Press Release


Executive Profile: Dave Joves, senior vice president of Bank of Guam

August 28, 2020
By Mark Calvey  – Senior Reporter, San Francisco Business Times

Dave Joves is the senior executive for the Bank of Guam’s office in San Francisco, which the company opened in 1982 to be physically closer to its regulators. That’s a plus for the FDIC-insured bank whose headquarters is 5,800 miles — and a 17-hour time difference — away from the Bay Area. Joves joined the Bank of Guam in 2011 after previously serving as CEO of San Francisco’s Mission National Bank. The job change also spurred the San Francisco native’s first trip to the U.S. territory. Joves joined Bank of Guam with a mandate: spur loan growth. The Bay Area’s robust economy has allowed Joves and his team to do just that. Over the past decade, the FDIC-insured bank’s assets have grown from about $900 million in assets, primarily loans, to $2.2 billion today. 

People walking down San Francisco’s Montgomery Street sometimes do a double take when they see the your branch. How do people react when you tell them you’re from the Bank of Guam? It’s a great conversation starter. They’re often curious about Guam and why we’re here. I tell them that Guam is a U.S. territory and that its inhabitants are U.S. citizens. Guam’s economy typically grows 2% to 3% annually, reflecting that the U.S. Department  of Defense accounts for about half of the island’s economic activity. Tourism is Guam’s other big economic generator, with the island drawing many visitors from Japan and other parts of Asia. Guam and the western Pacific is a very steady economic environment. It’s challenging to find the “earning assets,” or loans, in the western Pacific. They just don’t see as many deals. So when the opportunity came up to establish a stronger presence in the Bay Area, which is one of the more economically vibrant geographic areas on the planet, it made sense. You have to follow where the deals are.

What do you find most rewarding about your long career in banking? The people aspect of it. You meet a wide range of people and they all have great stories. Our primary lending is to small businesses and owner-occupied and investor-owned commercial real estate. You get a chance to meet some wonderful people. Some ideas are pretty standard, you’ve seen it before, but other ideas are kind of out there. You may not fund the deal, but you get a chance to hear it. At the end of the day, you’re really making dreams come true. 

You were recently named chairman of the executive committee at the Western Bankers Association. What’s at the top of your agenda? The challenge has been trying to lobby telephonically or through a Zoom meeting after relying on face-to-face meetings. We need to make sure the banks’ interests are being represented, especially during these times. There’s a lot of concern and uncertainty among politicians on behalf of constituencies. They may try to enact and follow actions that are great on the surface but may have unintended consequences in terms of banks and what they need to do to serve their customers. It’s the association’s responsibility to make sure industry voices are heard. An example would be an effort to push through a foreclosure moratorium among service providers, which would have really hampered banks working with their customers and the terms of modifications. We’re also sharing with our members industry best practices, some tied to Covid-19 spurring more employees working from home and ensuring financial data remains secure in that environment.

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