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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Credit unions favored in Isles

By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

Credit unions are used by more Hawai'i residents than any one bank or savings and loan, according to a new study.

In an annual survey on local consumers' banking habits, SMS Research also found that nearly 30 percent of residents rely on supermarket branches for their banking needs, which is up from virtually zero about a decade ago.

The SMS study, which was released last week, is based on interviews of more than 2,500 residents. Respondents were asked to list which of Hawai'i's major banks they did business with. They also were asked if they had an account with any of the state's 100 credit unions.

The survey found that most respondents had some form of business relationship with a credit union, followed by American Savings Bank, First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii.

Rodney Shinkawa, director of the Hawaii Bankers Association, noted that the SMS study doesn't compare the market shares of Hawai'i banks and credit unions but attempts to gauge the number of customers at the financial institutions.

According to the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corp., First Hawaiian Bank has the largest market share in terms of deposits with nearly 30.5 percent of the market, followed by Bank of Hawaii with 28.3 percent, then American Savings, which has about 18.2 percent of all deposits.

"Credit unions have a large share of the market from the standpoint of numbers of customers and not so much from a standpoint of actual dollars," Shinkawa said.

The SMS study also found that 65 percent of the state's population rely on debit cards, automatic bill payment, direct deposit or online banking for their financial services needs.

The remaining 35 percent use the traditional branch and teller system for their banking.

SMS, one of the state's largest market research firms, prepared the annual study for its subscribers, which include local radio, television and advertising clients. The study is not affiliated with any of Hawai'i's banks or credit unions.

Reach Rick Daysog at rdaysog@honoluluadvertiser.com.