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By Lewis Wolman

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (January 26, 2000 – Samoa News)---Amerika Samoa Bank customers who are tired of paying late fees and/or interest because ASG (the American Samoa Government) has not sent over their payroll deductions have an alternative.

(Background: See Life Insurance Policies Being Cancelled Due To American Samoa Government Payroll Problem)

They can sign an agreement with the bank to extend their loan agreement over a longer term and avoid any further penalties.

The agreement, authorized by the bank's board of directors, requires the customers to stay current in the future, which means they will have to either get ASG to send over their payroll deductions in a timely manner or be personally responsible for making the monthly payments.

And, of course, longer terms means more money paid for interest, just as it would with any loan refinancing.

Bank President Harold Fielding said that if ASG's position with the bank does not improve in the next week or two, the "bank will have to approach continuation of payroll deductions and collection of overdue amounts differently."

Fielding declined to elaborate, but it is safe to say that the different approach would most likely involve a shift from a strategy of waiting patiently to a strategy of taking decisive action.

Fielding said ASG is owed $500,000 to $600,000 (on behalf of its customers) by ASG at this point.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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