CNMI and Bank of Saipan officials are ready to cut the ceremonial ribbon for the bank's new headquarters on Beach Road, Monday.

Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

THE Bank of Saipan on Monday opened its new headquarters at a renovated building that used to be the Hakubotan duty-free shop on Beach Road.

The bank’s Garapan branch will be closed and operations will be performed at the new headquarters. The Rota and Tinian branches will continue to operate as usual.

The CNMI’s oldest locally chartered bank, Bank of Saipan was founded over 40 years ago by the late Larry Hillblom, the Tan family, and the Calvo family of Guam.

“The founders of the bank were like-minded captains of industry who organized the bank with the mission to foster economic development in the CNMI — the bank remains true to that mission,” said bank president and chief executive officer John Arroyo in his remarks.

With a new logo and a new building, the Bank of Saipan remains committed to enhancing customer convenience and meeting market needs, he added.

Arroyo said the rebranding and the new corporate headquarters are “an outward manifestation of the bank’s strong fundamentals that will lead to a new era of growth and a natural progression to contemporary banking concepts.”

The new logo is an “S”  that resembles a latte stone and a fishing hook — it pays homage to the islands while also marking a contemporary approach to banking that at the same time reinforces its affinity to the CNMI and its people, he added.

He said the latte stone represents stability, while the fishing hook represents sustainability and livelihood.

He also said the bank will continue to help people grow and manage wealth.

Blending the old and the new, Bank of Saipan has adopted new technology and expanded product lines and customer conveniences, including ADA-compliant teller pods, a common feature of banks in the mainland U.S., and the first of its kind in the CNMI.

Teller pods perform all of the typical services of a traditional teller line, but has a modified layout that enhances communication while still remaining secure and efficient, Arroyo said.

He said the bank aims to maintain long-time customers while attracting new customers, including millennials.

The new and improved Bank of Saipan, he added, is focused on providing a more personalized, comfortable, and secure banking experience for its customers.

Arroyo also commended the bank staff for their diligence and commitment to serving the community, adding that its tellers, in particular, perform their duties and responsibilities so gracefully.

Last year, the bank launched its digital banking platforms, EASi Banking and EASi Mobile, enabling customers to manage their accounts from home or just about anywhere the Internet is available.

This year, the bank looks to adding EASi Business to its list of digital banking platforms, this time for the benefit of its commercial customers.

The bank will also have debit cards available for its customers, as well as a secure ATM area at its headquarters available 24/7.

Customers will be able to swipe their bank cards that double as a key card to access the secure ATM in the vestibule after hours.

Among the attendees at the grand opening on Monday were Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, House Committee on Commerce and Tourism Chairwoman Denita Yangetmai, bank board chairman Jose C. Ayuyu, Marcia Ayuyu, and other key officials.

Lt. Governor Palacios, on behalf of the CNMI government, congratulated and thanked the Bank of Saipan for taking the step to advance modern banking in the CNMI.

He likewise thanked the bank for remaining committed to the people of the CNMI, especially during times of great economic downturn such as now amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Bank board chairman Ayuyu, on behalf of the board and the bank, thanked government partners, private partners, and the community for supporting Bank of Saipan through the years.

He said the bank remains invested in serving the CNMI community.

“We are a small local bank, but we are willing to take a risk,” he added.


K-Andrea is a Gates Millennium Scholar who earned her bachelor of arts degree in political science from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. Since joining the MV team in Feb. 2020, she has been covering the political, environmental, and community beats.

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