Former CEO of Aloha Pacific FCU dies

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Wallace Watanabe, the former CEO of Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union in Honolulu, died Sept. 2 at the age of 73, according to a statement from the credit union.

Wallace Watanabe, former CEO of Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
Wallace Watanabe, former CEO of Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union

Watanabe spent more than 40 years at Aloha Pacific, joining in 1972 as a loan officer and working his way up to president and CEO, a position he held from 1992 until his retirement in 2013. During his time at the helm, APFCU’s profile rose substantially as it added branches across Oahu. Watanabe even pushed for the establishment of a branch in Las Vegas, which today remains the city’s only branch of a Hawaiian financial institution. By the time he retired in 2013, Aloha Pacific had grown to $745 million in assets and today holds assets over $1 billion.

Vince Otsuka, who took over the credit union after Watanabe retired, said in a statement, “In addition to leading our credit union," Watanabe "was a leader in the credit union movement in Hawaii.”

Watanabe helped establish shared branching and ATM networks in Hawaii and created a credit union service organization to help CUs on the islands process and service mortgages. He was also a champion of small credit unions, offering assistance and organizing resources to help advance those institutions.

“I and all of the members of the board of directors are very saddened to hear of Wallace’s passing,” said Gary Iwai, chairman of Aloha Pacific’s board of directors. “He was a true pillar of this credit union and a dedicated advocate for all of Hawaii’s credit unions. Our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

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