Imagine a banking system so pervasive, so utterly dominant, that it literally strangles growth by forcing any measure to fit its objectives and not those of a truly free market.
Imagine no more: Call it Banco Popular of Puerto Rico. Time and time again I've mentioned its stranglehold on Our economy, and I must admit, to little response. Oh, sure, there's the "Well they are expensive" response and the "It's all about politics", but they are also joined by "That's My bank" and variations of "So what?"
Valid responses, granted, but they miss the point: No national economy can grow with a single-source vision. And Banco Popular is the single-source vision in the following areas:
--Government cash flow
--Personal loans, both regular and high-interest
--Construction loans, both private and commercial
--ATM and credit card transaction processing
--Electronic payment/transfer processing
There is little doubt that Banco Popular achieved its dominant position by legal means; it is,
after all, a bank run under Federal guidelines. (Your mileage may vary.) But having done it by legal or "legal" means doesn't reduce the notion that the bank's position is contrary to Our best economic interest.
Call Banco Popular "Uncle Juan" and have Uncle Juan be the last word in the use of any monies within your extended family. Want to buy a house? Uncle Juan says yes or no. Want to buy a car? Uncle Juan says yay or nay. Feel like going on a trip somewhere exotic? Uncle Juan makes or breaks your plans with his decision.
Small potatoes? Okay, talk about changing the rules of the game, expanding the family by bringing in a richer political uncle or another group of families with deep pockets and see what Uncle Juan says. Is his "no" in your best interest?
The problem isn't the obvious negatives Uncle Juan--or Banco Popular--throw into the fray: It's the "nos" that pre-empt potential developments, negative decisions that aren't made so much as they simply erase the possibility of a yes. And what do you call a system where the possibility of true growth is largely eliminated?
Or dying. Or hopeless. No matter the adjective, We're talking doldrums and maybe even despair.
But it isn't an impossible situation to change. No position is impregnable and Banco Popular has a
soft underbelly. Will We find a way to attack it, to weaken the stranglehold Banco Popular keeps on Our collective throats?
I'm willing to bet that We will.
The Jenius Has Spoken.