Bank of Hawaii agreed to delay its withdrawal from American Samoa for 12 months just an hour before this morning’s start of a Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco hearing to discuss the impact the departure would have on the U.S. territory.
Although the bank still plans to close its smaller Tafuna branch as planned on Friday, Chairman and CEO Peter Ho said following a meeting with American Samoa Gov. Lolo Moliga and U.S. Rep. Eni Feleomavaega that Bankoh’s Utulei branch would remain open until March 15, 2014, to give the territory more time to find a suitable replacement.
The Utulei branch initially was scheduled to close with the Tafuna branch this Friday, and then last week Ho extended the Utulei branch closure 90 days until June 14.
The additional extension was an economic and political victory for Moliga, who just took office in January. There are about 71,000 people in American Samoa and about 20,000 American Samoans living in Hawaii.