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The Wave: Words from Our Founder


On January 1, 1972, Jesus Sablan Leon Guerrero made a momentous announcement: he issued a press release saying that he had resigned from his position with the Bank of America in Guam and would be starting his own bank. It was to be the first bank established in Guam by the people of Guam.

On December 11, 1972, the Bank of Guam opened its doors. And the rest, as they say, is history. A proud history; a groundbreaking history, and one that continues to this day. While the entire story is chronicled in his autobiography, “Jesus, in Little America,” the concise story is one of a man with a vision and who created a bank dedicated to serving people who are often not high priorities at financial institutions.

In each issue of the Bank of Guam San Francisco Quarterly Update, we will look at his words and his vision to understand how they continue to influence and to shape the Bank of Guam, to the benefit of our customers and of the cultural heritage of the geographies we serve.

For this inaugural issue, we look at what he wrote in 1977 as Bank of Guam looked to an expansion that culminated in the opening of the branch in San Francisco that still occupies the same space as it did when the doors opened in 1984, in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District.

At the time, he wrote in his annual shareholder letter: “Our expansion plan is designed to help us to continue to improve our service in every way we can and to be more sensitive and responsive, as a community bank, to the social and economic needs of our people.”

What he wrote 43 years ago resonates in 2021 as much as it did in 1977. It was prescient and it remains the core philosophy of the Bank.