CORAL GABLES, Fla., March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Banesco USA, a full service commercial bank based in Coral Gables, announced the appointment of veteran international banker Carlos Palomares as Chairman of its Board of Directors.
Palomares will replace Raul J. Valdes-Fauli, an attorney and former mayor of Coral Gables who had chaired Banesco USA — formerly known as BBU Bank — since the institution's beginnings in 2006. Valdes-Fauli had recently requested his succession to be able to devote longer hours to his partnership in the global law firm Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli.
Palomares is president and CEO of SMC Resources, a consulting practice that provides advice to senior executives on business and marketing, and board member of the Pan American Life Insurance Group. He has held senior management roles in the consumer financial services industry spanning the US and international markets for more than three decades. He served as chief operating officer of Capital One Federal Savings Bank, and previously served with Citigroup as country manager for consumer banking in Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, chairman and CEO of Citibank's consumer bank in Italy, president and CEO of Citibank-Florida, and chief operating officer for Citibank, Latin America.
"Our bank is delighted that a seasoned professional with Carlos Palomares' extensive banking experience and knowledge of the South Florida and international marketplaces has agreed to join our board as chairman," said Rafael (Rafo) Saldana, President and CEO of Banesco USA. "Carlos is a highly respected leader in our industry and a solid member of our community. The invaluable expertise he brings to our institution will enable us to accomplish all our strategic initiatives."
Saldana said Palomares arrives at the "precise moment" when the bank is poised to undertake a number of "expansion challenges" both locally and internationally.
The Board issued a message lauding the work of Valdes-Fauli as chairman. The message read in part: "We are convinced that we would not be where we are today without Raul's generous support and commitment, beginning at our project stage…Banesco USA and its shareholders will forever have a debt of gratitude with Raul Valdes-Fauli."
Palomares was born in Cuba and graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science degree in quantitative analysis. His civic and business roles in South Florida have included serving on several local boards. He is past chairman of the Beacon Council, a trustee of the Florida International University Foundation, and a member of the executive committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Since opening more than six years ago, Banesco USA has been growing gradually in Greater Miami's competitive banking market. In addition to its main office in Coral Gables, the bank has a branch and operations center in Doral and a branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Additionally, Banesco USA plans to add a third South Florida branch in April through the purchase of one of Great Florida Bank's branches in Weston, Broward County. The bank opened in Coral Gables with less than a dozen employees. Today, it has over 100 employees, with plans to add 30 to 35 more this year, according to President Saldana.
At the end of 2011, Banesco USA reported annual earnings of $3.8 million, more than double its profits of $1.7 in 2010. At year-end the Coral Gables bank reported it had $490 million in assets, $425 million in deposits, and $296 million in quality loans. The loans were up almost 47 percent from 2010.
"Our full-year results show we have become a market leader supporting the growth of South Florida with a focus on medium-sized businesses, trade finance, and the real estate industry," adds Saldana.