Bank of Guam, "The People's Bank", will be the driving force for sustained prosperity in the communities it serves.
Our unique Familia culture is built on the legacy of our Founder. It is a philosophy of respect, fairness, generosity, and integrity. This heritage drives the mission of our Bank:
• To help our CUSTOMERS succeed financially through expert advice and personalized services
• To empower our EMPLOYEES through opportunities for personal and professional development
• To reward our SHAREHOLDERS with a fair return and pride of ownership in a locally owned, profitable, and community centric enterprise
• To strengthen our COMMUNITY through access to financial services, corporate philanthropy, and personal involvement
History of the Bank
Bank of Guam was first conceived as a dream and aspiration in the early 1970s by its founder and former Chairman of the Board. Prior to founding the Bank of Guam, Mr. Jesus S. Leon Guerrero was vice-president of Bank of America in Guam. During the time he was a vice-president in Guam for Bank of America, Mr. Guerrero grew concerned that the banking needs of many within the community were not being adequately met.
Because of his dedication to the people of Guam and the other islands of the region, he resolved to take the risk of starting a new, locally organized bank. After securing a commitment for deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Mr. Guerrero literally went door-to-door, offering Bank of Guam stock for sale. When the Bank was officially chartered on March 13, 1972, what had started as a dream became a reality.
A Time of Rapid Growth
From its humble beginnings in a pre-fabricated building in the heart of Hagatña, Bank of Guam quickly grew into one of the island's most prominent success stories. As Guam's economy expanded, the Bank prospered, taking an increasing share of the market for both deposits and loans. Despite the setbacks of the recession during the late 1970s and early 1980s, a more permanent structure replaced the original facility as the Bank's headquarters and additional branches were opened to better serve its growing customer base.
Reaching Across the Pacific
In 1982, the Bank opened a branch in San Francisco to support trade financing between California and Guam, and to allow daytime interaction with the Federal Reserve Bank. Then, in the mid-1980s, an opportunity arose to expand into other markets when Bank of America divested its Pacific Island resources. Suddenly, Bank of Guam had an established network of branches throughout the western Pacific. The larger customer base, combined with the economic boom in the region that accompanied Japan's appetite for overseas investment, led to an extended period of rapid growth and high profitability. At the same time, though, the delivery of the Bank's services to its customers became far more complicated.
An Important Decision
Faced with the challenge to deliver high quality financial services in Guam, San Francisco and several islands scattered across millions of square miles of the Pacific Ocean, Bank of Guam had to make a decision. It could save costs by physically transporting daily transaction documentation to a central location for processing, causing delays in updating accounts, or establish an expensive communication network to maintain current account information continuously. While the other banks in the region accepted the delays to save costs, Bank of Guam incurred the higher costs in order to provide superior customer service. This is just one example of how the Bank has adopted and applied advanced technology to ensure that its customers receive the highest quality of service available anywhere in the world.
Bank of Guam introduced the first automated teller machine (ATM) to Guam in 1984, and rapidly expanded its electronic banking network over the next few years. As the economy continued to grow throughout that decade, so did the Bank, increasing its total number of branches to 14 and adding dozens of ATMs throughout Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. With this growth came substantial increases in staffing, and the Bank outgrew its original headquarters. In response, a 10-story headquarters building was constructed in Hagatña. The new headquarters was opened in March 1990, and remains the most recognized landmark in Guam's capital city.
Positive Changes in Turbulent Times
During the 1990s, as the economies of the Pacific islands experienced stagnation and eventual recession following the collapse of the financial "bubble" in Japan, Bank of Guam restructured its operations, further expanded its branch network, and implemented internal efficiencies based upon technological advances. The Bank also extended its network of over 70 ATMs to serve the Republic of Belau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and San Francisco. There have been notable successive improvements in the quality of services and service delivery systems, including automated telephone banking, online corporate cash management, and an enhanced range of credit products, including Gold and Corporate MasterCard® lines. In an environment of changing financial regulations, the Bank opened its Financial Services division in early 1997, offering alternative investment products to its customers. In 1999, Bank of Guam opened another financial services subsidiary, BankGuam Insurance Underwriters, Ltd., providing a wide range of insurance products.
In the New Millennium
In the new millennium, Bank of Guam continues its commitment to providing our community with quality service and competitive products. In 2009, the Bank partnered with Delta Air Lines, one of the world's largest airlines, for the co-branded Delta SkyMiles Visa® credit card. In 2010, the Bank reached the billion dollar bank status, a significant milestone for Guam's locally owned bank. Further expansion continued in 2011 when BankGuam Holding Company was formed. Bank of Guam is the sole subsidiary of BankGuam Holding Company. This new corporate structure gives the Bank the ability to expand operations and investments, further providing customers with more service options as well as greater career opportunities for our employees.
In 2012, Bank of Guam celebrated its 40th Anniversary. With a network of 23 branches and over 80 ATMs throughout the Western Pacific, Bank of Guam has consistently proven itself to be a successful, dynamic organization with the sophistication to handle the most complex of its customers' domestic and international financial needs.