Buzzards in the
Bank of Hawaii
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
March 25, 2007
The not-so-simple story
of Barack Obama's youth
Shaped by different worlds,
an outsider found ways to fit in
By Kirsten Scharnberg and Kim Barker, Chicago Tribune
HONOLULU - The life stories, when the presidential candidate tells them, have a common theme: the quest to belong.
A boy wants to find his place in a family where he is visibly different: chubby where others are thin, dark where others are light.
A youth living in a distant land searches and finds new friends, a new language and a heartbreaking lesson about his identity in the pages of an American magazine.
A young black man struggles for acceptance at an institution of privilege, where he finds himself growing so angry and disillusioned at the world around him that he turns to alcohol and drugs.
These have been the stories told about the first two character-shaping decades of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's life, a story line largely shaped by his own best-selling memoir, political speeches and interviews.
But the reality of Obama's narrative is not that simple.
More than 40 interviews with former classmates, teachers, friends and neighbors in his childhood homes of Hawaii and Indonesia, as well as a review of public records, show the arc of Obama's personal journey took him to places and situations far removed from the experience of most Americans.
At the same time, several of his oft-recited stories may not have happened in the way he has recounted them. Some seem to make Obama look better in the retelling, others appear to exaggerate his outward struggles over issues of race, or simply skim over some of the most painful, private moments of his life.
The handful of black students who attended Punahou School in Hawaii, for instance, say they struggled mightily with issues of race and racism there. But absent from those discussions, they say, was another student then known as Barry Obama.
Hawaii had become a state only two years before Obama's birth, and there were plenty of native Hawaiians still deeply unhappy about it. The U.S. military was expanding on the island of Oahu, home to the new capital of Honolulu. And a young, iconoclastic white woman who had defied the social mores of the day by marrying a dashing black man from Kenya was coping with the fact that her new husband essentially had abandoned her and their young child in 1963 to study at Harvard....
In the six weeks since Obama announced his intention to run for the White House, he routinely has suggested that his diverse background--raised for a time in the Third World, schooled at elite institutions and active in urban politics--makes him the best-suited candidate to speak to rich and poor, black and white, mainstream voters and those utterly disenchanted with the political system.
Not as well known is the fact that the many people who raised him were nearly as diverse as the places where he grew up. There was his mother, Ann, a brilliant but impulsive woman; his grandmother Madelyn, a deeply private and stoically pragmatic Midwesterner; his grandfather Stanley, a loving soul inclined toward tall tales and unrealistic dreams....
During her son's earliest years, Obama's mother, whose full name was Stanley Ann Dunham because her father desperately had wished for a boy, attended college at the University of Hawaii. Known as Ann throughout her adult life, she kept to herself. She became estranged from her husband, Barack Obama Sr., after his departure for Harvard and rarely saw the group of friends that they had made at the University of Hawaii.
One of those friends, Neil Abercrombie, then a graduate student in the sociology department, frequently would see young Obama around town with his grandfather Stanley, whom Obama called "Gramps."...
"Stanley loved that little boy," said Abercrombie, now a Democratic congressman from Hawaii. "In the absence of his father, there was not a kinder, more understanding man than Stanley Dunham. He was loving and generous."...
Madelyn Dunham, a rising executive at the Bank of Hawaii during Obama's Punahou days, was more reserved but seemed to love having her grandson's friends over to play and hang out....
Ann and the boy lived with the Dunhams in Honolulu until Obama was 6. Then his young mother, now divorced, met and married an Indonesian student studying at the University of Hawaii....
August 31, 2006
FOLLOW THE MONEY
NATIVE HAWAIIAN ECONOMICS
By Bumpy Kanahele
The following mana'o is in preparation to provide an immediate Economic plan to counter federal funding programs which provide the elderly, children, health, housing, education, employment programs and services to the Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian) people. The Kanaka Maoli community have the worst social conditions in Hawai'i. In fact, the Kanaka Maoli are the worst economically distressed population in Hawai'i.
Economic Self determination means that the Hawaiian people have an undivided interest in the land and natural resources, but also in the wealth (kala) of our Ali'i, public and private trusts and agencies. Billions of dollars of Hawaiian trust funds in cash are in at least the top three financial institutions today, Bank of Hawaii (BoH), First Hawaiian Bank (FHB) and American Savings (ASB) in which they have benefitted hundreds of billions of dollars in leverage.
