The Wave: Interesting Times04.20.2021
Elsewhere in this newsletter and on our website, you will see our new name, TASI Bank, and all the details of why we changed our name and brand identity. For all of us, customers and employees alike, this action begins an exciting chapter with the announcement of TASI Bank in the San Francisco Bay Area.
When we began to think of this rebrand, the world was much different. COVID-19 was on no one’s radar; a global pandemic was not on the horizon. It would be easy to invoke the oft quoted “May you live interesting times” as the touchstone for what we are doing as the world around us tries to right itself in the face of the events of the past two years.
Truth be told, however, that phrase is not a Chinese proverb and may well have been originated in the UK less than two centuries ago. As with many things in life and in business, what you believe to be the case is sometimes different from what you thought is not what turns out to occur.
For us, one of those moments was when we began to envision the creation of TASI Bank as a separate entity from Bank of Guam while also being a part of it. In much the same that Guam is part of the United States, but not a “state,” TASI Bank is both part of and independent from Bank of Guam.
Our vision was that this would take place in a relatively stable economic and social environment and the task, though multi-faceted, would be phased into a world that we knew.
Then came the “interesting times.”
COVID-19 became a global pandemic; in the U.S., civil unrest manifested itself in Black Lives Matter and growing anti-Asian American violence. Responding to the financial crises created by COVID-19, we helped our customers navigate the PPP/SBA loan process. We worked with customers to modify terms of commitments to help their businesses survive. We worked with nonprofits, like Curry House and Gracecenter, to support their efforts.
At the same time, we remained committed to our re-branding to TASI Bank, with minimal impact on customers, to expand our ability to reach and to support small and medium-sized businesses.
At TASI Bank, we see ourselves as mavericks in a business segment, banking, and financial services, that is prone to traditional approaches. “No, we don’t lend in that sector” or “We’re sorry, that is not something that we do.”
Our approach is different. First, we listen. Second, our staff is by training and by nature motivated to find the means to accomplish what our customers. In another article in this issue of the WAVE, there is an interview with Faye Zhao, vice president of operations, who describes precisely the attitude that we encourage.
That might mean adopting or adapting new technology. That might mean working with a third party to find a solution. That might mean thinking about a situation in a new way. In the end, what we want from our staff for our customers is to find the right approach and the right program that fits.
We have the courage to take risks and are approachable experts in small business banking and commercial lending.
Being a maverick also requires that we do sometimes be very unbanklike. Nowhere is that more manifest than in our adoption of ESG principles (Environment, Social Justice, and Governance). We do so not as a marketing ploy.
We are committed because it is the right thing to do. Financial success cannot be separated from social equity, recognition of climate change or the value of united communities.
No matter the origin of “may you live in interesting times,” that is where we are. We intend to do all we can to ensure that those “times” are also equitable for all.