The $20 million loan will promote the creation of 1,200 jobs in the eastern region of Puerto Rico.
By THE STAR STAFF
In an unprecedented event, the island’s system of credit unions positioned itself as a significant promoter of the economy by granting a commercial loan of $20 million to the iconic El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo.
The loan’s closing occurred after an agreement among 16 cooperatives from all over Puerto Rico to grant historic financing for tourism development.
The loan will promote the creation of 1,200 jobs in the eastern region of the island.
Mabel Jiménez, president of the Public Corporation for the Supervision and Insurance of Puerto Rico Cooperatives (COSSEC), said the co-op system has always been a fundamental piece in the economic development of Puerto Rico. She congratulated the credit unions for coming together on a common front and becoming an alternative for commercial financing.
“The cooperative system is strong and united. There is no stopping them,” she said. “Once again, the cooperative system gives a class with its contribution to the economic development of our island. As the executive president of COSSEC and as a cooperative member, I am proud that 16 cooperatives have come together to make a historic contribution to subsidize a large-scale project for the administration of the El Conquistador Hotel.”
Jiménez added that “it is important to us at the Corporation that cooperatives take full advantage of the guidelines and regulations we promulgate.”
“Through our regulations, we establish criteria that allow economic development through the release of permitted activities and investments and the flexibility of their operations under a prudent administrative and financial framework,” she said.
The COSSEC regulations allow granting loans for economic development or activities of high public interest that create jobs and improve the economy in general, such as tourism.
The cooperatives providing financing were: Credicentro Coop, Cabo Rojo Coop, Caguas Coop, HatiCoop, Moca Coop, Jayuya Coop, Cidreña, MaunaCoop, Las Piedras Cooperative, Jesús Obrero Cooperative, Cupey Alto Cooperative, Buena Coop, Roosevelt Roads Cooperative, Boni Coop, San Blas Cooperative and Manatí Coop.
Edgar López, president of the Las Piedras Cooperative, said the multi-million-dollar financing is the beginning of their contributions to the industry.
“We are opening the door to continue with this type of project and be a financing alternative for Puerto Rico, not only for the tourism sector but also for many other sectors, particularly of social interest,” he said.
Likewise, Néstor Amador, a hotel representative, stated that “the support of the 16 cooperatives is essential for the development of this company and to leverage the exponential growth of the Hotel El Conquistador.”
“A few years ago, everything was austerity, but we have gotten back on our feet, and the cooperative sector is supporting the economy,” Jiménez said. “For our part, I want you to know that at COSSEC we are ready to receive you and work together to forge a solid future for cooperatives and Puerto Rico.”