If this is so, then hundreds of Millions to BILLIONS of dollars in local Banks now are making tons of money through a 10 to 1 capital leverage formula. We're not talking about service fees and interest rates, these fees are merely "added value" to the Banking business, we're talking about a 10 to 1 leverage of profit-making potential.
OHA is a great example of this leverage, I believe in 1998 to 2000, they had something like 300 to 600 million dollars in First Hawaiian Bank, with their "capital leverage formula" that is 3 to 6 billion dollars in leverage to lend and invest in the community. The other thing to know about FHB is that it is owned by Bank Nationale de Paris of France. This means that Kanaka Maoli funding is also financing programs and projects in other countries, and that is just FHB.
As for Bank of Hawaii (that’s my Bank!) it makes you wonder whose Bank that really is. Of course it also makes you wonder about Connie Lau, Kamehameha Schools Trustee CEO who is also the CEO of American Savings Bank (ASB). One of the biggest shareholders of ASB is multi-national corporation, Helco.
This is just a small portion of what we find when we Follow the Money....
And you can continue to Follow that Crooked Money Trail at...
August 16, 2006
FBI probes bank over
alleged fraud cover-up
By Rick Daysog, Honolulu Advertiser
The FBI is investigating claims that American Savings Bank officials tried to cover up theft, including one case in which a bank employee allegedly took several hundred thousand dollars from a 91-year-old customer.
FBI agents interviewed the bank's former security director Bert Corniel yesterday after he charged in a lawsuit that the bank asked him to stop reporting fraud cases to federal and state officials, said John Perkin, Corniel's attorney....
The bank said the charges are false and it is cooperating with the FBI investigation.
"Although we cannot comment on the investigation, we can say that we have and will continue to cooperate and provide investigators with all the relevant information as it is requested," said American Savings Bank in a written statement. "Mr. Corniel's concerns ... were thoroughly investigated and found to be without merit."
Corniel and bank customer Ada Lim, 91, alleged in separate lawsuits filed on Aug. 2 that a manager at a bank branch took hundreds of thousands of dollars from Lim.
Lim deposited more than $600,000 into her American Savings account in 2004, only to have most of the money siphoned out of her account by the bank employee, who was helping to manage Lim's finances, the lawsuits allege. The bank employee opened an account with Bank of Hawaii and deposited various sums from Lim totalling $304,000, according to Lim's lawsuit. The bank employee bought a condominium using $110,000 of Lim's money, the suit claims....
For more, GO TO > > > American Savings: Behind the Blinds
HAWAIIAN BANKS LINK: China-US Campaign
Scandal and Illicit Capital Flow
The Link Between Mochtar Riady and
the Clinton Administration.
By Greg Wongham, greaterthings.com
The problems with the FDIC/Donna Tanoue and the two big Hawaii banks will undoubtedly effect people throughout the country. I believe that the Hawaii links to Mochtar Riady are attempting to gain access to the American capital market through Riady’s brother-in-law, Mumin Ala Gundawun. Riady was too hot (BCCI, Chinagate), so they wisely chose to approach their plan via the Hawaii connection.
Sec. Treas., Robert Rubin played a major role in setting up this new bank scandal by lobbying for repeal of the Bank Holding Company Act. The purpose for this action is to allow Bank Holding companies (Hawaii’s Pacific Century Financial Corp and BancWest) to expand their financial services, thus allowing them to become full service securities brokerages. This seems like an ideal front to legitimize their deals to the American capital markets....
Overview. I am the producer/host of a public access TV show called “Corruption in Hawaii.” I have spent 6 years exposing different aspects of the Hawaii machine....
During the month of August ... a segment of my show (was) titled, “What does Hawaii’s Bank Losses Mean to You?” The show featured a guest who described the losses he experienced in his family trust which was handled by Pacific Century Financial Corp (formerly Bank of Hawaii). He lost $1 million, plus $300 thousand in legal fees.
Numerous people called and said that they too, had experienced significant losses. Last week the public access station pulled the segment of the show. The next day the CEO of Pacific Century resigned. Two of the board of directors for the public access station are with the two big banks....
The important points in this story revolve around the fact that Hawaii’s Democratic machine played a major role in the Chinagate scenario that grew out of the investigation into illegal foreign campaign fundraising.
