First Hawaiian Bank may become publicly-traded company in 2016 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

First Hawaiian Bank may become publicly-traded company in 2016

File Image File Image
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

First Hawaiian Bank may become a publicly-traded company because of regulatory circumstances on the other side of the world.

First Hawaiian and San Francisco-based Bank of the West are both owned by a holding company called Bancwest. It in turn is owned by Paris-based BNP Paribas, second largest bank in Europe.

BNP said Wednesday it is “considering strategic alternatives” including an IPO, or initial public offering of stock, to sell First Hawaiian Bank in 2016.

The announcement that this is under consideration, required by U.S. banking law, does not give any reason. But a separate announcement by the parent bank in Paris suggests one.

The European Central Bank has notified big Euro banks it plans to require them to keep a larger percentage of cash on hand. Its goal is 11.5 percent cash buffer by 2019. In its Paris press release, BNP said it is close enough to the ECB goal that spinning off First Hawaiian would enable the company to achieve it.

BNP Paribas operates in 75 countries. Bank of the West has hundreds of branches throughout the Western U.S. First Hawaiian Bank is Hawaii’s largest bank with $18.9 billion in assets and 62 branches including three on Guam and two on Saipan.

Insiders at First Hawaiian say BNP Paribas has largely left the management of the bank to the executive team in Hawaii, so that the enterprise has effectively been run as a local banking institution rather than an arm of a larger bank far away.

The Hawaii banking market is virtually unique in America in that most local banking is done by local institutions, including Bank of Hawaii, American Savings Bank, Central Pacific Bank, Territorial Savings Bank, Finance Factors and Hawaii National Bank, all based in Honolulu. First Hawaiian and Bankoh control more than half of local banking.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly