Joel Eliza – CFG 

Shaping the future of consumer finance 

Joel Eliza, the vice president & general counsel at CFG Partners, is supporting the steering of the company’s success and growth in the consumer finance industry.  

Joel Eliza | Vice President & General Counsel | CFG 

Joel Eliza | Vice President & General Counsel | CFG

CFG Partners operates in Panama, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Dutch Caribbean Islands, specializing in hassle-free unsecured personal loans and ancillary credit insurance products. With over 40 years of Company history, Eliza’s support and guidance have brought an additional force to support the Company’s leadership position in its markets, valued for its expertise and commitment to serving an often-overlooked segment of the population. 

Eliza’s responsibilities go beyond the conventional legal role, ensuring regulatory compliance and actively contributing to the company’s expansion into different jurisdictions. His involvement spans from supporting the finance team for financing opportunities the operations team for business initiatives, to liaising with local governments to advocate for increased access to credit for underserved consumers. Eliza brings a comprehensive understanding of CFG Partners’ operations, acting as a true partner in its success. 

As the first point of contact for all legal aspects of an international company in seven different jurisdictions, which includes but is not limited to labor, regulatory, corporate, transactional and contractual commercial matters, Eliza values the long-standing and professional relationships acquired during his tenure to provide accurate and efficient legal and strategic advice to all areas of the company.  

Adapting towards the digital revolution 

CFG Partners, with the support of Eliza, is embarking on a comprehensive transformational journey. The company recognizes the essential role of technology in reshaping the financial landscape and is investing in the creation of efficiencies, which includes streamlining customer interactions, optimizing internal workflows and enhancing overall digital capabilities to deliver a seamless and modern financial experience. 

Joel Eliza | Vice President & General Counsel | CFG 

“CFG Partners is committed to expanding its footprint in financial inclusion,” Eliza says. “We are actively exploring initiatives that extend access to credit and financial services to underserved populations.”  

He asserts that by leveraging innovative approaches and strategic partnerships, CFG Partners aims to positively impact communities while fostering sustainable growth.  

Another notable project for Eliza involves the continuous enhancement of risk management protocols. In an ever-changing global landscape, CFG Partners prioritizes fortifying risk mitigation strategies. This encompasses leveraging data analytics, refining compliance frameworks, and staying abreast of emerging risks to ensure the company operates with resilience and foresight. 

CFG Partners continuously explores opportunities for international collaborations and joint ventures. By fostering strategic partnerships, the company seeks to leverage synergies, expand its market presence, and tap into new avenues for growth. 

Legal leadership 

Under Eliza’s leadership in the legal department, CFG Partners is not merely navigating the currents of change but actively steering the ship toward a future defined by innovation, resilience and strategic growth. Eliza’s approach to leading the legal aspects of the business extends beyond the traditional realms, positioning him as a contributing factor for transformative initiatives and reshaping the company’s trajectory. Mr. Eliza works closely with all areas of the Company. He actively seeks ways to accommodate each of the departments’ goals, strategies, and initiatives within the boundaries of the different legal and regulatory landscapes. 

As a forward-thinking leader, Joel places a premium on technological evolution. Joel promotes that CFG Partners keeps abreast with industry best practices and emerges as a frontrunner in adopting cutting-edge solutions. 

CFG Partners is not content with the status quo; instead, under Eliza’s legal guidance, it actively seeks to redefine its financial services.   

“Since the impact and lessons learned of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, technological solutions to remotely serve our clients, from loan originations to disbursements as well as collections, have been one of the priorities for CFG Partners. Maintaining contact with our clients through customer service and support is crucial for the segment of our population. This is one of the vital aspects of maintaining good performance and quality in our loan portfolio,” Eliza says. 

Eliza’s legal support extends beyond operational efficiency to societal impact. CFG Partners’ endeavors to expand financial inclusion underscore a commitment to making a positive difference in the communities it serves. By exploring initiatives that extend access to credit to underserved populations, CFG Partners aligns business success with a broader vision of social responsibility. 

Eliza envisions a future where CFG Partners thrives and leads in an ever-evolving financial landscape.  Under Eliza’s guidance, CFG Partners is poised to navigate uncharted waters, leveraging partnerships to tap into new growth opportunities and solidify its standing as an industry trailblazer. 

Love for law 

Eliza earned a degree in political science at Universidad de Puerto Rico and a J.D. from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico School of Law. His academic journey reached new heights with an LL.M. from the George Washington University Law School. 

Initially drawn to law by his family’s rich legal legacy, Eliza’s early career took him through nearly two years of private practice, specializing in civil litigation defending insurance carriers. However, his trajectory shifted after pursuing a master’s degree, sparking a newfound interest in an in-house role. This transformation laid the foundation for his impactful tenure at CFG. 

“I have been blessed throughout my legal career to work among great leaders and professional colleagues from whom I have learned a lot and who have supported each other in all our professional endeavors. I have been lucky enough to say that all my bosses have been mentors, and my colleagues have been my friends,” he says.  

Joining Caribbean Financial Group in February 2012, Eliza assumed the role of general counsel, overseeing all legal and regulatory matters of CFG’s international operations.  

Beyond his professional endeavors, Eliza is the youngest of three children, born to two medical doctors, and a dedicated family man. A sports enthusiast, he expresses a profound love for basketball, particularly as a longtime Chicago Bulls fan, and soccer, where he passionately supports Lionel Messi.  

“At work and home, there is never a dull moment,” Eliza jokes.  

View this feature in the Vanguard Spring II 2024 Edition here.

Published on: April 16, 2024



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