The machine headed by Hawaii’s political godfather, Senator Dan Inouye was being investigated by the FBI during former (R) President George Bush’s tenure. The basis of the investigation stemmed from allegations of extortion and bribery aimed at the administration of former (D) Gov. John Waihee. The investigation was killed by Clinton’s friend Webster Hubbell, the number three man in the Justice Dept under Janet Reno. (AP story by J. Solomon: FBI failed to act of fund-raising of ex-Hawaii couple.)...
Eventually the investigation focused on Indonesian banking tycoon, Mochtar Riady and his Lippo Group. The basis of the story I am trying to relay to you is that Hawaii’s Democratic Machine used the billions of dollars of the Kamehameha Schools / Bishop Estate assets to undertake the task of underwriting and orchestrating the initial public offering of the Xiamen International Bank on the Hang Seng and the NY Stock Exchange.
This would have the effect of legitimizing a Communist Chinese banking entity on the biggest stock exchange in the U.S. and opening the doors allowing American money to capitalize a communist regime....
It begins in 1963 to 1970, when a group of Hawaii legislators killed a Bank Examiner Bill. They were already employed as legal counsel or otherwise associated with the top banks. This, I felt, was a good point to begin telling you the story because it begins to reflect a pattern of using politically appointed people to legally white-wash or cover-up the wrong-doing of the big banking and financial interests here in Hawaii.
Today the same thing is happening, and this time they were successful in persuading President Clinton to push Hawaii’s Donna Tanoue to become the head of the FDIC. The significance in this is that the only time anyone here in Hawaii ever heard of Ms Tanoue was when she was tapped to cover-up the scandals that arose when 9 out of 20 of Hawaii’s Industrial banks failed. Many of them were linked to former (D) Gov. George Ariyoshi and the high ranking Democratic ‘old boys’. The results were that no one was convicted or sentenced to do time and the people of Hawaii ended up footing the bills....
The point is ... that once again Hawaii’s top banks are in a financial tail-spin and Donna Tanoue has been conveniently positioned to allow the banks to expand throughout Asia, the Pacific-Rim and the western part of the U.S....
August 17, 2002
Bank manager pleads
guilty to fraud
A former Bank of Hawaii manager has pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and embezzlement.
Belina Costales Zamora, 39, admitted taking at least $135,000 from the Lanai branch.
Zamora admitted she took funds from the accounts of about nine Bank of Hawaii customers without their authorization between February 1999 and April, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr. said Tuesday. In some instances, Zamora transferred the stolen money into accounts she controlled, he said.
Zamora told the court that she masked the fraud by having some of the customers' account statements sent to her branch rather than to the customers. When customers complained about the unauthorized withdrawals, she transferred money into their accounts from the accounts of other customers.
Zamora faces up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to a $1 million for each count. She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor on Dec. 16. Zamora agreed to make full restitution for the stolen funds.
Authorities from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lanai District of the Maui Police Department investigated the case.
October 12, 1993
Bonds: All Insider's Game ...
Takemoto Names Bond Lawyers
with Waihee Ties
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Two attorneys with close ties to the Democratic Party and Gov. John Waihee are the only local lawyers selected as bond counsels to advise the state since Yukio Takemoto took over as budget director in 1987.
Attorneys Renton L.K. Nip and William Yuen, and their law firms, have garnered all of the legal work that isn't controlled by mainland bond specialists. . .
One of the main buyers of state bonds is the Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust, the largest mutual fund focusing on island bonds. Investments for the fund are controlled by Hawaiian Trust Co., a subsidiary of Bank of Hawaii, the state's biggest bank....
In late 1991, Takemoto named Hawaiian Capital Securities* for the first time to the coveted role of co-manager for $400 million of bonds for the state airport system....
November 24, 2001
Man attacks bank
A man sprays people inside the bank
instead of his burning vehicle
By Leila Fujimori, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Police arrested a middle-aged man who allegedly parked his Mercedes-Benz in the middle of a busy downtown intersection shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday, set it on fire, then sprayed fire extinguishers in the intersection and at people in the main branch of Bank of Hawaii.
Two people were taken to Queen's Medical Center for treatment and released.
Witnesses said they also saw the man spatter blue and red paint on the front entrance of the bank.
A witness said the suspect had protested at King and Bishop streets for months holding a sign that read "Pacific Century Thieves."
Bank of Hawaii is a subsidiary of Pacific Century Financial Corp.
"He was dousing (the car) with fluid and lit it on fire. All of a sudden, I saw big flames. The thing was burning good," said Todd Loveless, who was on Bishop Street....
