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Guam card transactions fall 1.7% in quarter

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Credit and debit card sales on Guam at businesses open at least a year declined 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter as a tourism slowdown affected the economy, according to First Hawaiian Bank’s quarterly business activity report.

The report, which tracks 11 economic sectors, showed positive gains in six areas with utilities (up 15.2 percent), supermarkets (up 14.8 percent) and insurance (up 11.7 percent) leading the way.

 “We saw .13 percent positive growth for the year in 2013 with eight out of 11 sectors showing increases over the prior year,” Laura Dacanay, First Hawaiian senior vice president and Guam/Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands region manager, said today. “In both the fourth quarter and year overall, some sectors experienced declines with the  lowdown in tourism.”

First Hawaiian, the largest bank in Hawaii with $17.1 billion in assets, has three branches on Guam and has the U.S. territory’s largest share of loans and deposits,

The bank is also Hawaii’s largest local processor of debit and credit card transactions and has nearly 7,000 merchants on its network, with most of those in Hawaii.

First Hawaiian said earlier this month that card transactions in Hawaii rose 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the year-earlier period and ended up 6.9 percent for the year.

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