June 27, 2019
Longtime First Hawaiian Bank workers explain how their career helps them age well.
Iwilei, HAWAII – Imagine spending about 80,000 hours of your life at one company. Hundreds of First Hawaiian Bank workers have done that, or more. Some of them talk about how giving decades of their lives to one employer helps them with Aging Well.
Four months before the US entered World War II, 16-year-old Jimmy Yee started working at First Hawaiian Bank. Bank then, it was called Bishop National Bank.
Yee recalls, “My pay was $75 a month. I started as a messenger boy in the mail room.” He eventually became a bookkeeper and a teller at Hickam branch, assistant cashier in the Kalihi Branch, and also worked in the Kapiolani, Kailua, King-Smith branches as relief officer before being named Manager of the Airport branch, which was eventually relocated to Moanalua branch. At the end of his 65-year career, he was in the audit department.
“I never imagined I’d stay that long, but I’m glad I did,” reflects Yee, a sprightly and sharp 94-year-old who looks far younger than his years.
He did not finish high school nor attend college, but says he learned a lot about life through his job. “Live and let live,” he sums up. Yee is one of many people who spent all or most of their working lives at the bank. Once a year, the bank treats them to a lunch. There’s 258 people at this year’s lunch who’ve worked at the bank 40 years or more.
First Hawaiian Bank chairman and CEO Bob Harrison presides over the event and says, “This is our event for our retirees and our 40-year plus veterans at the bank.”
A new retiree lauded this year is Charlene Marciel. She retired in May after 50 years. “The bank’s played a big part of my life, as well as my family’s life too,” Marciel says, explaining that she got married the year she started her FHB job.
Marciel was the Assistant Vice President & Service Manager at the Kahului branch in Maui. Marciel worked in the Kahului, Wailuku and Kihei branches. She was hired in 1968 as a Safe Deposit Clerk at the Kahului branch. She served in various capacities including teller, assistant operations supervisor, assistant branch manager, and service manager.
She calls her coworkers her second family and says that career continues to support her financially and emotionally. “It’s a sense of security, stability. Memories, friendships, laughter – it’s all compiled into one,” Marciel says.
If you love what you do, stay with it. Marciel and Yee say that joy will keep you Aging Well.