The Office of the Commissioner for Financial Institutions (OCIF), through its Commissioner, Natalia Zequera Diaz, today briefly issued a Complaint Order, Suspension, Suspension and Temporary Order Appointing a Guardian against First Finance International Bank, Inc.an international financial entity regulated and operating under the Puerto Rico International Financial Center Regulation Act.
Requires First Finance to suspend operations as an EFI for being “in” total non-compliance with the minimum capital required by both the Act and OCIF’s June 10, 2019 approval order, non-compliance with the requirements specified in the license renewal process and the concealment of relevant information on their audited financial statements.
In addition, the Order imposes administrative fines of up to $775,000.00 on First Finance for various violations of laws and/or regulations under OCIF’s jurisdiction, and requires delivery of $300,000.00 identical to a certificate of deposit previously pledged in favor of OCIF and orders that it be subject to a dissolution and liquidation process. , which guarantees the deposits of its customers.
The order states that from the beginning of First Finance’s banking operation in Puerto Rico, OCIF has ensured due process of law in the course of all its administrative proceedings before the regulatory entity. However, “[A] Despite multiple opportunities to demonstrate honest compliance with the law, First Finance has incurred a systematic pattern of non-compliance with statutory minimum capital requirements to operate the EFI in a viable manner. Documents and/or information, including commercial records and audited financial statements, available in First Finance’s administrative file before OCIF, demonstrate very clearly that the financial institution is facing a bankruptcy scenario, as defined by law,” according to Pray Order.
According to OCIF in its order, “Currently, there is an imminent risk: (i) to the safety and adequacy of the operation of First Finance, including, but not limited to, deposits in its possession; and (ii) the public interest which OCIF must protect , which consists of ensuring that international financial institutions comply with applicable standards and/or legal requirements for a sound, responsible and viable operation.”
“The above exceptional circumstances, on their own and/or analyzed as a whole, justify the OCIF to issue the corresponding order, on a summary basis, so that the provisions herein shall take effect immediately, as permitted by law.”
In order to adequately protect the rights of all interested parties, OCIF has appointed attorney and CPA Wigberto Lugo Mender to act as trustee for First Finance with immediate effect.
“The Trustee will take immediate possession of the assets, liabilities, books, records, documents and files of First Finance and will occupy and exercise the functions that the board of directors of the international financial entity holds today. In addition, the main objective of the recipient will be to organize the affairs of the entity in such a way that the process of dissolution and liquidation of the international financial entity can be completed. Without further delay,” it was pointed out.
At the same time, First Finance has been called for a hearing within ten days at the OCIF to determine whether the appointed temporary order becomes permanent or rescinded and to give First Finance the opportunity to hear the order and confirm, amend or rescind it. If it does not appear, OCIF will continue to confirm, modify or cancel the temporary order, and so will the order.