Magazine article American Banker


Magazine article American Banker


Article excerpt

Pitching Stones

Richard Carrion is helping to pave the roads of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Though the chairman of Popular Inc. does not plan to get his hands dirty, he has enlisted his company to support Mayor Jorge Santini's effort to replace the cobblestones in the island's capital.

Mr. Carrion has agreed to pay for an islandwide advertising campaign to persuade Puerto Ricans to "adopt" a cobblestone in Old San Juan, the city's historic district, for $5 each. The company has not disclosed the cost of the advertising campaign.

Customers of Banco Popular, his company's Puerto Rican banking subsidiary, can make a donation at any branch. In return, they get a key ring with a replica of a cobblestone, complete with a number -- Mr. Carrion got No. 1 -- and the logos of Banco Popular and the city.

Replacing all the stones would cost $50 million. Popular said its goal is to arrange for 300,000 cobblestone adoptions through its 192 Puerto Rico branches.

"Old San Juan is very close and dear to my heart and to all Puerto Ricans," Mr. Carrion wrote in an e-mail last week. "Throughout the years Old San Juan has inspired artists and poets. It welcomes those who visit the island, mesmerizing them with its impressive views."

The campaign, which was rolled out Sept. 19, is expected to expand soon to New York, home to more Puerto Ricans than the island. Banco Popular North America is headquartered in Chicago but has 32 branches in New York.

"It's a privilege to be part of this project to preserve the beauty of our capital city," said Mr. …

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