Bank worker María Luz Matos

April 30, 1994, was María Luz Matos Bravet's first day of work at Banco Popular de Ahorro (BPA by its acronym in Spanish); she remembers it with Swiss watch precision. "I didn't come to the bank looking for a job, but because it came knocking at my door," she recalls now, after almost three decades at the financial institution, and she is grateful for that first opportunity that has made her grow as a professional and a human being.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- "The BPA has been in existence for four decades and I started in its first 10 years of existence, so I feel almost like a founder. I have seen many transformations in this period, from manual labor to digital transformation, and, on the other hand, I have also been able to participate in the response of its workers to each process.

"Just as the country has had its historic generation, I understand that the Bank has also had its generation and I am very proud to be part of it. Now there is a new generation and many of us are close to retirement, but I hope that those who are starting will assume the same responsibility," says Matos Bravet, who manages the savings bank located in the La Victoria district of the city of Las Tunas.

“Since I was Born I Have Been in the Bank!”

Bank worker Ana Iris Aguilera CarraleroResponsibility, respect, discretion, honesty, and dedication are words that she associates with the BPA and which have not been lacking in her daily work and in the teaching of each disciple she has trained. These principles are common to Ana Iris Aguilera Carralero, who has been with the BPA for 38 years, most of which have been spent as an auditor.

"I owe the training I have to the Bank, this place educates people. A worker in this branch is distinguished, you notice it, by the correctness of his behavior, the way he speaks, and the way he expresses himself in public. Here you acquire values and change your behavior in life.

"Auditing is also a school and a field that requires ongoing training in all products and services," she says, with the certainty that comes from 22 years of working specifically in this field.

Ana Iris speaks with special devotion about the work of women in the institution, which is more than commendable, as is the norm in Cuban society, considering that many have to reconcile work and management with motherhood and caring for their families and, often, the elderly. "It involves a lot of sacrifice, commitment, and dedication," she says.

This is something that María Luz speaks for herself. On more than one occasion, she has gone to work very ill, because her responsibility as head of the team and custodian of the institution demands it; on the other hand, she adjusts her holiday periods precisely so that she can see her family who live far away. "At the Bank, if you are there, you have to be there," she says, resolutely, to signify the rigor and responsibility that this exercise entails.

Faces of Popular Savings Bank: Isabel the “Pianist” of Souls

Bank worker Caridad Mercedes Asprón HernándezCaridad Mercedes Asprón Hernández, the head of the Department of the Bank's Provincial Directorate, is well aware of the financial sector's commitment to gender inclusion and provides us with the statistics on the fly.

"We have 536 workers in the BPA, and in Las Tunas 333, that is, 62 percent are women; a reality that is also palpable in the management activity in which the majority of the workforce is female," she points out.

She also speaks appropriately about growing up in the face of difficulties, having experienced in her family environment what the demographic dynamics have been describing for years for the largest of the Antilles: an aging population and growing care needs. Now, the defecologist by training is preparing for a new stage of life: retirement.

"I try to instill in young people a sense of discipline and hard work, and especially in the case of women, I try not to let anything stop them from developing. I have always enjoyed helping young people and educating them to give the best of themselves in their work, to communicate, to love their work, to present themselves with a good formal education and customer service... that way there will be no unsatisfied or poorly served people," she says while honoring her status as an educator.

These three women dedicated to serving Banco Popular de Ahorro and, in short, Cuba, have much more in common: hours of daily work, countless sacrifices, efforts in pursuit of the institution's development, contributions to the training of the younger generations, and much more. Their evocations refer to the daily heroism of Cuban women and demonstrate the sense of belonging to a financial institution that, in its 40th year, has one of its greatest strengths in its female workers.