet,” he said. “We’re also expanding our Fort Milner office and we hope to complete with both projects by March 2007.”

Hopefully a St. John branch will be next on Banco Popular’s agenda.

“We’re all working very hard on opening a branch on St. John,” said MacBean. “It’s been very difficult, but I think we can come to some resolution. I’m trying to twist some arms a bit.”