BY MAUREEN N. MARATITA
Bank of Saipan began doing business at its new headquarters on Beach Road in Chalan Lao Lao on May 24 and celebrated the day with a formal ribbon cutting.
At the ceremony, Lt. Governor Arnold I. Palacios heralded Bank of Saipan’s commitment to the Commonwealth community, highlighting the bank’s more than 40-year presence, weathering typhoons and economic downturns.
Chairman Jose C. Ayuyu and President and CEO John Z. Arroyo, in turn, assured the community of an even better service for Bank of Saipan customers.
The bank also hosted a VIP night on May 21.
Construction of the 9,400 square feet of the HQ has been months in the making (See “On the Money,” in the Sept. 7, 2020 issue of the Journal.)
The building has several advantages and is also part of a re-imaging of the bank and the continuation of new additional services.
Arroyo told the Journal previously the HQ offers potential for growth. “[It is] a big enough space so that over the next 10 years or so we can comfortably move in and fill out the space.” The bank has grown through the years as Saipan developed. “There’s still a lot of potential for growth,” he said.
The land under the bank’s headquarters is owned by the JCA group and is the site of former duty-free business, Hakubotan. The building has been redesigned by Architect Samuel McPhetres of GUMA Architects LLC and was built by RNV Construction, at an investment of about $3 million. Bank of Saipan is occupying about half the building.
Arroyo said of the location on Beach Road, “It is central – and it’s got great visibility.” The site offers more parking than the bank had previously.
Arroyo said he believes the move and the building will accelerate growth and draw new business. The re-design will give the building a more attractive façade and a more positive experience for bank staff and clients.
In addition, the upgrade will improve the appearance of Beach Road, which Arroyo acknowledged. “We have taken something that was an eyesore and turned it into something attractive and definitely usable and reclaimed that space on a major thoroughfare,” he previously told the Journal.
Bank of Saipan has also unveiled a new logo. According to the bank, “the “S” embodies three symbols. The angular and shield shape of the “S,” denotes security. Inside the “S” the symbolic outline of the latte stone represents stability. At the tail end of the “S” is a fishing hook, recognizing the fishing tradition of local people.
In the second half of 2021, the Bank of Saipan will roll out digital banking for commercial customers via the platform EASi Business. This follows the launch of EASi Banking and EASi Mobile for personal account holders.
As part of its community service, the bank will also continue its financial literacy educational program. In March, Bank of Saipan introduced a video series “Dollars & Sense,” which it will continue, according to the bank.
Arroyo said previously the aim is to “introduce the concept of money and making wise decisions on spending and saving.”
Bank of Saipan has a long history in the Northern Mariana Islands. On, July 29, 1981, the bank formally began operations as Bank of Saipan Inc. Aside from its first and former location in Chalan Kanoa, Bank of Saipan opened in Rota in November 1996 and in Tinian in December of that year. Bank of Saipan was founded by the Tan and Calvo families as well as the late Larry Hillblom. Members of both the Tan and Calvo families and Hillblom have served on the board of directors of the Bank of Saipan through the years, according to Journal files. mbj