Banks swamped with long lines


The issuance of stimulus funds to over 31,000 taxpayers causes long lines of people and cars for those who try to cash or deposit their checks at the Bank of Guam in Garapan yesterday. The line of cars even reached at one point to Kristo Rai Church area. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

The issuance of stimulus funds to over 31,000 taxpayers resulted in long lines of people and vehicles yesterday at banks, particularly at the Bank of Guam where the CNMI government usually issues funds to the public.

At BOG Garapan, a long line of people formed at the walk-up window and lines of customers for the inside tellers snaked out of the bank all the way to the side of the building. A separate line for cars also formed for the drive-thru.

A 55-year-old woman who identified herself only as Sue said she had been in line for the walk-up window since 7am and that when she finally reached the teller after more than an hour, she was asked if she has an account with BOG. When she replied that she does not have one and was only there to cash the stimulus check, the apologetic teller explained that the walk-up window is only for those who have an account with the bank. Sue said she was told that she has to proceed to the other line for tellers inside and that she needs to show two identification cards.

“The [bank] manager was right outside and he did not even bother to tell us…to line up at this [other line],” she said, adding that she had to move to a longer line that reached to the front of the adjacent Club 88.

“Now it’s already almost 10:30am.They’re so unorganized!” said Sue, who at the time was still by a narrow entrance that leads to the drive-thru.

Sue, however, said she is happy to receive the stimulus money, which is worth $1,400. “I’m using the money to pay my bills,” she said.

Jack Muña, 75, who was already near the walk-up window, said he had been on the line for 20 minutes already and that his calculation is that it would take half an hour before he reaches the teller. Muña said it was slow because there’s only one teller. He said the longer line is for the inside tellers.

Muña said the BOG management should try to find a way to make the services go faster because falling in line outside is very hot. “They used to have umbrellas [but] they don’t put it out anymore for customers,” he said.

He did acknowledge that getting this third stimulus is great for a lot of people at this time of the pandemic. He, however, stated that every time the federal government releases money to the public, most of the money is spent on something unrelated to COVID-19.

In his case, he plans to save some of his $1,400 stimulus for Christmas and use the rest to take care of personal stuff.

Mila Isip, 63, said she got on the line at 9am and that it took her more than an hour to cash her stimulus check. Isip, who has no BOG account, said the process inside the bank was smooth.

She said she is going to spend part of the money for expenses to repair the typhoon damage on her house.

Leticia Abigania, 69, and her husband, 75-year-old Dominador, were in line for 30 minutes outside the BOG building on the shoulder of Beach Road. Abigania said their grandchild picked up their stimulus checks from the U.S. Post Office in Chalan Kanoa last Monday.

She said they are very happy with the stimulus payment and that they will use the money to pay rent, utilities, and to buy food.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.