The suspect, who is in his late 40s, got out of the flaming car, went to the trunk of the car and grabbed a backpack and another bag, according to witnesses. The man sprayed a fire extinguisher in the air around but not at the burning car, sprayed a second extinguisher in front of the bank, then ran into the bank and sprayed two more canisters, witnesses said....
Firefighters arrived shortly after 4:12 p.m....
Twenty people remained in the building until about 6:30 p.m. while fire officials administered a field test for anthrax on the powdery substance, said Capt. Richard Soo, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman. The three tests were negative.
The man sprayed three people inside the bank with fire extinguishers....
Police arrested the man for suspicion of third-degree assault and first-degree criminal property damage, and have begun an arson investigation.
Detective James Anderson said the man never verbally threatened anyone in the bank, but he appeared to be upset with Bank of Hawaii....
See also: Dan Inouye; Donna Tanoue; Gilbert Tam; Robert Bunda
From The Price of Paradise, edited by Dr. Randall Roth:
by Jim Dooley
In Hawaii, more so perhaps than in other places, one story leads to another. Pull one out of the ground, follow its roots, and you've got a million more.
I did a series of stories back in the early 1980s about secret land partnerships here, commonly known as "huis," that included influential public officials as investors.
One of the partnerships I discovered had quietly bought and sold a piece of property at Nukoli`i on Kauai several years earlier, turning a $4 million profit. The land itself turned out to be the subject of an intense anti-development campaign raging on the Garden Isle just at the time I discovered the hui. . .
Investors in the Nukoli'i hui, I learned, included a state supreme court justice, the son and daughter of former governor John Burns, and John E. S. Kim, a convicted tax evader and former lobbyist for Amfac (the state's largest corporation at that time). Amfac had sold Nukoli`i to the hui. A key Amfac executive turned up as a hui investor.
Another investor was Edwin Honda, a state circuit judge who earlier had been director of the State Dept of Regulatory Affairs (DRA), the agency that is supposed to oversee public registration of business partnerships.
I asked Honda if he thought the hui should have been registered. He told me the question had never come up when he was the boss of the DRA (which was when the Nukoli`i hui was formed). So I addressed the question to DRA official Russel Nagata, who later became state comptroller. Nagata told me the hui probably should have been registered, but later he changed his position when interviewed by George Cooper, coauthor with Gavan Daws of Land and Power.
Years later, I accidently discovered that Nagata, while serving as state comptroller, had doctored a copy of a state record before giving it to me. He had carefully excised a portion of the memo which concerned state protocol spending, to make it look like I had received a complete document.
The missing paragraph concerned Bank of Hawaii vice president Dolly Ching's role in providing credit cards to state officials for their use in charging protocol expenses. At the time, Ching was a member of the Judicial Selection Commission, which later selected Russel Nagata to be a state district judge.
Are you getting the picture here? The original Nukoli`i story, written in 1981, was connected to the doctored documents story written in 1992, which was connected to the Judicial Selection Commission story, which was connected to other Dolly Ching stories I then wrote.
November 22, 2000
Why did bank bankroll Bobby Bunda?
By Bob Dye
Kailua historian and writer
Why was Bobby Bunda bankrolled by the Bank of Hawaii to run for Congress in 1996?
Was that ill-fated decision made in a back room or a board room? And why did bank executive Gilbert Tam, who once oversaw the Bishop Estate’s political operations, play a major behind-the-scenes role in Bunda’s campaign against Rep. Patsy Mink?
Remember that never in the history of the State of Hawai‘i has an incumbent U.S. representative or senator been defeated, not once, not ever. Yet, when Bunda, now heir-apparent to the state Senate presidency but then a relatively unknown Democratic senator representing Wahiawa, Waialua and Sunset Beach, announced he would challenge veteran Congresswoman Patsy Mink, the Bank of Hawaii gave his campaign committee a $100,000 line of credit.
Bunda’s congressional campaign committee had no assets — at least not any of those assets usually used for collateral. No real estate, personal property, goods, negotiable instruments, certificates of deposit, chattel papers, stocks or accounts receivable secured the loan. There was some small amount of cash on deposit, but not enough to cover other obligations and current expenses. No other party was secondarily liable for the loan, according to Bunda’s report to the Federal Election Commission.
