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BoH exit: Lolo contemplates calling state of emergency

Following meetings with banking officials in the U.S., Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is exploring the possibility of declaring that an economic emergency exists in American Samoa due to the closure on Mar. 15 of Bank of Hawaii's operations in the territory.


Lolo made the revealation in a media statement last night following meetings yesterday in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the governor and his staff met with banking industry members as well as officials of the U.S. government owned Federal Reserve Bank.


Lolo said he is “contemplating the idea of declaring a state of economic emergency in the territory, given the severity of the expected impacts on the people of American Samoa caused by the sudden departure of the Bank of Hawaii.”


Lolo says that during the meetings, participants in  Utah “uniformly expressed” their concern about the negative impact Bank of Hawaii’s departure will have on the availability of financial services in the territory.  


Also mentioned by Lolo during the meeting was the fact that Bank of Hawaii’s departure sends a “terrible message to potential investors when the only American-owned bank in the territory, one that has been there for almost forty years, wants to leave.”


More details in tomorrow’s edition of Samoa News.