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Administration seeks to add “trust services” to TBAS revenue resources

First Lady Cynthia Malala Moliga did the honors of cutting the ribbon to open the new Territorial Bank of American Samoa, located at the Centennial Building in Utulei — the former site of the main branch of the Bank of Hawaii in the territory. The bank opened its doors in October 2016. [Photo: AF]
Simply put: Allows collateral to secure a loan, in case of default

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has identified a new way to increase resources for the Territorial Bank of American Samoa, and has submitted proposed legislation to amend current law that would allow the government’s own financial institution to provide “trust services”.

In a cover letter, which includes the proposed law, to the Fono leaders, Lolo explained that trust services are a traditional revenue source for banks and financial institutions.

“Trust powers allow the bank to act on behalf of parties in their interest,” he said, and this includes but is not limited to, managing real and personal property, acting as an executor or administer of estates, dealing as an agent in stocks and bonds on behalf of another.

According to the governor, it’s important for TBAS to find new ways of supporting itself so that it can continue to provide dependable financial services to the community. “Trust services are another source of revenue for TBAS and they are services that are needed in our community.”

And this proposed legislation, the governor says “will help strengthen TBAS” by increasing its revenue sources.

Responding to Samoa News questions, TBAS chief executive officer Philip Ware said Trust Powers allow a bank to act in a fiduciary capacity.

“The fiduciary or bank then can hold assets for a third party when required as in the case when transferring privately held real property or when a third party is required to collect payments for rents, “ he explained.

“I don’t believe this service is offered on the island and this would allow TBAS to offer this service, although it would not generate revenues of significance,” he said, when asked as to the amount of revenue TBAS would collect from providing this service.

The Trust Services legislation was introduced last week in the Fono and assigned to appropriate committees for review. Committee hearings are not expected until the middle of next month when lawmakers reconvene on Mar. 13 following a three-week recess, which begins at the close of business today.

According to the bill, filled with technical banking terms, TBAS is authorized to conduct and transact the business of a trust company as well to exercise all powers and perform all functions that a trust company is authorized or empowered to do.

And this includes, but not limited to taking, receiving and holding in trust, property both real and personal for individuals, firms, companies, association, or other entities. Additionally, accept and execute trust of every description that may be committed to it by any person, executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or by any corporation or other entity, or by a state or territory of the U.S. or by the federal government or by the courts in American Samoa, other territories and states, and the federal court.

Furthermore, purchase, hold, sell and take such property, real and personal, as may be mortgaged, pledged and conveyed to it in trust, or for its benefit for money loaned in pursuance of its regular business, and as may be purchased by it at sales under mortgages, pledges or deeds of trust made for benefit for money loaned or as may be conveyed to it by borrowers of money in satisfaction or in discharge of loans made.