83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


The acquisition of locally owned First Virgin Islands Federal Savings Bank by FirstBank of Puerto Rico has been officially announced.
In April, the Source reported the acquisition had been completed, but efforts at that time to find out exactly when First V.I. would be taken over by FirstBank were unsuccessful.
James Crites, former president and chief executive officer of FVI, said the transition actually went very smoothly considering the number of regulators involved.
Crites, who will serve as senior vice-president and regional manager of the newly established U.S. Virgin Islands Region, explained that as a federal savings bank "We (First V.I.) have one regulator and FirstBank has another one as a commercial bank."
In addition, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the V.I. Banking Board and the Commission of Financial Institutions in Puerto Rico all had to approve the transaction, Crites said.
First V.I. also had 100 shareholders who had to approve the acquisition.
"This acquisition will provide wider choices in banking products and services for the Virgin Islands community. Former FVI customers will have available ATM cards and the convenience of multiple banking locations," Crites said. "Overall the Virgin Islands community will continue to benefit from this acquisition as FirstBank continues its commitment to explore opportunities for growth."
Crites is the second person to have served as president of First V.I., the first federally chartered banking institution to be locally owned and operated in the territory. It was founded in 1987 by Albert Graf and Lefferts Mabie. Graf served as president until his retirement in 1992.
It is the second acquisition in the V.I. this year for FirstBank of Puerto Rico, which will now have four branches in the territory, three on St. Thomas and one on St. Croix.
In February, FirstBank purchased the only Citibank branch in the territory, located at Port of $ale Mall.
Crites said the bank intends to institute Saturday hours soon. "We haven't decided which branch it will be yet," he said. "But we recognize the need."
He also said there are plans to eventually open another branch on St. Thomas.
According to a release issued Monday, First BanCorp, FirstBank's parent corporation, has total assets of more than $5.5 billion. FirstBank operates 52 financial service facilities throughout Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It also operates Money Express, a finance company with 26 offices in Puerto Rico, and First Truck and Car Rental, a car and truck rental leasing company with offices in Bayamón, Rio Piedras, Guaynabo, Isabela and Caguas, P.R.
FirstBank has maintained a presence in the V.I. since 1962, including a branch at Windward Passage and later one at Market Square.
First BanCorp President and CEO Angel Alvarez Pérez said Monday, "Since 1962 FirstBank has been committed to the Virgin Islands community and the acquisition of FVI is further evidence of that commitment. We intend to continue increasing that commitment over time by continually improving the quality of banking services we provide."

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.