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Territorial Bank of American Samoa details its origins

Source: Territorial Bank of American Samoa media release

Utulei, AMERICAN SAMOA —In late 2012, Bank of Hawaii (BoH), one of the two non-local banks serving American Samoa, announced plans to cease operations in the territory and close their two retail branches in Utulei and Tafuna. This looming departure of BoH would have left the local residents with just one bank (ANZ).

Subsequent to appeals by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga to BoH and the FDIC, BoH agreed to continue operations until a replacement bank could be established on the island to ensure that competition remained in place.

In 2015, the Fono passed two statutes to permit the establishment of a local bank and create a regulatory office, Office of Financial Institutions (OFI), to ensure that any bank or financial institution in American Samoa would operate in a safe and sound manner.

Later that year a bond was successfully sold and included funding for the establishment of a locally owned bank and the OFI.

In 2016, the Territorial Bank of American Samoa (TBAS) was formally chartered and the OFI opened. 

TBAS is scheduled to begin operations in October 2016 and will take over the two retail BoH branches; opening first will be the Centennial branch in Utulei. 

In the spring of 2017, when BoH is scheduled to end operations on island, the second BoH branch in Tafuna will begin operations as TBAS.  For the first two years the Bank will operate as a “de novo” (new start-up) entity. As performance history is develops the Bank will apply for FDIC membership. 

TBAS is designed to be a fully functional financial institution, providing a range of products and services including checking and savings accounts, ATM services, MasterCard registered debit cards, consumer and business loans and lines of credit and other services typically provided by banks.

With the phrase “The People’s Bank” or “Faletupe o le Atunu’u” the Bank will begin operations under a team of seasoned local banking professionals and experienced U.S. banking management. 

TBAS will process all currency transactions through the U.S. Federal Reserve banking system, which controls the processing of all currency transactions throughout the U.S. for banks. 

The Federal Reserve will also serve as one of the supervising agencies along with the OFI in order to ensure that TBAS operates in a safe and sound manner.

With the creation of TBAS, consumers and businesses of the territory will be guaranteed a choice in financial services.