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Sunday, May 18, 2003



[INSIDE HAWAII INC.]

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KEN IGE / KIGE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii State FCU board Chairwoman Beverly Ing Lee is a credit union booster.



Volunteer spirit
drives Beverly Lee



Beverly Ing Lee

>> Board post: Chairwoman of the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union board
>> Day job: Owner of Classic Travel
>> Other Hawaii State FCU board officers: Vice Chairman Andrew Endo, Secretary Louise Akamine, Treasurer Tit Mun Chun
>> Directors: Peter Leong, Amy Motooka and David Shimabukuro.


What do you do besides being chairwoman of the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union?

I'm retired from more than 20 years with the state Department of Education. After I retired, I continued with about three projects. I'm involved with the Casey Family Programs, and the credit union, and I continued with Classic Travel. I've owned the travel agency for about 14 years.

How long have you been involved in the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union?

About 16 or 18 years.

How did you get involved?

My friend Robin Campaniano was a member, he's president of AIG Hawaii now. He insisted I join because of all the benefits of being a member. So I innocently got involved. One day I found out the credit union had a policy that prevented access to funds on the same day they were deposited. Well, I didn't think that was right, so I got involved. I've been an active volunteer all my life. We have an all-volunteer board at the credit union. I felt I could help the credit union be even better, so I volunteered. The policy on access to deposits changed immediately.

What are your goals as chairwoman?

We want to be the most outstanding financial institution, providing the best service for our members. We're constantly improving our Web site and constantly trying to provide the best interest rate for loans and free checking and bill payment. We want to provide good services. We typically give a rebate to all members at the end of the year. For example if you earned interest or if you paid interest, at the end of the year you get money back. Sometimes its quite sizable, enough for an extra mortgage payment. But it's not automatic, the board has to authorize it. So we hope to continue to do that.

What are the challenges facing Hawaii State Federal Credit Union?

We're constantly looking to increase membership. We have $653 million in assets and 55,000 members. Also, our members need services beyond what the credit union offers, so we have Hawaii State Financial Services, a for-profit subsidiary, to provide other services, like financial planning.

Can the credit union handle the loan demand spurred by historically low interest rates?

Yes.

Do you worry about the credit union getting over extended?

No. We carefully watch all our lending.

Banks often complain that their tax exempt status allows credit unions to compete unfairly. What do you think of that argument?

I feel that there is a place for the credit unions and a place for the banks. I also notice that the banks seem to be providing similar services to the credit unions nowadays. They've become more people-oriented, more responsive to customers. But we're owned by our members. We depend heavily on volunteers. It's not the same business. Hawaii State Federal Credit Union is listed in the top 250 businesses in Hawaii, but if I'm listed in there I'm listed next to someone at a bank making a lot of money. All of us on our board are volunteers.

Do you do all your banking with credit unions?

No, but most of it. I have had bank accounts since I was a child and there's no reason to close them. I also belong to other credit unions. I joined the police credit union (when I worked as a policewoman for four years after college) and two teachers credit unions, in addition to Hawaii State Federal Credit Union.


Inside Hawaii Inc. is a conversation with a member of the Hawaii business community who has changed jobs, been elected to a board or been recognized for accomplishments. Send questions and comments to business@starbulletin.com.

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