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Roberto Isaias, the story of a man who beat the odds

Roberto Isaias

Roberto Isaias: The man behind the family Isaias which beat adversity

Roberto Isaias is a remarkable man with a family history of beating the odds against incredible adversity. The family story began with Roberto’s grandfather, Mema, who was born in a small town called Sequiet Eljait, in Lebanon and arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1912.

Starting with very little, the family business began to grow because of a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit and Roberto was groomed to one day take over. The Isaias Group’s biggest asset was, Filanbanco, the largest bank in Ecuador, was run by Roberto’s uncle Nahim Isaias Barquet, but his life was tragically ended by terrorists who tried to extort vast amounts of money from the family.

Roberto was thrust into the position of President of a rapidly growing business, which only expanded under his leadership. During those years, Filanbanco would extend lines of credit to businesses who most needed them, like those in agriculture, the shrimp industry and the industrial sector of the country.

However, the financial crisis in Ecuador during 1998-1999 changed everything, and the rapidly unpopular President Jamil Mahuad looked for scapegoats and found them in the Isaias brothers who were considered close with his opposition.

Foundation Nahim Isaias

This forced the family to flee to the U.S. where they were forced to start anew. However, they never forgot the Ecuadorian people and to this day, Roberto helps manage the Nahim Isaias Foundation, which helps provide desperately needed health services to many, especially the impoverished in his homeland.

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