Less Money in Economy Sees American Samoa Banks Tighten Lending

Thursday, August 30, 2012
Radio New Zealand International

Officials of ANZ America Samoa Bank and the Bank of Hawaii have been questioned by the House Ways and Means Committee concerning their loan policies.

Chairman Toeaina Faufano Autele says members of the public have complained that the banks are very strict and requiring more documentation and taking more time to approve loans.

Steve Watson of ANZ says they have had to tighten its loan underwriting because there’s less money in the economy.

He says banks reflect the nature of the community they serve, and our community has changed because of what’s happened to our economy.

“If you just take the layoffs at Starkist and the closure of Samoa packing and if you assume that everybody that was laid off was earning the minimum wage which is not true but if they were that’s 20 million US dollars a year that’s no longer in circulating in our economy through canneries payroll.”

Steve Watson says all consumer loans are now processed in Guam.