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Gary Ayre to head new Community Bank of AS

Gary A. Ayre has been named CEO-designee of Community Bank of Amerika Samoa. Ayre will be visiting the territory next week to meet with investors, the business community and local leaders.


Mr. Ayre is a banking professional well known in American Samoa for serving as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank from 2003 to 2008.


Community Bank (IO) is the name of the new bank that a group of residents and businesspeople are forming in American Samoa. The new bank is now seeking local investors and government approvals and hopes to open its doors in less than a year.


Presently, Ayre is working as a banking, finance and business consultant in Australia, but he will return to American Samoa to serve as CEO of Community Bank, pending approvals from various territorial and federal authorities.


“We are thrilled that Gary accepted our offer to be the CEO of Community Bank (IO),” said Avamua Dave Haleck, interim chairman of the bank’s board of directors. “I worked with Gary when he was at ANZ and when it came time to look for a CEO for the new bank, the only person I thought of was Gary. He is the perfect choice to ensure the success of Community Bank (IO).”


Ayre will address the Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, March 7th. The lunchtime meeting will also include members of the Business and Professional Women of American Samoa. A meeting for the general public to hear about Community Bank (IO)’s plans will also be scheduled for next week and publicized later this week.


“I am very excited about the opportunity to return to American Samoa,” Ayre said last week from his home in Melbourne, Australia. “If all goes well, we will be working full-time on opening the bank by the end of this year, and will open our doors to the public in a year’s time.”


Ayre, who left ANZ after his stint overseeing ANZ/Amerika Samoa Bank, said he is confident enough in the prospects for Community Bank (IO) that he will be investing some of his own funds into the bank.


Haleck said Community Bank (IO) organizers are presently soliciting investment commitments in the community for those able to invest $50,000 or more, and later in the year there will be opportunities for people to become shareholders with a minimal investment of $1,000.


For more information about getting involved in the bank formation process, contact Lewis Wolman, Director of Community and Investor Relations, at 252-0142 or


Ayre took over at ANZ/ASB in 2003, two years after ANZ bought out Amerika Samoa Bank. During his five years at the helm (2003-2008), ANZ enjoyed a period of solid growth. The bank’s assets more than doubled, lending was substantially increased, and profits increased by an average of 17% per year. At the same time, ANZ undertook major improvements to the bank’s buildings and computer systems, and restored the confidence of auditors and federal regulators by substantially strengthening its procedures for handling risk and regulatory compliance.


As part of his effort to raise the standards of customer service, mobile banking was introduced and customers waiting to be served were provided an orderly queue and seating.


During his time as CEO, Ayre was also active in community service. He served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Governor’s Economic Advisory Committee, and was active in the American Samoa National Olympic Committee. He helped the business department at ASCC and actively promoted the bank’s involvement in “Sports for All” events.


Prior to his time at ANZ in American Samoa, Ayre had worked for 20 years with ANZ, including four years as CEO of ANZ/Tonga and three years as Head of Strategic Projects for ANZ’s Asia/Pacific Division. In that capacity, Ayre led the team that acquired Bank of Hawaii operations in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu.


Source: Community Bank of Amerika Samoa media release