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Hawaii State Federal Credit Union: Soft Opening

A man in a blue button-up.
Marc Healy, executive director of retail and marketing
5 min read
A group of employees in Hawaiian shirts, all laughing.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The 1,800-square-foot space that is Hawaii State Federal Credit Union: Salt Lake, serves as a sort of “test lab” for their new technology. They are the first in Hawaii to have ITMs. Not only that, but their ITMs are the first in the nation to implement palm/vein-based biometric authentication with member specialists behind each ITM to answer questions and guide customers through the ITM experience.

“We’re proud to be the first financial institution in Hawaii to introduce this new technology. But more importantly, we’re proud to offer the best of both worlds. between the convenience of out new self-service options and offering expert financial consulation provided by our friendly staff-you choose how you want to interact with us. ” – Ismael “Ish” Eustaquio

Representatives from Element (Nate and Bryn Baldasaro) flew out to witness the soft opening of the branch.

The day after arrival started at 8:30am in the lobby of HSFCU: Salt Lake. After some fine tuning of the touch tables, Ryan Hirata calls the group over to discuss the digital touch experience.

Meanwhile, graphics are being carefully applied to the windows. Despite there being a few minor hiccups, the atmosphere is joyful. Cherese Maio leads a team of women comprised of Trisha Aguirre, Rose Scott, Arinix Aga, Tori Yamashiro, Lauren Costello, and Haley Quinata. She has been coaching them on the new branch hospitality policies, training them to be the best in the business. Of course, their bubbly personalities, professionalism, and eagerness to learn lends itself perfectly to their job descriptions.

Introduction to touch technology.

The team is then called into a meeting lead by Ryan to talk about the importance of touch, the different features, and the new options that the touch tables provide. There are two on the right side [from the door] of the branch. As Ryan goes through his presentation, Nate interjects with some interesting anecdotes and personal points surrounding the touch process.

As the day progresses, Cherese takes the women through a variety of exercises to prepare them for the branch’s soft opening on Monday. After lunch, they practice their jobs, alternating between customer and employee, a roleplaying exercise that was quite fun!

Roleplaying! Pictured: Tori and Micah


Pictured: Tori and Micah

After a restful weekend visiting the North Shore and other local landmarks, the highlight of which was swimming at Makapu’u Beach, Monday morning dawned to another early arrival.

Makapu’u Beach Park

Makapuu Beach Park

Element reps arrived at 7:50am to a branch that was already filled with employees, board members, and local partners of the credit union. To the left of the door, there was a table laden with coffee and customized donuts from DunkinDonuts, fruit, and some chichi dango. A local favorite, it is a sweet similar to mochi, but much softer. The space is clean and sparkling. Those on the staff as well as few other special people, including Nate, were gifted with leis to wear. The ladies, lead by Cherese excelled in their mingling. At 8:30, Andrew Rosen, the CEO of Hawaii State FCU, called for everyone’s attention. He delivered a heartfelt speech and thanked all those involved in the project.

Andrew Rosen: CEO of HSFCU

Andrew Rosen: CEO of HSFCU

He was followed by Elliot Hatico who also thanked many. In a humorous speech, he addressed the staff directly about the importance of working together, using the analogy of a canoe team to illustrate his point. When he finished, Micah Yoshimura introduced the staff and their jobs and recognized those involved in the project. Among those recognized throughout the speeches were Ish Eustaquio, Nate Baldasaro and The Element Group, and Duke Gipaya the facilities specialist.

Elliot Hatico

Elliot Hatico

When Micah finished, Elliot stepped up to introduce the Kahuna (Hawaiian priest) Curt Kekuna who did the blessing for the branch when construction first began, as well as many of the blessings for other HSFCU branches. He delivered a quick sermon on his involvement with HSFCU as well as the importance of the federal credit union’s mission to always, be right by you. He stressed the importance of connection and caring for each other and through audience engagement, creates that feeling of connection and family within the space.

Curt Kekuna

Curt Kekuna

He ushered everyone outside for the blessing which concluded with a sprinkling of holy water and the untying of the ceremonial lei by Micah and Andrew to officially open the branch. Afterwords, everyone filed back in. Staff went first, followed by the people from corporate. Everyone else entered after them and took the opportunity to shake hands, hug, kiss, and congratulate those on the staff.

Outside for the blessing

Outside for the blessing

With the Salt Lake branch officially open at 9:00am, those involved stood at their stations next to the ITM’s and happily demonstrated the new technology to participants of the blessing, as well as walk-ins intrigued by the hustle and bustle. By the time Element left at 11:15am, several withdrawals had been made and accounts had been set up. They headed over to HSFCU headquarters for 12:00pm to run a mini-seminar on pushing content as well as template opportunities (such as pulling in multiple feeds to one screen) on Element’s digital platform. Those that attended the meeting were: Bonnie Sakai, Ryan, Nate Baldasaro, Stacy Fujitani, and Cullen Tegan. After a 5 minute break, Nate took some time to discuss touch opportunities. The meeting concluded at 3:00pm, after which the participants finalized plans for dinner at Tsukuneya Robata Grill.
The people from Element joined Ish, Ryan, Cullen, and Aaron Valleley for a delicious dinner before heading out for home the next morning.

Dinner at Tsukuneya Robata

Dinner at Tsukuneya Robata

Upon arriving home, Element recieved news from Ish that the branch is thriving, serving as an interest point for many of the other local branches.


Thank you to the team at HSFCU for hosting The Element Group!

To see more about the Salt Lake team, click here.

To see the HSFCU experience gallery, click here.

Written by Bryn Baldasaro for The Element Group.


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A man in a blue button-up.
Marc Healy
executive director of retail and marketing

Often greeted by the team as “Mr. HEALY!,” with all suitable pomp, Marc is known to be a positive force of nature in the office. After graduating from Western Washington University with a degree in Business and a concentration in Finance, Marc proceeded to leap right into leadership positions. His career now spans over 35 years, with experience in marketing, sales, and finance.


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