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How to Choose a Bank on Big Island Hawaii

Banks on the Big Island

It’s good to have options. With numerous credit unions and banks on the Big Island of Hawaii, it’s relatively easy to find a location for most of your banking needs. The state has numerous local and national financial institutions from which consumers or business owners can choose. What’s more, you’ll find every modern option you desire, from online banking to comprehensive investment strategies.

Whether you are looking for one of the largest banks on the Big Island or you’re interested in a more localized, community-oriented credit union, make sure to compare a few different options. From First Hawaiian, Inc., the largest bank in the state, to HFS Federal Credit Union (HFS FCU), the largest credit union on the island, the Big Island is home to some of the country’s best banks and credit unions.  Let’s look at the banking landscape on the Big Island, Hawaii, examining specific banks and credit unions like HFS FCU and how to compare your options to find the best for your specific financial goals and needs.

Introduction to Banking on the Big Island Hawaii

As you look at the financial institution options on the Big Island, Hawaii, to determine how well they may meet your needs, it’s a good idea to start by looking at the largest and most modern locations.

The first financial institutions on the Big Island opened their doors in 1858. That was First Hawaiian Bank. It continues to be one of the most respected financial institutions in the region, offering many people traditional checking, savings, and investment options. It has 57 branches of banks throughout the state.

Aside from First Hawaiian Bank, HFS Federal Credit Union (HFS FCU) has become recognized as one of the leading financial institutions on the island. This credit union opened its doors on January 4, 1937 by a group of government employees who each pooled together $5.25 to begin the organization.  Since then, the organization has served a wide range of individuals on the Big Island, Hawaii, to meet the needs that big banks offer with the charm and character of a small, local credit union.

What are the Top Banks and Credit Unions on the Big Island Hawaii?

There are several large banks and financial institutions on the Big Island. While HFS FCU is the largest credit union and First Hawaiian is the largest bank, other notable financial institutions include Bank of Hawaii, American Savings, and Central Pacific. Here is a look at some of the services each organization offers.

  • HFS FCU: A full-service credit union, HFS offers business and consumer checking and savings accounts, investments, retirement planning, loans, accident and life insurance, digital banking, notary services, and numerous financial planning tools.
  • First Hawaiian Bank: Consumer checking and savings, merchant services, trusts, insurance, mortgage and commercial lending, car financing, retirement planning, and wealth management services.
  • Bank of Hawaii: A full-service bank, offers consumer and business accounts, CDs, business loans, credit cards, and wealth management services.
  • American Savings Bank: The third-largest bank in the state, ASB offers investment services, traditional bank accounts, financial tools, and DIY resources.
  • Central Pacific Bank: This bank, founded in 1954, offers a range of deposit accounts, credit cards, business banking solutions, and both car and mortgage loans.

Note that HFS FCU is the largest of the credit unions on the island of Hawaii, and that makes it significantly different from any of the other financial institutions present.

How to Choose the Right Bank for Your Needs?

When choosing a financial institution, it’s critical to consider your specific needs, any costs, and the types of services the organization offers to ensure you’re choosing a location that offers what you need to best manage your money. Not all of the banks and credit unions in Hawaii offer the same popular services and features, and some are more digitally oriented than others.

When choosing a bank or credit union, there are several factors to keep in mind:

  • Types of accounts available: Most of the largest banks and financial institutions, including HFS FCU, offer comprehensive banking tools for individuals and businesses. Some also offer retirement and wealth planning services.
  • Fees and other costs: Some financial institutions offer competitively low fees and rates, or none at all. The key to remember here is that each of the types of accounts offers a different fee structure for users. While HFS FCU offers free checking, for example, the Pure Checking account from First Hawaiian Bank has a $5 a month charge in some situations.
  • Interest rates paid: Always consider the interest rate paid by the financial institution for the types of investment products you plan to utilize, including CDs, savings accounts, high-interest checking accounts, and wealth planning tools.
  • Interest rates charged: If you need a mortgage loan or a car loan in the short term, rates are a critical factor to pay close attention to. Depending on the institution you choose to bank with, they can vary widely based on various factors like credit score, type of account, and the current market climate.

Also, take the time to consider the difference in credit unions and a bank.  A credit union, which is member-owned, offers more individualized services and are not profit driven. If there is a profit, members, who are account holders, split those profits. Banks, including the four mentioned here, do not do this. They are profit-driven, charge higher fees in many cases, and tend to offer less personalized support.

What Financial Services are Available on Big Island Hawaii?

Once you learn what banks are available on the Big Island Hawaii, your next step is to find one that fits your specific needs. You will find virtually all types of financial services available on the Big Island, including the following, all of which HFS FCU offers:

  • Personal and business checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • CDs
  • IRAs and other retirement planning solutions
  • Share Certificates
  • Mortgages
  • Personal loans
  • Credit cards
  • Solar water heating loans
  • Construction loans
  • Car loans

Exploring Bank Branch Locations on Big Island Hawaii

When you’re ready to choose a financial institution that can meet your specific needs, you’ll find dozens of locations throughout the Big Island to select from. You’ll find several HFS FCU branches on the Big Island, including at:

  • Hilo
  • Honoka’a
  • Kea’au
  • Kailua Kona
  • Prince Kuhio Plaza
  • Waimea

You can find a list of all of the branches available from HFS FCU on their contact page to help you locate the one closest to you.


How can I open a bank account on the Big Island, Hawaii?

You can visit any branch location for HFS FCU to open an account, or visit their website to open an account online

Are there any local credit unions offering better interest rates?

Credit unions, including HFS FCU, offer better interest rates than most traditional banks because they are less profit-driven (and therefore have more money to put into the members).

What are the typical fees associated with banking services on the Big Island?

Most banks charge fees. Look at the specific fee schedule for the bank you plan to use to learn about account opening fees, direct deposit fees, maintenance fees, over-the-limit fees, and other costs associated with the type of account you have.

Can I access online banking services from banks on the Big Island, Hawaii?

If your financial institution offers it, like HFS FCU does, you can use online banking services throughout the Big Island, Hawaii.

What are the advantages of choosing a credit union over a traditional bank?

Credit unions often have lower fees, better interest rates, more personalized service, and may even share profits with members.

Are there any specific financial services tailored for residents of Big Island Hawaii?

Yes, local credit unions, like HFS FCU, offer personalized banking, loans, and investment services aimed to support the community’s unique economic and geographic composition. Additionally, several programs provide specialized mortgage and small business financing options that cater to the agricultural, tourism, and renewable energy sectors prevalent on the island. These specialized options are aimed at stimulating the local economy and directly helping residents of places like Kailua Kona Hi.

Do banks on the Big Island of Hawaii offer support for small businesses and entrepreneurs?

If you are starting or growing your business, HFS FCU is one of the best resources you can count on for support, lending options, and competitive business banking tools.

Why Choose HFS Federal Credit Union?

With over 85 years of experience, there’s a reason HFS FCU is one of the most trusted financial institutions on the island. We offer all the services and amenities you get with big banks but also provide personalized member support and familiarity. If you’re ready to find a bank that fits your needs, check out what HFS FCU can offer you. You can visit any of the branch locations to become a member. Once you do, you’ll have outstanding support for any financial needs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you