The Bank of Guam is rebranding its San Francisco branch, with plans that include expansion and securing further business in San Diego, California and beyond.
The announcement was made in Guam at a July 7 news conference.
The San Francisco branch will operate under the brand, the Tasi Bank, a division of the Bank of Guam, and will remain in a branch relationship with Bank of Guam, offering the same product lines.
The Tasi Bank logo will feature a wave depicting the meaning of “tasi” or “ocean” in CHamoru. Joves told the Journal the bank looked at several options for the name, but found “tasi” tied in with the bank’s roots.
Joaquin PLG Cook, president and CEO of Bank of Guam told the Journal there are no plans for Bank of Guam to convert to Tasi Bank.
The bank has a variety of aims with the rebranding, which J. David Joves, division president; said “has been years in the works.”
As the U.S. moves out of the pandemic and survives what Joves said was “a tough 18 months,” he said opportunity is evident.
“The demand is showing itself and should carry us through the next couple of years,” as the branch expands, he said.
“Primarily commercial financing or commercial real estate financing has been the driver for the growth,” Joves said.
Tasi Bank intends to grow in a niche region and niche markets.
The San Francisco branch has grown to more than $450 million in assets since it opened in 1983, contributing to the bank’s $2.8 billion in total assets, the executives said.
Joves said as it expands the bank will look to an increasing number of small and medium sized businesses, stretching from San Diego through California. Cook told the Journal that business could extend further along the West Coast. Indeed, Seattle and the state of Washington has a sizeable population of Pacific islanders.
Tasi Bank’s current clientele is a mix of small and medium sized businesses, and the bank looks to do business in the $3 million to $30 million range. Joves told the Journal that there are opportunities among minority groups. The bank already does business with such communities in San Francisco, such as owners of gas stations with convenience stores “of Persian descent who emigrated,” he said. Other ethnic groups include South Asian Indians and residents from the Philippines. “We have very few Caucasians in our customer base,” he said.
Bank of Guam – and other financial institutions that do business in the region –emphasized the attraction of digital banking when COVID lockdowns made in-person banking difficult.
The U.S. Banking Administration Institute found in August 2020 that more than 50% of U.S. consumers have used digital banking applications more since the start of the pandemic. In addition, BAI found “87% of consumers plan on maintaining their increased usage after the end of the pandemic.”
Bank of Guam saw the volume of ATM deposits increase by more than 300% since 2019. Aside from that, Cook told the Journal the determining factor on whether consumers convert or use digital banking is often a simple one. “It’s how people get paid.” If people are paid by deposit to their accounts he said, “The need to stand in line is gone.”
Joves said he does see the need for increasing ATMs as Tasi Bank expands. “I’m not planning on it,” he told the Journal. Should their businesses require it, a third-party armored car service would be employed, he said.
Bank of Guam has introduced contactless cards across its system, but Cook said not all merchant equipment is compatible.
Among upcoming services, Bank of Guam is looking to offer remote deposit capture for commercial clients, which is when a company uses a unique check scanner and scanning software to create an electronic image of each check that it wishes to deposit. The company then transmits the scanned check information to its bank instead of making a physical deposit.
Bank of Guam reported gross revenues of $133.44 million in the Deloitte & Touche LLP ASC Trust LLC list of the Top Companies in Micronesia in the November-December 2020 issue of Guam Business Magazine, an increase from the $128.46 million of the previous year.
Joves said Tasi Bank has 20 employees. Bank of Guam reported 586 employees in last year’s survey by Guam Business Magazine. Bank of Guam has seven branches in Guam, two in Saipan, one each in Tinian and Rota, one in Palau, one in the Marshall Islands and one in each of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia. mbj