Richard Carrion, the chairman and chief executive of Popular Inc., said that instead of shrinking only mortgage-related assets and operations, it is taking aim at its core banking operation by slashing staff and branches and even restructuring its operations in Puerto Rico.

Mr. Carrion, who has been leading Popular since 1990 and spearheaded its expansion into new mainland U.S. markets and subprime lending, conceded that the turn of events is a personal setback.

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