Only one condition
The only assurance of repayment the bank required from Bunda’s committee was "an irrevocable pledge of future receipts to be raised ... at campaign fund-raisers to be conducted after our final 1996 congressional election (general or primary, whichever applies)."
Also pledged were "all contributions from individuals ... until the revolving credit line is fully paid." Those pledges were made in a letter dated June 27, 1996, from Bunda committee treasurer Richard von Gnechten to bank vice president John Taira. The following day, the loan, for one year at two points above base rate, was executed.
The Bunda committee cashed a $1,000 check from the bank’s chief operating officer, Richard Dahl, early in the campaign. And one in the same amount from the bank’s senior vice president, Gil Tam. In addition, the bank’s political action committee, SPEC, chipped in. And all of this for a politician who used City Bank, not Bank of Hawaii, as the repository for his state campaign funds.
In August, Rep. Mink, who has a law degree, publicly questioned the propriety of the bank’s loan to the Bunda committee. "It would be considered an extraordinary act by a financial institution that is outside the course of ordinary business," she said. A bank spokeswoman replied that Bunda got no special consideration. "We look for two repayment sources and whether or not a person qualifies — just the normal thing."
Convinced the bank’s loan violated the federal election law, Mink filed a complaint with the FEC on Sept. 30, 1996. She wrote: "But for the Bank of Hawaii loan made on June 28th, the Robert Bunda Committee would not have had funds with which to conduct a campaign. As of June 30th exclusive of the loan the committee had just $4,843.72."
She also noted that a second loan, for $35,000, was granted by the bank on Sept. 6, 1996. And she added, "All customary fees pertaining to the loans were waived by the bank."
She pointed out that, according to a personal financial statement filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives: "Bunda reported less than $30,000 of income in the first five months of 1996 and reported no solely held assets with value greater that $1,000. He reported two assets jointly held with his spouse worth between $1,000 and $15,000." She concluded, "Mr. Bunda could not be regarded as having sufficient income or assets to support an unsecured loan for $100,000." The loans, she wrote, "constitute illegal contributions."
The Bunda committee was an acceptable credit risk, responded the bank. And they filed documents, including the committee’s June 18, 1996, financial projections of anticipated fund-raising receipts, as proof. As for waiving the fees, the bank said Taira had that authority, and "customarily does so for not-for-profit organizations, which he considered the committee to be."
The bank concluded that "no violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 exists in this case and that there is no need to proceed further with this matter."
Despite the line of credit, the Bunda campaign was badly under-financed. A shoestring effort would have taken more than $300,000. But a serious campaign against an incumbent would have taken half a million at the least, and probably a cool million to win.
To no one’s surprise, Bunda lost in the primary. Mink beat him almost two to one — 64,371 votes to 33,886. (A little over 8,000 votes went to three other candidates.) In its report after the defeat, the Bunda committee reported owing the Bank of Hawaii $85,000.
Bunda’s congressional campaign committee did not hold a fund-raiser after the primary defeat, as it first promised. Instead, it waited until well after the general election to hold such an event, a lightly attended wine and cheese tasting at JMD Educational Center for Wine and Food in Halawa Valley.
Bank executives donated
Among the Bank of Hawaii executives who donated were: Lawrence Johnson, $1,000; Alexander Jamile, $1,000; Tom Leppert, $500; Ruby Otake, $500. Richard Dahl’s wife, Barbara, gave $1,000. Also contributing were four attorneys from Carlsmith Ball, one of the law firms representing the bank. They were: William Atwater, $500; Patricia Devlin, $1,000; Tom E. Roesser, $500; and Tom Van Winkle, $1,000.
Despite the pledge that "all contributions from individuals" be used to pay down the bank loan, it appears from a report to the FEC that only $2,545.30 of the amount contributed was actually sent to the bank. The bank restructured the loan, raising the interest rate to three points above base rate.
A bank official, E. Ebisuya, attested to the FEC, on Aug. 1, 1997, that the Bank of Hawaii loan to the Bunda committee "was made on terms and conditions (including interest rate) no more favorable at the time than those imposed for similar extensions of credit to other borrowers of comparable credit-worthiness."
Ebisuya also told the FEC that the bank was "aware of the requirement that a loan must be made on a basis which assures repayment ... "
Bunda default lawsuit
On Feb. 11, 1998, the Star-Bulletin reported that a lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court by the bank, charging that Bunda had defaulted on the $100,000 loan. The suit said that as of Jan. 14, the bank was owed principal amounting to $70,487, interest of $2,776, and late charges of $3,581. Interest would grow at the rate of $22.20 daily, said the bank.
