Nave Bank Opens First Digital Bank in Puerto Rico

Nave Bank Opens First Digital Bank in Puerto Rico

In a big moment for Puerto Rico’s financial sector, Nave Bank, thas obtained authorization from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Puerto Rico Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF) to initiate operations.

This approval is especially significant as it marks the establishment of the first new domestic bank in Puerto Rico in over 20 years and is only the fourth banking license granted this year throughout the U.S. and its territories.

NOTE: Nave bank is a domestic banking charter. It has been 20 years since a new license of this type has been issued. There are also about 60 international banks operating in Puerto Rico.

Highlighting the monumental nature of this authorization, Nave Bank’s CEO, Carlos M. García, illuminated the gravity of becoming the island’s foremost community bank with a digital concentration. García brought attention to the fact that since 1995, the number of active banking institutions in Puerto Rico has dwindled from 21 to a mere six, with 90% of local banking activities centralized in just three banks.

The founders behind Nave Bank’s inception are an eclectic mix. From seasoned experts of both local and U.S. banking professionals specialized in areas such as technology, business management, and finance. Intriguingly, many among them are alumni of Forward 787, a talent amplification initiative kickstarted by Red Ventures in the aftermath of Hurricane María.

Under its operational design, Nave Bank is poised to assume the role of a Minority Depository Institution (MDI), aiming to escalate its functions in structured phases. The bank’s initial effort will focus on the digital and banking fiscal requirements of Puerto Rican businesses. In its second phase, Nave Bank will expand to offer comprehensive Business and Consumer banking solutions.

Mariel Arraiza, the President of Product and Consumer Banking at Nave Bank, envisions the future trajectory with optimism. She stresses the institution’s ambition to pioneer an unparalleled, consumer-centric banking paradigm, underpinned by streamlined procedures and avant-garde technological frameworks. This technology-backed structure, as Arraiza elucidates, will ensure a fortified digital milieu adhering to the apex cybersecurity norms.

The ethos of Nave Bank is distinctly community-oriented. It aspires to foster financial solutions that catalyze community growth and steer Puerto Rico into a progressive tomorrow. The foundational team of the bank remains devoted to surmounting client anticipations, nurturing local prowess, and presenting banking services that are advantageous, straightforward, and transparent.

In terms of financial backing, Nave Bank boasts an impressive roster of investors. Red Ventures, spearheaded by Puerto Rican entrepreneur Ric Elías; BayBoston, an initiative of Carlos M. García, with an investment portfolio rich in community and digital banks; and Ribbit Capital, known for its stake in fintech magnates like CreditKarma and Nubank, form the investment triumvirate. This is further bolstered by contributions from five of the foremost U.S. banks and a consortium of over 20 local patrons.

Nave Bank plans to go live (open its digital doors) in September, setting up its branch and administrative hub at 1608 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Santurce. As the bank rolls out its operations, further intricacies regarding its introductory business offerings will be unveiled.

In essence, Nave Bank’s emergence on the Puerto Rican financial horizon is not merely the introduction of another bank; it hopefully signifies a transformative stride towards a digital, inclusive, and forward-thinking banking landscape.
For more information on setting up a digital bank, using an international banking license, in Puerto Rico, please contact me at I will be happy to work with you to build an online bank in the US territory of Puerto Rico.