Tel: 305.779.3566
Fax: 305.779.3561

Assistant: Laura Sierra
Tel: 786.594.4109


Patricia M. Hernandez is a founding partner of AVILA, serves as the firm’s Managing Partner, and is one of the leaders in the Banking & Financial Services practice, as well as the Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions department.   

Ms. Hernandez has decades of experience representing domestic and international banks and other financial institutions, money services businesses and lending companies in all aspects of regulatory, compliance, lending, and transactional matters. She regularly represents clients before the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and several other regulatory agencies. She often assists banks in negotiating and complying with enforcement actions.    

More recently, Ms. Hernandez has been advising banks, financial technology (fintech) companies and regulatory technology (regtech) companies in all aspects of engaging in business together (BaaS, third party risk management, vendor management, etc.) She also represents fintechs and regtechs with licensing requirements and internal risk management matters, as well as government enforcement actions and other regulatory matters.  

She also counsels U.S. and foreign clients on the effects of OFAC regulations concerning Venezuela, Cuba, and other sanctioned parties.  

Ms. Hernandez has specialized knowledge in lending transactions, including asset-backed, trade-finance, factoring, and SBA financing.   

She has exceptional experience in corporate matters, including acquisitions, corporate formation, and review and preparation of contracts for all types of transactions. She regularly counsels foreign businesses who wish to launch their products and services in the U.S.  

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Miami. Ms. Hernandez currently serves on the Board of the Financial & International Business Association (FIBA), and previously served as its General Counsel. She is also a Board Member and Past President of the South Florida Banking Institute (SFBI), and a member of the Florida Association of Managing Partners. She is fluent in English and Spanish.  


  • Lending
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Corporate law, mergers & acquisitions
  • International and cross-border transactions


University of Miami, B.A., magna cum laude (1993)
University of Miami School of Law, J.D., cum laude (1996)


Florida International Bankers Association – General Counsel (2013-Present)
South Florida Banking Institute – Past President and Board of Directors
Women in International Trade – South Florida
Association of Trade & Forfaiting in the Americas (ATFA)
American Bar Association
IR Global (Florida Banking & Finance)
Cuban American Bar Association
Hispanic National Bar Association


Florida (1996)




  • Successfully represented a financial institution in compliance with an extensive enforcement action by federal regulators. 
  • Represented Banesco USA in its acquisition and merger with Brickell Bank. 
  • Lead attorney on acquisition of local community bank by a foreign investor. 
  • Represented shareholders of a local family-owned business in its sale to an out-of-state private equity fund. 
  • Lead counsel in securing State of Florida and other states licensing for money transmission companies, check cashers, and residential mortgage lenders and brokers. 
  • Regularly represents domestic and foreign investors on de novo and acquisitions, including drafting of definitive agreements and joint venture agreements. 
  • Represented client in connection with a $15 million cross-border acquisition of Latin American-based trade loan portfolio insured by Ex-Im Bank. 
  • Represented client in a $1.2 million acquisition of a life insurance company located in Dominican Republic. AVILA handled transactional negotiations and served as escrow agent. 
  • Represents a Latin American bank as lead with respect to its ongoing regulatory compliance matters, as well as an active regulatory enforcement action. AVILA is also assisting the bank’s shareholders in connection with an ownership restructuring of its U.S. and foreign bank operations. 
  • Represented U.S. regional bank as purchaser in a $100 million revolving uncommitted receivables purchase agreement. AVILA’s representation included all aspects of the transaction, including drafting and negotiation of all transaction documents, as well as analysis of tax and regulatory issues. 
  • Regularly represents banks as lenders in syndicated credit facilities. 
  • Regularly represents banks in connection with loans, SBA lending, asset-based financings, and other related matters, with particular attention to securing in-transit inventory as collateral. 
  • Regularly represents banks, financial services institutions, and financial technology companies (fintechs) with respect to regulatory matters, enforcement actions, licensing, and compliance. 
  • Served as General Counsel to FIBA and represents the organization in advocacy efforts on behalf of FIBA constituents and members, including domestic and international banks. In addition, worked with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation to successfully modernize the Florida International Banking Statutes. 
  • Represented a financial technology company (fintech) in connection with the business’ closing of a capital contribution by a national non-profit to increase their financial services offerings in underserved communities throughout the country.  


Publications & Speaking

  • “Financial Institution Regulation: Florida” by Patricia M. Hernandez and Graciela Cardona, Thomson Reuters.  (Last updated April 2024)
  • Panelist at South Florida Compliance BSA and OFAC Seminar on “OFAC Regulatory Environment: Recent Trends and Developments, including Cuba (2016).
  • Moderated ‘Ask the Examiners’ session at FIBA 2016 AML Conference.
  • Presented on ‘Legal Issues Affecting Banks’ at SFBI panel.
  • Speaker at Association of Trade & Forfaiting in the Americas Annual General Conference.
  • Presented on Basel III and Latin Legal Developments at the Florida International Bankers Association International Trade Conference.
  • Presented “Cuba – Paradise Lost or Newest Emerging Market” in conjunction with Florida International Bankers Association.
  • Speaker at Florida International Bankers Association Latin America Trade and Economic Forum.
  • Presented “Fair Lending: Disparate Impact of Policy Decisions” at financial institution Board of Directors and Management Committee Meeting.
  • Speaker at Florida International Bankers Association CELAES XXVI Bank Security Conference.
  • Speaker at Florida International Bankers Association Dodd-Frank Implementation Seminar.
  • Speaker at FIBA-Felaban Clace Trade Finance Conference.

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Lawyers ‘Lawyer of the Year,’ Banking (2021 and 2019) 
  • Women in the Law, by Best Lawyers – Business Edition 2016, within Banking & Finance section.  
  • Latin America’s Top 100 Female Attorneys, by Latinvex 2018. 
  • Recognized among “Best Lawyers in America” in Banking and Finance (2010-2023). 
  • South Florida’s Top Finance Attorneys, by the South Florida Legal Guide (2010-2023). 
  • Florida Super Lawyers (2011-2023). 
  • Chivas Regal Order of Distinction. 
  • Nominated Regulatory Lawyer of the Year, Women in Law, by Chambers USA (2012). 
  • International Business Woman of the Year, by Organization of Women in International Trade (2010). 
  • Ranked as a Top Banking Attorney by Chambers USA (2010-2023)
  • Recognized as a “Distinguished Leader” by the Daily Business Review (2018)