A Colonial Bank under Spanish and American Sovereignty: The Banco Español de Puerto Rico, 1888-1913
This paper offers the history of the Banco Español de Puerto Rico from its creation in 1888 to its liquidation in 1913. The Banco Español was the sole note-issuing institution of the island until 1898, when Puerto Rico was transferred to the United States. The establishment of the Bank was plagued with difficulties and during its first decade of existence it met with diverse obstacles that hindered its financial development. However, it contributed to diversifying the underdeveloped banking structure of the colony, to bringing down the cost of credit, and to modernizing the island’s monetary system. The transfer of sovereignty was traumatic since the Bank lost its issue monopoly and had to adjust to US banking legislation. In 1905, its name was changed to Banco de Puerto Rico and its by-laws were reformed. The last years of the Bank’s life were prosperous and it once again made an important contribution to the island’s economy. All in all, the history of the institution is a mixture of errors and achievements, a history of setbacks and successes.
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