GIVEN HAWAII's REPUTATION as a laid-back tropical paradise, some may be surprised to find it is emerging as a nerve center for global electronic commerce.

The Bank of Hawaii, the banking subsidiary of $12 billion-asset Bancorp Hawaii, has taken advantage of its strategic location to build an electronic funds transfer business that provides a gateway to the Pacific Rim for other banks and corporate customers. "We have a lot of corporate customers who are running businesses on Hawaii, on the U.S. mainland, and throughout the South Pacific, and all have unique transfer needs,"' said Lee Moriwaki, vice president of operations at the Honolulu-based institution. "Our mix of business is weighted much more toward both international and domestic funds transfers as opposed to focusing mainly on domestic funds transfers, as most U.S. banks handle." Mr. Moriwaki said the bank faces a unique challenge running a funds transfer operation from Honolulu. "The time difference between where we are and the East Coast, where the Federal Reserve system is, causes a compression of our work day" which begins at 8:30 a.m., he said.

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