Deposits in Guam’s banks are moving up for the first time in years.

“Deposits have picked up recently. This increase is the first we’ve seen in seven years ” Joseph “Joe” P. Bradley vice-president and economics and statistics officer for the Bank of Guam said. Recent filings with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. by the Bank of Guam showed a 4.65% increase in deposits between March 2004 and March 2005 bringing the total to just under $698 million.

Larry K. Butterfield president and chief executive officer of Citizens Security Bank said “Year over year total Guam bank deposits are up less than 2% real estate loans are up about 3% and commercial loans are down a little over 1%. This says to me that the economy is still relatively flat — it is clearly not getting worse but it is not booming either.” He said the most positive indicator for his institution has been the reduction of loan delinquencies. “Delinquencies are in fact at their lowest level in ten years ” Butterfield said.

Another positive indicator noted by the banking industry has been an increase in retail and commercial activity. Philip J. Flores chairman and president of BankPacific said “We do know that our tourism numbers have increased quite nicely and that there is new investment coming in — people buying hotels people saying they’re going to be sprucing up the Okura the Reef the Marriott the Hilton Hotel — so money going back in to plants and fixing them back up. As people feel better they spend more money. From what we can see retail sales are going up.”

While these signs are positive Bradley said that there is still a significant amount of retail store front that is vacant while those signs are positive. MBJ