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FDIC encouraging banks to work with borrowers in aftermath of Gita

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has announced a series of steps intended to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery in areas of American Samoa affected by Tropical Storm Gita.

Through Financial Institution Letter (FIL-19-2018) sent out last week, the FDIC stated, “This Financial Institution Letter applies to all FDIC-supervised financial institutions,” according to the regulatory federal agency’s public information made available through its website.

According to the FDIC, the storm “caused significant property damage” in American Samoa,resulting in a major federal disaster declaration.

“The FDIC is encouraging banks to work constructively with borrowers experiencing difficulties beyond their control because of damage caused by the tropical storm,” according FDIC, which also highlighted other regulatory issues, such as extending repayment terms, restructuring existing loans, or easing terms for new loans, if done in a manner consistent with sound banking practices. This can contribute to the health of the local community and serve the longterm interests of the lending institution, the letter said.

Additionally, banks may receive favorable Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration for community development loans, investments, and services in support of disaster recovery.

FDIC also says that it recognizes the serious impact of the storm on customers and operations of financial institutions in American Samoa and will provide regulatory assistance to institutions subject to its supervision.

These initiatives will provide regulatory relief and facilitate recovery. The FDIC encourages depository institutions in American Samoa to meet the financial services needs of their communities.

In the area of “lending”, FDID encouraged banks to work constructively with borrowers, saying that FDIC realizes that the effects of natural disasters on local businesses and individuals often are transitory, and prudent efforts to adjust or alter terms on existing loans in affected areas should not be subject to examiner criticism.

Regarding the issue of “investment”, FDIC recommends that bankers should monitor municipal securities and loans affected by the storm.  “The FDIC realizes local government projects may be negatively affected. Appropriate monitoring and prudent efforts to stabilize such investments are encouraged,” it says.

FDIC regulated banks in American Samoa are Bank of Hawaii and ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank.


Residents in the villages listed below, who have not registered with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are scheduled to register today, Monday, April 23. Survivors from the following villages with a four-digit tag number from the American Samoa Government may register at the Disaster Recovery Center located inside the DYWA Pago Pago Youth Center:

Aoloau, Asili, Fagaima, Fagali’i, Faleniu, Futiga, Happy Valley, Iliili, Kokoland, Leone, Malaeimi, Malaeloa, Mapusaga, Mesepa , Nua, Se’etaga and Nu’uuli - 0770 - 0794

Applicants are reminded to have the following documents on hand: social security number; address of the damaged primary residence; description of the damage; information about insurance coverage if applicable; current contact telephone number; address where they can receive mail; and bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds.

Additional village registrations will be announced.  For those who have already registered, call (684) 689-2018 if you have questions about your registration. The deadline for FEMA registrations for disaster assistance is May 1, 2018.


FEMA inspectors are scheduled to begin work today, Apr. 23 on the Manu’a islands. They will check the damage to homes of survivors who registered for disaster assistance.

According to FEMA, inspection will be carried out today through Thursday, Apr. 26 for Ta’u island. For Ofu and Olosega islands, inspector starts Thursday, Apr. 26 to May 2.

FEMA inspectors will be properly credentialed and will show a photo ID. They record damage but do not determine the amount of assistance.

A member of the household who is 18 years old or older must be present to meet the inspector. And inspectors need to see: photo ID (driver’s license, etc.); proof of occupancy (rent receipts, utility bill, credit card or bank statement, etc.); and owners need to show proof of ownership (homeowner’s insurance, title, mortgage receipts, etc.).