Latino Bank Opens

Edgar Martinez and Gene Juarez are behind the "Gran Apertura" 

OK, you say, Seattle Weekly debuted Gustavo Arellano's "Ask a Mexican" column last week and now it's looking for Latinos everywhere. Be that as it may, it so happens that this morning I received an invitation to the "Gran Apertura" of Plaza Bank, the first Latino-owned bank in the state, the fifth in the nation. According to assistant manager Shauna Plante, the bank's 12 founders include former Mariners star Edgar Martinez and beauty salon entrepreneur Gene Juarez. The bank is pitching itself as a "community bank" whose bilingual staff will cater to a Latino clientele. And its location is one answer to those wondering where local Latinos are based: Kent. Plante says the bank's address at Kent Station-the aspirational mall that is that city's answer to University Village-offers access to the rapidly growing Hispanic population in Seattle's more affordable southern suburbs.

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