Business briefs


POSTED: Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hawaii National Bank cuts card rates

Hawaii National Bank is reducing interest rates for both consumer and business VISA card rates from a previous 15.99 percent and enhancing rewards for its credit card holders.

The bank is offering its consumer customers a low-rate card or a flexible rewards card. With the low-rate card, account holders will see the interest rate lowered to 9.90 percent, while the rewards card rate has been lowered to 13.90 percent. Neither of the consumer cards have an annual fee.

For business account holders, the interest rate on both standard and rewards credit cards has been dropped to 12.90 percent. The standard card has no annual fee; while the rewards card is assessed a $39 annual fee.


Hawaii Biotech CEO wins support

Current director Debra Guerin Beresini and director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot Parks were re-confirmed as directors of Hawaii Biotech Inc. at a special shareholders meeting held yesterday.

William Ardrey, CEO of Acuvax Ltd., was removed from the board by shareholder vote and replaced by Richard Sherman, who previously has served as a Hawaii Biotech director.

The special shareholders meeting was initially requested by Acuvax, a publicly listed Australian company and a minority shareholder in Hawaii Biotech, in an attempt to remove Parks and Beresini. Hawaii Biotech, which conducts clinical trials for West Nile virus and dengue fever, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy last week.


Defunct isle insurer's claims paid off

The state Insurance Division has successfully closed HIH America Insurance Co. of Hawaii.

Financial problems of its affiliated companies in Australia and California led to the downfall of the workers' compensation insurance company in March 2001, when its ability to pay its claims and vendors was jeopardized. State Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt seized HIH Hawaii's operations when it became insolvent, and, under the Insurance Division's control, paid 100 percent of all claims of injured workers, policyholders, and Hawaii creditors.

More than $18 million of assets were recovered and paid out to creditors located in Hawaii and California.


Consumer head opposes Pasha entry

Hawaii's consumer advocate recommended against granting a California carrier permission to provide interisland services in the state.

Dean Nishina, who became executive director of the Division of Consumer Advocacy this month, recommended denying Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC a certificate at the present time.

Pasha, which transports vehicles between Honolulu and San Diego, failed to meet the burden of proof that its proposed service is in the public's best interest, he said in a statement filed Dec. 15. He also said Pasha's proposed service could affect certain customer classes.

Pasha in April filed an application with the state Public Utilities Commission to launch interisland services between Honolulu, Kahului, Hilo and Nawiliwili. Young Brothers objected, saying that Pasha was not proposing the same level of services as it was, thus creating an uneven playing field.


Waianae gets new housing

Nonprofit developer Housing Solutions Inc. will hold a blessing and groundbreaking today for Sea Winds Apartments, a transitional and long-term housing 50-unit project meant to serve the Waianae Coast. Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Terry Brooks, president of Housing Solutions, are scheduled to talk at the Waianae project.

Funding for Sea Winds Apartments comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME program, the federal Economic Development Initiative, the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

The 4.3-acre property is leased for 50 years from the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.


On The Move

; » The Servco Pacific board of directors has announced the following promotions:

Patrick D. “;Rick”; Ching to president of Servco Automotive. He has been with the company for 25 years holding various senior management positions.

Craig Washofsky to president of Servco Home and Commercial Products while continuing to hold his previous title as group vice president of Servco.