Bunda’s committee shook the money tree again in 1998. This time, Henry Peters, a friend of Bunda, contributed $1,000, as did Jeffery Stone, a developer, and Jeane K. Omaye, an asset manager at his firm. But the effort fell short and the debt remained.
At the bank’s 1998 annual meeting in April, a shareholder, Charles E. Frankel, questioned the propriety of the Bunda loan, and later sent a follow-up letter to CEO Johnson about the reported lawsuit against Bunda.
Johnson replied to Frankel in a letter dated June 19, 1998: "There is no suit pending in Circuit Court regarding the loan in question. Bank of Hawaii withdrew its earlier filing when it was determined that the demand letters were not constructively received (a matter of due process) by the owing party before the action was taken. The loan in question was paid in full last month."
Indeed it was. On May 26, 1998, Bobby Bunda and his wife, Gail, had borrowed $66,000 from National Mortgage and Finance Co. Ltd., taking a second mortgage on their Wahiawa home. They, in turn, loaned the congressional campaign committee $65,637, and the committee paid the bank $65,016.36.
Johnson also wrote in that letter to Frankel: "I would like to make it clear that the bank, in this matter, has acted in compliance with all applicable statutory, regulatory and internal policy requirements. The Federal Election Commission (FEC), in its investigation of this matter, has confirmed this fact."
That isn’t what the FEC told Congresswoman Mink. In a letter dated Jan. 14, 1998, the associate general counsel for enforcement, Lois G. Lerner, wrote that Mink’s complaint "rated highly enough" for the commission to investigate the matter, but that it had to dismiss the complaint because of limited resources.
The FEC emphasized: "That closing should not be interpreted as a commission determination that your complaint on the issues set forth therein were not significant. Rather, the closing was based solely on the fact that the commission’s inability to investigate the matter in a timely manner was due to insufficient staff resources."
Bunda’s last report to the FEC says his congressional committee is in the red $72,780.84 ($65,637 of that to himself). But his state campaign spending report shows that his Senate committee is in the black.
Bunda did not wait to pay off his congressional committee debt before raising funds for his next state Senate race. In fact, during the time he was campaigning for Congress, Bunda’s state Senate committee accepted $1,250 from three donors. In April 1997 that committee held a successful fund-raiser at Dole Ballroom.
The Bunda campaign for Congress stands in stark contrast to his state Senate races, which are competently conducted and adequately financed. The race for Congress seemed ill-starred from its inception, maybe conception. It started planning and organizing a year too late, had too few volunteers, polled too late (and only once), and had a falling out with its professional campaign firm — McNeil Wilson Communications Inc. — which quit in mid-race by mutual consent.
Other than the dedicated work of a couple of tireless volunteers, the only steadfast supporters of record were the check-writing officer corps at the bank and its $100,000 revolving line of credit.
Many questions remain
The dominant financial role of the Bank of Hawaii in the ill-fated Bunda campaign is curious at best. And many questions remain. Was the bank pro-Bunda or anti-Mink? Was the loan a clumsy attempt to circumvent the federal campaign contribution limit? Why did the bank go out of its way to antagonize an incumbent member of Congress? If so, what was its message, if any?
Patsy Mink won’t speculate on the bank’s reason for so generously supporting her opponent. But, in protest, its life-long client withdrew her campaign and personal funds from the Bank of Hawaii.
Bobby Bunda, a former banker, simply says that the bank "liked" him.
Is there a lesson to be learned by shareholders of banks? Sure. For the soundest of fiscal and ethical reasons, they should only invest their hard-earned money in a bank that says no to political campaign committees, especially those without assets. But if shareholders can’t keep bank executives from meddling in elections, voters should demand that lawmakers amend election laws to prohibit lending institutions from making loans to political committees.
February 14, 2000
Bad Daewoo Loans Force Bank of Hawaii to "Learn Its Lesson" in Asia
Pacific Business News
At the time, the decision seemed like a no-brainer to Pacific Century Financial Corp officials. The bank would lend money to a massive Korean "chaebol," a company with many subsidiaries, a worldwide presence and government backing so strong the company "looked sometimes like an instrument of government policy," according to David Houle, Pacific Century's CFO....
Then came the crisis. In 1997 and 1998, Asian currencies collapsed en masse, foreign investors fled and government credit dried up.
