Puerto Rico's Biggest Bank Added 40,000 Accounts Since Hurricane

(Bloomberg) -- Popular Inc. has added 40,000 accounts since Hurricane Maria as it benefited from rivals’ retrenchment, Chief Executive Officer Ignacio Alvarez said.

The lender saw an influx of customers from other financial institutions that closed branches after the storm, Alvarez said Wednesday at a 125th anniversary event for the bank in San Juan.

Still, the gains were surprising given the trend in Puerto Rico migration to the mainland, which was dramatically accelerated by the storm that left much of the island without power for months. A George Washington University study estimated that there were about 280,000 fewer people on the island by mid-February 2018, compared with the period immediately before the hurricane, an 8 percent drop.

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