Bank of Saipan releases Part 2 of its financial literacy series

Posted on Mar 29 2022

Carboard cutouts of Koku, Kaya, and Nana—characters in Bank of Saipan’s financial literacy video—are shown off by, from left, Karen Kalen, Bank of Saipan loan manager; Koniko Nakazato, FMS Special Education teacher; John Arroyo, Bank of Saipan president; and Gina Deleon Guerrero, operations manager at the Bank of Saipan main branch after the release of the second episode of the series. (Leigh Gases)

Bank of Saipan launched yesterday Part 2 of its personal finance tutorial series at the bank’s main branch and in their corporate headquarters.

Part of a series called “Dollars & Sense, a Guide to Personal Finance and Banking for Ages 7 to 107,” the new video is titled “Dollars & Sense Episode II: Counting Money” and once more follows fictional characters Koku, Kaya, and their Nana on their journey to financial literacy.

This series is the first-ever all-local financial literacy video produced by Bank of Saipan for the CNMI, written by CNMI educators, and voiced by CNMI talents.

Episode one, titled “Introduction to Money Matters!” introduced the characters Koku, a fourth-grade boy played by voice actor Tahekide “TJ” Naputi; Kaya, a 13-year-old girl in the eighth grade and is Koku’s first-cousin, played by voice actress Teihawny Villagomez; and Nana, Koku’s and Kaya’s grandmother, who is a retired accountant, played by voice actress Daisy Villagomez-Bier. 

The video touched on the correct use of credit cards, the importance of knowing where your money comes from and how to prevent yourself from spending money that isn’t available, or money you do not currently have.

Episode two builds upon the lessons of the first episode. In the second episode, 7-year-old Koku, this time voiced by Kainoa Tenorio, together with Kaya, voiced by Maili Peter, consults Nana, voiced by Priscilla T. Dela Cruz, his grandmother, a retired accountant, to help him count his piggy bank savings and to figure out if he has enough to open a bank account, or if it’s just enough to buy some snacks.

Bank of Saipan president and chief executive officer John Z. Arroyo, who leads the bank’s initiative to produce the “Dollars & Sense” videos, said that Bank of Saipan’s effort to provide financial literacy through a series of short videos is unique, as it is specially created to appeal to consumers in the Northern Marianas.

“The ‘Dollars & Sense’ videos depict a local multigenerational family’s journey to financial education. While the focus of the videos is on the local experience, the lessons imparted are universally applicable,” Arroyo said.

Bank of Saipan is committed to provide financial support, direction, and banking expertise to produce the full series of videos for various age groups. The videos will provide useful information on money for all ages, from as young as 7 years to tweeners to high schoolers to college students and older adults.

Arroyo said, “The whole thing behind this is because there’s a lot of things that we learn throughout life and one of the things that we don’t really learn unless your parents cue in on this is about wise purchasing, wise savings decisions, and things like that.”

It was learned that the videos feature animated characters to appeal to the young generation and their love of animé and manga. The series will be introduced to Mount Carmel School and then later in the next school year, the series is planned to be integrated into schools in the Public School System, which is still in the works.

The script of the videos was written by Daisy Villagomez-Bier, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’ Community Guidance Center program manager; Laura Kyonka, Public School System Mental Health Team-licensed professional counselor;, and Koniko Nakazato, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School Special Education teacher. 

The series’ fruition is a collaboration between Villagomez-Bier, Kyonka, Nakazato, Bank of Saipan, Mount Carmel School, and the MCS Theater Club. Behind the scenes credit goes to Glimpses of Guam, Inc. which rendered the video production, illustration, animation, and editing.

The Part 1 video can be found on the Bank of Saipan YouTube channel: For the second video, it can be found at 

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at
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