Despite a notice published Monday apparently to meet Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. requirements, FirstBank of Puerto Rico is still dodging questions about its pending purchase of Citibank in the Virgin Islands.
Not only was there a notice in a Virgin Islands newspaper concerning FirstBanks application to the FDIC to run several branches, including the space now occupied by Citibank at Port-of-Sale, St. Thomas, but officials of FirstBank were also quoted last week in the Puerto Rico media as saying the 14,000 Citibank clients in three Puerto Rico branches would benefit from the change.
The purchase has been rumored for weeks.
Gail Joseph, operations officer for FirstBank on St. Thomas, said Monday that she had received many inquiries but was under orders from her superiors not to give out any information.
"They told us not to have anything to say. Theyre not even telling us anything," she said.
She referred questions to the district manager in Puerto Rico, Marcello Lopez, but he had earlier referred questions to "Mrs. Rosello" in public relations. Repeated calls to her office were not returned.
John Forbes, Citibank manager in St. Thomas, did not return messages either.
The notice does not mention Citibank. Rather, it says FirstBank will apply to the FDIC "for authorization to establish a full-service branch at the following locations." It goes on to give three address in Puerto Rico and the address of Citibank at Port-of-Sale Mall, Havensight, St. Thomas.