September 15th – October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month. At Northeast Credit Union, we are proud to recognize the accomplishments of the Hispanic and Latinx communities. We are honoring four individuals in the finance and entrepreneurship industry who have had an incredible impact nationally and within their communities.
Romana Acosta Bañuelos (1925 – 2018)
Romana Acosta Bañuelos came to the United States in the 1940s as a single mother with two children, little money and could not speak English. She used her savings to start her own tortilla business and later helped establish the first Latino-owned bank in California. In 1971, she received a nomination from former President Richard Nixon to serve as treasurer. Bañuelos accepted her position as the 34th treasurer of the United States and served from 1971 – 1974.
Eliu Romero was the first Hispanic bank owner in the United States. Originally, Romero’s dream was to open a law practice. He went to take out a $50 loan to purchase furniture for his new business and he was rejected. The bank’s resolution for his rejection was for him to open a bank willing to serve all people, cultures, and languages of the community. So, he did just that. On March 1, 1969, Romero opened the Centinel Bank of Taos in New Mexico. It is now listed as one of the top 400 largest Hispanic-owned corporations in the country.
Roberto Goizueta (1931 - 1997)
Roberto Goizueta was the first Hispanic CEO in the United States. He was the former President and CEO of Coca-Cola from 1981-1997. Under his long stewardship, the company tripled in size and the price of Coca-Cola stock increased by 3,500%. Goizueta also served on the board of directors at SunTrust Banks, now known as Truist.
Maria Elena Lagomasino (1949 -)
Maria Elena Lagomasino has proved to be a very successful Hispanic businesswomen in the financial industry. Before 1983, Lagomasino was the Vice President at Citibank and then joined Chase as Vice President. From 2001-2003, she was chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Private Bank and a director for the Coca-Cola Company. She decided to leave JP Morgan in 2005 to become the CEO of Asset Management Advisors, an affiliate of SunTrust Banks, now known as Truist. Lagomasino was recognized for her amazing achievements by being named Hispanic Business Woman of the Year in 2007 by Hispanic Business Magazine.
For more information on these historic individuals, please visit the sources below.