Wednesday, April 14, 1999


First Hawaiian
parent’s profits soar
90 percent

The increase is mostly related
to last year's merger

By Russ Lynch


BancWest Corp., parent of First Hawaiian Bank, today reported a nearly 90 percent increase in first-quarter net profit.

Most of the difference was because the bank holding company nearly doubled its size with the November acquisition of a mainland bank that was then merged into what had been First Hawaiian Inc. But the higher results weren't only merger related since both its subsidiaries, First Hawaiian Bank in Hawaii and Bank of the West on the mainland, showed higher profits than a year earlier, the parent company said.

Info Box "On the West Coast, where the economic expansion continues, Bank of the West again achieved strong growth across all of its primary business lines," said Walter A. Dods Jr., BancWest chairman and chief executive officer.

"First Hawaiian Bank's improved earnings came largely through expense cuts, including an 8.4 percent decrease in salary and benefit costs over those recorded in the first quarter of 1998," Dods said in a statement.

Honolulu-based BancWest did not issue separate reports for the Hawaii and mainland subsidiaries and all of the consolidated numbers in the quarterly report were pushed sharply higher by the inclusion for the first time of the results of San Francisco-based Bank of the West.

The combined profit was $40.3 million, up 89.6 percent from $21.2 million in the 1998 first quarter, when it was First Hawaiian Inc. alone. Per-share income of 70 cents in the latest quarter was up only slightly from 68 cents a year earlier because of new shares issued in connection with the mainland acquisition.Assets at the end of March were $15.4 billion, up 89.1 percent from the $8.1 billion assets of First Hawaiian Inc. a year ago.

Deposits of $11.6 billion were up 88.3 percent from $6.1 billion at the end of March 1998. The company said that since the end of last year, Bank of the West's deposits have risen 5.4 percent while First Hawaiian Bank's stayed flat because of the sluggish Hawaii economy. Loans and leases of $11.5 billion were up 83.2 percent from $6.3 billion a year earlier. Most of that growth also was from Bank of the West, up 4.8 percent from the end of the year.

BancWest said it is saving money by combining certain operations of Bank of the West with those of First Hawaiian Bank. The integration in February of the former First Hawaiian Bank subsidiary Pacific One Bank on the mainland into Bank of the West is expected to save about $10 million a year in costs, Dods said.

First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of the West have united their credit card operations, issuing a new Bank of the West card from within the company to replace one from an outside provider. Retail investment sales and mortgage loan servicing for both banks have been combined. The Pacific One Bank merger into Bank of the West and other changes at First Hawaiian Bank have reduced the payroll by the equivalent of 265 full-time positions since a year ago, the company said.

BancWest Corp. will hold its annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco tomorrow. Hawaii shareholders will be able to view the meeting, which starts at 7:30 a.m. Hawaii time, on video screens in the First Hawaiian Center.

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