Honolulu, Hawaii (Nov. 30, 2012) - Bank of Hawaii announced that it is working in cooperation with the American Samoa government to provide a smooth transition as it closes its two branches late in the first quarter of 2013. Bank of Hawaii, which has branches in Tafuna and Utulei, has been operating in American Samoa since 1969 and currently employs 30 people.
Hobbs Lowson, vice president and district manager for American Samoa, said, "After serving the American Samoa market for more than 40 years, this was a decision that was not made lightly. In 2000, we made the strategic decision to centralize our footprint back to our core Hawaii and Guam markets, but opted to also keep a presence in American Samoa, where we felt we could deliver the appropriate level of service. However, it's become increasingly difficult to maintain that strategy in American Samoa due to its geographic isolation from our other markets."
Customers will have ample time to close or transfer accounts. He said, "We are working with local government officials and ANZ Bank in American Samoa to help ensure customers' banking needs continue to be met. We will also work with any clients who wish to continue banking with us through our offices in Hawaii."
Customers who do not close or transfer their accounts prior to the branch closing will be mailed a cashier's check for the balance in their account. Customers who have loans with Bank of Hawaii will be provided future payment instructions. Arrangements will also be made for those customers who have safe deposit boxes.
Separation benefits will be provided to employees. The benefits will include severance based upon years of service with the bank, outplacement services, access to the bank's Employee Assistance Program and health coverage through COBRA. Employees wishing to stay on and work in other Bank of Hawaii locations will be afforded the opportunity to do so.
Lowson said, "We want to thank our employees for their hard work in taking care of our customers; and we thank our customers and the community for the opportunity to serve them over the years."
Following the closure, Bank of Hawaii will have 74 branches and 489 ATMs system-wide.