TBAS is assuring depositors that their funds are safe
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — As the banking industry is reeling from closure of two federally insured financial institutions in the U.S, causing concerns among consumers, the Territorial Bank of American Samoa (TBAS) has assured its customers that, “it is business as usual and [TBAS] continues to provide regular banking services to our customers.”
“The bank is working closely with its owner American Samoa Government to ensure the highest standards of safety and soundness, improved and more services and operating surpluses,” says TBAS in a statement released last Thursday, as concerns across the U.S mounted over the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
The Associated Press reports that the Federal Reserve board of governors was the primary regulator for Silicon Valley Bank in California, while the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was the primary federal regulator for Signature Bank in New York.
In the statement, TBAS said that: “Territorial Bank shares concerns about the banking industry in light of higher interest rates impacting bank investments and profits.
However, it says that the local “territorial market is unique and insulated from impacts on the US markets” because:
• Failed banks were focused on specific markets of venture capital and cryptocurrencies; while TBAS is somewhat diversified with the local economy fueled by government and cannery, and those that support those industries;
• Silicon Valley Bank had over 94% of its deposits invested in low-rate bonds and loans; while TBAS is at 67% with double the return rate on investments;
• All investments are 100% backed by the US government’s full faith and credit; while TBAS fixed rate investments are being paid monthly and will be substantially reduced by 2026;
• The failed banks were owned by many private investors who decided to sell shares thereby substantially reducing the value of the failed banks; while TBAS is owned 100% by the local government which is committed to its continued success;
According to the TBAS statement, banking competition in the failed banks markets is substantial and provides many alternative financial institution options while Territorial Bank is the only physically present bank and is committed to providing the best banking services totally focused on what is good for the community and the bank.
In other TBAS news, — the People’s Bank, which is not federally insured by FDIC — encountered internet connection problems last Friday morning delaying the opening of its two branches and also effecting its ATMs.
TBAS posted updates on its Facebook page, saying that it was working with its internet service provider (ISP) to resolve these issues.
And just before 12noon, TBAS said that its ISP had restored internet connectivity, and as of 11:40 AM, both branches were opened, and all bank services were available.
Three lawmakers who became aware of the connectivity problems told Samoa News of being informed by TBAS officials that the bank’s internet provider is Bluesky Communications.
One lawmaker questioned as to why the “only bank on island” does not have a back-up system, with another provider — such as the government owned American Samoa Telecommunications Authority — in cases of emergency.
Bluesky posted a “service outage notice” last Friday on its Facebook page, affecting its customers in Utulei, Faganeanea, Matu'u and Faga'alu villages. Service outages were Mobile Voice and Data, Internet and Cable services.
Services were later restored and Samoa News understands that this outage did affect TBAS, whose main office is located at the Centennial Building in Utulei.