W Holding Company

W Holding Company

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W Holding Company

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The W Holding Company was a financial holding corporation located in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. On April 30, 2010, Westernbank, its wholly owned bank subsidiary, failed and its deposits and assets were seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and subsequently sold to Banco Popular de Puerto Rico.


Westernbank was founded on March 1, 1958 under the name Western Federal Savings and Loan Association of Puerto Rico in the western town of Mayagüez by Miguel A. García Méndez, a local statesman, businessman and experienced banker. With initial deposits reaching $250,000, the bank grew at a rapid rate, quadrupling its deposits and assets in less than 9 months. By the early 1960s, Westernbank had expanded to the western and southwestern region of the island, with bank branches in the towns of Aguadilla, San Germán and Cabo Rojo.

Between 1978 and 1981, when the United States and Puerto Rican economies were suffering from high inflation rates, local banks were facing losses due to an increasing number in bankruptcies and unemployment rates, and some were forced to either close, merge, or sell portions of their assets. To counter these economic conditions, Westernbank applied conservative policies and banking practices that included tightening its credit lending criteria, assuming stricter loan to value ratio, favoring collateralized loans, and restructuring its assets and...
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