Korea's famed chaebols suddenly seemed very much alone-- none more so that Daewoo, Pacific Century's debtor, which flirted with collapse. Daewoo is billions of dollars in debt and is still struggling to arrange payments to creditors.
This struggle has hit Pacific Century's balance sheets. In the fourth quarter of 1999, the bank "charged off," or canceled, $19.5 million of its $30.2 million in outstanding loans to Daewoo. The other $10.7 million are "on nonperforming status," according to Pacific Century's fourth- quarter report.
August 7, 2000
Bank of Hawaii Stock Plummets
Pacific Business News
As if 5-year stock lows, profits down 83 percent and hundreds of millions of dollars in bad loans aren't enough, Pacific Century Financial Corp is now facing tough, incisive questions from analysts and institutional investors disappointed in the bank's recent performance. Such uncertainty has fueled the recent plummeting of Pacific Century's stock...
Analysts are asking Pacific Century, owner of Hawaii market leader Bank of Hawaii, to reconsider its basic strategies for doing business. Among their comments:
>> Pacific Century has loaned too much money to too few individual businesses, according to Rosalind Looby, bank analyst for New York securities firm Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette. Looby says she is "surprised at the size" of some of the bad loans the bank made to national companies.
>> The bank's lending standards appear to have been looser than those of Hawaii peers, and it appears to have more frequently made poor lending choices
On July 26, Pacific Century stock dropped to its lowest split-adjusted level in five years. It set another 5-year low on July 27, and Monday's low price, $13.56 per share, was the lowest since 3/10/95....
August 22, 2000
Pacific Century Chief Quits
The Honolulu Advertiser
Lawrence Johnson, chairman and chief executive of one of Hawai'i's largest and most storied companies, announced yesterday he is stepping down amid mounting pressure from shareholders.
The announcement by Johnson, 60, the long-serving chief executive of Pacific Century Financial Corp, the parent of Bank of Hawai'i, comes in the wake of stunning losses from risky loans earlier this year and a stock price falling to five-year lows....
January 15, 2001
BANK OF HAWAII HAS ONE OF THE
WORST RATINGS IN THE NATION
Pacific Business News
Bank of Hawaii has one of the worst ratings in the nation for the proportion of nonperforming loans to total capital and reserves in the latest report by Weiss Ratings Inc., a bank rating agency.
The Weiss report says overall nonperforming loans for the US banking industry, which rose less than 3% in 1999, rose another 15% in just the first nine months of 2000. The national average as of Sept 30, 1999: bad loans accounted for 7.22% of banks’ capital and reserves.
Bank of Hawaii, however, had nonperforming loans equal to 17.53%.
Weiss therefore gives Bankoh a “B-minus” safety rating.
Just two large banks in the entire nation did worse according to Weiss: Capitol One Bank of Glen Allen, VA, and Providian NB of Tilton, NH, both of which had bad loans equal to more than 22% of capital and reserves....
October 16, 2001
Ex-FDIC Chief Joins Bankoh Trustees
The Honolulu Advertiser
Donna Tanoue, former chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has been elected to the Bank of Hawaii board of directors.
Tanoue is working as a financial services consultant. She was appointed by President Clinton to head the FDIC from May 1998 to July 2001, overseeing the federal banking agency that monitors nearly 5,700 banks and insures $3 trillion in deposits....
It was under Tanoue’s leadership at the FDIC that the Bank of Hawaii signed a Memorandum of Understanding with banking regulators that increased federal oversight of the bank’s operations because of asset quality problems.
Tanoue said federal rules prohibit her from representing the bank before the agency she once headed.
“Now that I have left the agency, I operate under certain constraints. I am going to be very mindful of the ethical limitations which govern post-employment after you have left the FDIC,” Tanoue said yesterday.
During Tanoue’s tenure at the FDIC, she also instituted efforts to reduce the agency’s work force and budget, as well as create a diversity program within the FDIC.
During her tenure the agency’s staffing has declined 16.6 percent, to 6,500, and its budget is 6 percent smaller this year than it was last year.
Before joining the FDIC, Tanoue was a partner in the Hawaii law firm Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel, where she specialized in banking, real estate finance and governmental affairs.
President Bush nominated Texas bank executive Donald E. Powell to succeed Tanoue....
See also: Mitsui Trust
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Last update June 19, 2009, by The Catbird.