Son of Granahorrar's "architect" opens up about father's life

Julio Carrizosa Mutis spent his entire life helping others in need and instilled that sense of generosity in his three sons.

Carrizosa was a self-made entrepreneur. As a young child, he would rent out his bike to generate income.

He completed his studies at a Colombian university as an engineer but never graduated. Carrizosa married Astrida Benita, a Latvian refugee who emigrated to the United States and they went on to have three sons, Alberto, Enrique and Felipe.

Alberto, Carrizosa's eldest son, divides his time between Colombia and the U.S. He graduated from Boston University and now heads the family's businesses.

Alberto Carrizosa, said his father went on to work for a large real estate developer and moved up the ranks, eventually becoming a chief officer.

"One of the big problems he saw was people would buy their plots of land and then have no money left to put a home on it," Alberto Carrizosa said in an interview with Latin Business Daily. "People would eventually buy bricks, a door, a piece of roof and start living in basically unsanitary and inhuman lifestyles because they had no more money for their home."

Alberto Carrizosa said his father started to brainstorm how to build a house on a plot of land for close to the same cost as purchasing just the land so that people could live in better homes.

"This was over 50 years ago, before the internet, and he started researching pre-fabricated homes," Alberto Carrizosa said. "He even traveled to Puerto Rico and Finland to look at these types of homes and learned about how to make these."

Alberto Carrizosa said Julio Carrizosa came back to Colombia and showed them his research, but they did not have any interest in building homes because they only sold plots of land and that was it.

"At that point, he quit his job," Alberto Carrizosa said.

Julio Carrizosa then partnered with an architect friend to found Industrial de Construcciones.

"Their partnership lasted many many years," Alberto Carrizosa said. "They even won a government contract to build these homes. They became very successful in building these projects for the government."

Julio Carrizosa's company build low-income housing from 1970 until 1986.

"He was solely dedicated to building these low-income homes," Alberto Carrizosa said. "By unit number, his company was the biggest in Colombia and in sales it was in the top five."

When the government decided it was no longer in the business of building homes, Alberto Carrizosa took ownership of Granahorrar Bank and focused on construction and mortgages.

"We then worked on creating a bigger bank," Alberto Carrizosa said. "When my father took over Granahorrar, it was close to the 47th national institution by size and when it was expropriated in 1998, it was the seventh largest in the country."

Julio Carrizosa was very dedicated to the bank.  

"Just as he did with housing, my father gave people more for the same or lower costs," Alberto Carrizosa said.

Carrizosa said, including easier access to banking products for underprivileged citizens.

In 1998, the Colombian government seized Granahorrar Bank. While it assisted other banks that year during the financial crisis, Granahorrar was the only bank it seized. The Carrizosa family never received compensation after the expropriation.

Alberto Carrizosa said his father's industrial construction company, now called IC, continues to strive to help the less fortunate.

"He firmly believed that wealth should be distributed to those in need," Alberto Carrizosa said. "He was always a very generous person."

When Julio Carrizosa passed away in September, Alberto Carrizosa said his father was working until his last few days of life.

"One of his biggest sorrows is he was never vindicated during his lifetime with regard to the injustice that occurred [with the bank]," Alberto Carrizosa said.

Julio Carrizosa's sons have continued to run IC. All three of them have dual-citizenship with the United States because their mother is a U.S. citizen.

"We continue to work in a partnership where our father's legacy continues to be very important," Albert Carrizosa said.

As one of Julio Carrizosa's last ventures, IC created a foundation that does loans to least-favored social classes in associative ventures.

"We lend money to rural co-ops that need money to create there own entrepreneurial schemes," Albert Carrizosa said. 

Alberto Carrizosa said his father's legacy of caring for those in a less-favored status continues to be something that he and his brothers continue to work on.

Organizations in this Story

Granahorrar Industrial de Construcciones

Want to get notified whenever we write about any of these organizations ?
Next time we write about any of these organizations, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.