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Zions Bank to take over government payroll processing in American Samoa

By Dave Segal

LAST UPDATED: 01:31 p.m. HST, Mar 12, 2013

Zions Bank and American Samoa officials said Monday night that the Salt Lake City financial institution intends to take over government payroll processing and other select banking services for American Samoa after Bank of Hawaii pulls out of the U.S. territory. Zions Bank does not intend to have a physical presence in the territory nor does it plan to take over all banking functions that Bank of Hawaii currently provides to American Samoa citizens. 

Bank of Hawaii plans to close its Tafuna branch in American Samoa on Friday but said last week it will keep open its only other branch — in Utulei — an additional 90 days until June 14. Bankoh has been in American Samoa for more than 40 years but said it is pulling out due to the territory's geographic isolation from the bank's other markets.

A hearing is scheduled by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco for 10 a.m. today at Hilton Hawaiian Village to discuss the impact of Bankoh's pending withdrawal from American Samoa. 

Bankoh's departure would leave Australia-based ANZ, owned by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, as the only other bank in the territory. However, a group of American Samoa business people and residents are raising money in an attempt to start a community bank, which would need approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"I applaud Zions Bank's efforts to help us through some of the hardship that Bank of Hawaii's closures will cause, but we still need a physical American bank in American Samoa and we still need an effective way to share funds between American Samoa and Hawaii," said Leotele Renee Togafau, a University of Hawaii law student raised in American Samoa and actively working to encourage Bank of Hawaii to delay its branch closures. "This does not change the fact that we still need Bank of Hawaii to stay until we have a real banking alternative."

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AhiPoke wrote:
American Samoa is the perfect example of what can happen to the rest of America as we move down the road to become a welfare state. Entitlement programs create a dependency and discourages initiative. Anyone who has ever done business there knows what I'm speaking of. The level of incompetence and laziness is appalling. I'm sure the Bank of Hawaii got tired of dealing with bounced checks.
on March 12,2013 | 08:05AM
serious wrote:
AhiPoke, that was the same reason the US Government was going to shut down Pearl. Incompetence and laziness--I agree with you--if you get a free handout--why work???
on March 12,2013 | 09:15AM
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