Judy Yoshida completes 33 years with American Savings

KAPA’A — It is said that life, like business, experiences cycles.

When Judy Yoshida first came to the Kapa’a branch of American Savings Bank as a loan officer from the Lihu’e branch nearly 30 years ago, the island’s real-estate industry was booming, with the Kawaihau Estates subdivision and some Princeville condominium projects about to be built, she recalled.

When she spent part of her last day on the job Friday after 33 years with the bank saying “aloha” to some of her business-banking clients (confidentiality concerns prevent her from naming names), there were likely real-estate professionals on her call list, as once again the island’s realestate sector is pumping.

When she came to the Kapa’a branch of American Savings Bank in 1978 or 1979, there was on-street parking on Kuhio Highway fronting the branch, and a highway-front entrance to the branch.

There were no computers, so most of the work was done by hand, she recalled.

Not too much earlier, the branch had been a one-office, one-person operation near where the Kapaa Laundry Center at the Kapa’a Shopping Center is located.

The other major difference was the lack of traffic back then, she said on her last day of work.

There was no automated teller machine at the branch, and Yoshida, who was branch manager for over 25 years, supervised several renovations of the branch fronting Cost-U-Less.

Once on-street parking was eliminated, a renovation had to take place to also get rid of the branch’s highway-facing entrance, she recalled.

American Savings Bank officials own the building that also houses Miles Lahr and Shoreview Pharmacy, and Yoshida, in between receiving lei from friends, customers and co-workers, said she is grateful to have had only one tenant during her time at the Kapa’a branch.

When American Savings Bank expanded, so did Shoreview Pharmacy, she said.

“It’s been a long time,” Yoshida reflected on her career. “I guess I must love my job,” she said with a smile. “It was a very challenging career.”

And now that it’s over? “Everybody looks forward to retirement,” and she is going to “relax,” travel, and spend more time with her family, and her beloved dog, Homer.

“Everybody knows Homer,” she said.

She has two children, Sheri Yoshida, 35, and Jennifer Yoshida, 24, recently returned from a trip to San Francisco, and has plans to take another trip shortly, she said.

She said she will miss her co-workers and customers the most.

“I’ve worked with one particular girl for about 25 years,” she said of Colleen Morita, customer service manager.

And there are many others with the bank who have been around as long as Yoshida has, she added.

In the Kapa’a branch, Emma Iloreta has been there for 10 years, said Yoshida, who has been active and involved with both the Kapaa Business Association and Rotary Club of Kapaa.

Among the former co-workers who dropped off cards and lei on Friday was Darrell Horner.

The purpose of the pauhana visit to her business-banking clients, she said, was “to let them know we appreciate their business.”

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