Computers are supposed to speed things up, but at Hawaii's CB Bancshares they're slowing things down.

CB, whose $1.4 billion of assets makes it the state's third-largest banking company, has delayed plans to merge its two banking subsidiaries, City Bank and International Savings and Loan. The reason: its current computer system.

It is "not up to the task of allowing us to provide the kinds of products and services that we want," said president and chief executive officer Ronald K. Migita.

Last fall the company said it would merge its 11-branch thrift subsidiary into the bank during the first half of 1997 to cut costs. The merger target has now been put off until next May so that the system conversion can be completed.

Meanwhile, according to a press release, the two subsidiaries are integrating some other operations, such as human resources. They already use the same switchboard.

Los Alamos National Bank is telling its customers to go fly a kite.

This Saturday the $380 million-asset New Mexico bank will sponsor Art/Flight '97, the Los Alamos Kite Festival, in an effort to reach out to children. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., the Kiwanis Club, and the state Department of Tourism are co-sponsors.

The second annual event, which is free and open to the public, will include a kite-making workshop and awards for the most artistic, aerodynamic, and popular kites based on spectator votes. More than 300 kite-fliers participated last year.

The festival will also demonstrate Indian Fighter Kites, for which crushed glass is strung along the length of two kites' strings. The kites are then flown into each other until the glass severs one of the strings, allowing that kite to blow away.

From time to time state or federal regulators warn about companies that "may be conducting banking operations in the United States without authorization."

This month such a warning came over the wire about Panacea Bank and Trust, Bellingham, Wash.

We wonder what it's selling.

- Jonathan D. Epstein

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