Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 49, Thursday, July 3, 1958 p. 3


Untold Story Behind Origin Of Central Pacific Bank

From board meetings while eating 50-cent plate lunch under a banyan tree in Ala Moans, Park to a meeting in the board room of the Central Pacific Bank building is a long haul in the organization and building of the Central Pacific Bank.

The idea of a new bank was considered for some time by men who didn't have $5,000 to their name, but the idea took hold and the group expanded and there were more people joining in to eat the 50-cent plate lunch.

When time, came to announce the capitalization of the bank at $1 million, every banker in town laughed at the proposition. Originally the group had considered $300,000 and later $500,000 capitalization.

Stock Sold Fast

But when the drive for shares began, within one week people bought $500,000 worth of shares. This sale was remarkable because the minimum block of shares offered were three at a total price of $105 and the maximum was $10,000. Today the largest group holding does not exceed $30,000.

The plan, a new approach, to spread out ownership has resulted in Central Pacific Bank probably having more stockholders than any other bank in Hawaii. There are reportedly over 1,000 stockholders.

At first the organizers tried to form a cosmopolitan bank but soon realized that they may. not get government approval to establish such a bank because there were already cosmopolitan banks.

The organizers thus set up a bank to service the Japanese community, to fill the gap created when three Japan-owned banks were closed at the beginning of the Pacific war.
When the initiators of the enterprise undertook the raising of capital, they first approached AJAs in business and professions. Some of those approached wore astonished at the gall of the men trying to establish a bank.

The organizers next went to the Issei group. The first contact with an Issei group of businessmen including Peter Fukunaga and the late Yasutaro Soga brought
them the information that the Issei elements were already making plans to bring in the Yokohama Specie Bank which formerly did business here, or at the least to have the Japanese bank have some financial interest in the proposed bank. Negotiations broke
up with this group.

The second group approached included Daizo Sumida, Koichi Iida and others active in the Japanese Chamber of Commerce. Talks went on encouragingly. They discussed locating the bank on the ground floor of the Capital Investment Building, opposite the main post office.

It was said then that Capital built the ground floor to house such a bank. (Talk now is that the newly proposed bank will probably occupy the first floor of Capital's building.)
But because the bank aimed to concentrate on Japanese community business, it moved to its present Smith St. location when the bank was finally organized. Some say this was not a wise move and was influenced by the Issei group.

The meeting with Sumida and his group broke up over the makeup of the board. The AJAs wanted 50-50 representation. The closest they came to was 7 Issei and 5 AJAs but Sumida and his group pushed for 8-4, and the AJAs are reported to have walked out.
This challenge of Sumida is reported to be the first ever made in the Japanese community. Recently, Sumida group lost, more ground in the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, an organization in which Sumida was considered a "king maker."

The Sumida ranks broke two weeks after the walkout of the AJAs. Today Koichi Iida is president of Central Pacific Bank and many consider that he is a bigger man in the Japanese community than Sumida.

The establishment of the Central Pacific Bank has resulted in the other banks providing more and better service. Even before the Central Pacific Bank began operation, the cosmopolitan banks began hiring and promoting AJAs long held down through discriminatory employment practices.

p /> I do not say that at odd hours a patient must be given the regular hot dinner or supper. Few people would expect this.
But what is so complicated about opening and heating a can of soup, making some toast, or preparing instant coffee or tea? Why cannot a night nurse do these simple things after the kitchen to closed? Is it just too much trouble?

It is only common humanity to feed the hungry. If our hospitals are too big, too complex, too impersonal to do these small kindnesses for the sick, something is very wrong.