NU Online News Service, July 3, 9:30 a.m. – W. Holding Company Inc., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, the financial holding company of Westernbank Puerto Rico, says it has entered the insurance business by acquiring a general insurance agency headquartered in Mayaguez.

The new corporation, to be known as Westernbank Insurance Corp., will begin operations immediately, operating as a general agent. The firm will distribute life and disability insurance as well as property-casualty insurance.

Frank C. Stipes, chairman of W. Holding, says, “The company believes that the acquisition of the insurance agency, together with the acquisition of the asset-based loan portfolio from Congress Financial Corporation announced last week, will have a pre-tax income effect of approximately $6.5 to $8.5 million in the first year of operation and $10 to $12 million in the second full year of operation.”

Stipes added that earnings for the second quarter ending June 30, to be reported around July 11, would exceed first quarter 2001 record earnings and most recent security analysts’ estimates.