Bank of Hawaii to exit American Samoa Aug. 16

CONCEPT: Bank of Hawaii, which previously announced it is building a new headquarters on Guam, announced it will officially cease its American Samoa presence on Aug. 16. The concept for part of the future building in Tamuning is shown. Image courtesy of Bank of Hawaii

Bank of Hawaii and the American Samoa government on Wednesday jointly announced the finalization of plans for Bank of Hawaii to close its remaining operations in American Samoa on Aug. 16.

The announcement comes 6 1/2 years after the bank made its initial announcement in November 2012 of its intention to depart the territory and concentrate its focus on its Hawaii and West Pacific operations.

Despite scaling back operations and closing its Centennial Office in 2016, Bank of Hawaii never fully ceased operations. That was due largely to a personal request from Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga to Bank of Hawaii Chairman, President and CEO Peter Ho in December 2013 not to leave the territory until replacement banking services became available, the bank stated in a release.

Ho agreed to remain in American Samoa until suitable accommodations were in place.

"Our commitment is to provide a smooth transition for our customers and the American Samoa government, and we will not leave until we are comfortable that the depository needs of the territory can be appropriately accommodated," Ho said at the time. "We want to be supportive."

Territorial Bank of American Samoa

Since that time, the American Samoa government has been successful in establishing the Territorial Bank of American Samoa, which opened for business on Oct. 3, 2016. It received final approval to access the Federal Reserve's U.S. payments system in April 2018. To help with the transition, Bank of Hawaii gifted its Centennial Branch and the BOH residence in Gataivai to TBAS.

In a statement through the Bank of Hawaii press release, TBAS President Drew Roberts said, "We are grateful for the help of Bank of Hawaii and mindful of their contribution to the island. We have developed a good relationship and look forward to working with them during these next few months."

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