Quiroz Santroni Abogados, based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has announced the expansion of its partnership with the hiring of former Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernandez partner Hipólito García. Garcia will oversee the banking and financing practice group at his new firm, and will focus on corporate finance, project finance, and M&A.

As Quiroz Santroni expands its reach, García said he hopes that with his experience in the legal market, he can broaden the firm’s spectrum of legal services and of course, increase clients, “while always maintaining and keeping in mind the firm’s main objective to assist clients or their projects to develop in a sustainable way, aiming for the right balance between development and environmental conservation.”

García has noted several trends in the banking and finance sector in Dominican Republic.

“Slowly but surely, it’s expected that both domestic and international commercial banks will continue on their attempt to finance major projects in the Dominican Republic, a role to a great extent assumed by multilateral and development banks since 2008,” he said. “Participation of commercial banks in the past couple of years has surely increased in connection with this type of financing operations.”

García said he expects that the players in the local banking market will drop following the news of a merger of two major banking institutions in the country in 2013. In a $4.7 billion deal that was finalized in December 2013 and came in effect in January 2014, Banco BHD and Banco Leon merged to create Dominican Republic’s second largest bank.

“There is also a lot of focus in expanding access to banking services to the general population in the Dominican Republic,” Garcia said. “Backed by both governmental and private efforts, we notice the attention put on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), towards allowing such entities to access credit facilities. We note also the rise in new electronic payment methods, including through the use of cell phones, and the attempts to develop banking sub-agencies, in the hopes of incorporating individuals currently outside our banking system, and facilitating access to such individuals residing in zones lacking from nearby banking offices or branches.”