State to hold hearings
on bank merger

The public will be allowed
to comment on the proposed
takeover of City Bank by
Central Pacific Bank

The state will have a public hearing in December to let as many people as possible air their views of Central Pacific Financial Corp.'s proposed takeover of City Bank parent CB Bancshares Inc.

The session, officially an informational and comment proceeding, will be at the state Capitol Dec. 8, said Nick Griffin, state commissioner of financial institutions. If necessary, additional days will be allotted, he said.

His office will conduct the hearing but it will be "pretty much of a one-way process," with the division of financial institutions doing the listening and members of the public doing the talking, Griffin said. It won't be an adversary process, just a way for his office to gather as much information as it can to help in its deliberations on the proposed merger, he said.

Hours and other details of the public-comment process will be issued soon in a public notice. Those who indicate by Dec. 7 that they want to testify will be allowed to talk first, Griffin said. Efforts will be made at the end of the program to squeeze in those who have not given advance notice, he said.

Griffin said his division has received a number of letters generated by City Bank's anti-takeover campaign. Some of those who met Friday's deadline for written comment said they wanted a chance to be heard in person, he said.

The hearing is to help gather as much public input as possible from both sides, Griffin said.

CB Bancshares, with 22 City Bank branches, has been seeking public support for its fight against the hostile takeover bid by the parent of 25-branch Central Pacific Bank.

Central Pacific maintains that the merger of the two banks would create a strong bank, able to compete with the biggest Hawaii banks and able to grow. City Bank says the merger would cause some 10 branches to close, with the loss of some 200 jobs.

Wayne Miyao, senior vice president of CB Bancshares, said more than 4,000 people have signed petitions or sent letters supporting City Bank's stand against against the takeover. "We're pleased that the banking commissioner has stepped forward and will hold a public hearing," Miyao said.

Ann Takiguchi, spokeswoman for Central Pacific Financial, said her company respects Griffin's position on the public hearing. CPF is reviewing the public comments that have come in so far.


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