Bank of Hawaii (BOH) has agreed to delay its exit from American Samoa for one year to give the territory time to recruit another bank.
The bank agreed to the extension before a Tuesday meeting in Honululu that had been called by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to allow for public comment on the proposed closure. Bank of Hawaii Chief Executive Peter Ho agreed to the extension at a private meeting with American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga and Congressman Eni Faleomavaega, the Pacific Business News reported Wednesday.
Bank of Hawaii will close one of its two American Samoa branches on Friday as planned, but will leave its second branch open for an additional 12 months.
"People had expressed what I thought were some reasonable concerns, and it was never our intention to create disruption in the marketplace," Ho said Tuesday in an email statement provided to Pacific Business News. "I believe a longer extension can be beneficial and want to be supportive."
American Samoa residents had opposed the bank's decision to leave the territory since it was announced in December. ANZ Bank, a subsidiary of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, would be the only lender on the territory after Bank of Hawaii's exit.
On Monday, Zions Bancorp agreed to replace Bank of Hawaii as the territory's provider of government payroll services, though it does not intend to open a branch on the territory, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.