Class of 1984
Gregg Hirata is the Vice President in the Hawaii Island Commercial Banking division at the Bank of Hawaii. Commercial banking deals with large loans made by the bank. His clients are mid-sized to large businesses on the Big Island, who contact him for banking needs such as depository management, credit activities and all other related banking activities.
The Bank of Hawaii is the largest locally owned bank in Hawaii and also does business throughout the Pacific Islands. On the Big Island alone, annual new loans average over $20 million a year. The bank also handles a portfolio of deposits that normally amount to a few million dollars. The bank makes money from the interest they charge for these loans. At 6% interest rate, that could equal over a million dollars of revenue to a bank. It is exciting to deal with such large sums of money, but unlike the average stereotype of a banker, Gregg doesn’t get to physically see or count the money. The bank has a money processing center with machines that do the actual counting of the dollars.
Prior to working at the Bank of Hawaii in 2005, Gregg was in charge of finance, accounting, distribution and warehousing and production planning at Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation. He moved back to Hilo from Honolulu, where he worked for six years for Nishihama & Kishida, largest locally owned CPA firm on Oahu. He received his Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from the UH Manoa.
His non-banking experience has helped him better understand the demands of local businesses. Due to the sub prime lending fiasco and the downturn in the economy, the banking industry has become more heavily regulated, having to follow very stringent rules in making new loans. Home mortgage foreclosures are also on the rise. This is a scenario where everyone loses because of the legal costs, emotional hardship and stress for both the home owner and the bank.
A member of the class of 1984, he remembers the support of Mr. Takao (Feet) Shikuma and Mr. Roy Yonemori, his social studies teachers, who remain his personal friends. He said that being a “humble kid” from Hilo enabled him to garner great mentors in all of his jobs. He also said he was fortunate to learn from “tough” bosses. His advice to students is to “Don’t ever let anyone discourage you!”
Gregg is married to Leanne and has three sons: Trevor, age 10; Devon, age 6; and Mason, age 3. His diverse interests include hunting and fishing, glass blowing and studio furniture making.