Dani Aiu - From teller to bank executive
ByASB June 30, 2017 | 5 min read N/A
Earlier this month she was promoted from regional executive and director of branch banking to executive vice president and director of consumer banking at the Honolulu-based bank.
Prior to the promotion, Aiu served as a regional executive and most recently as the director of retail banking.
“I’m definitely a loyal employee, and I was always engaged in the bank,” Aiu said, on her longevity with ASB.
But Aiu told Pacific Business News it’s her relationship with coworkers and customers that has had the biggest impact on her career.
“I have customers from my branch banking that still call on me,” she said. “Now I’m helping their children with their homes. Some now are retiring, or I get to meet their grandchildren. I feel that I’ve been a part of their life in helping them, whether it’s their own dreams of buying a house, buying a business or being able to help their children in college. That part has been super exciting.”
What are some goals you would like to accomplish in this new position?
A lot of our bank goals are based on making banking easier, which is a huge part of being the EVP of consumer banking. There are so many different choices for customers. You can do banking by mobile now and of course online, and we have our ATMs. Although I oversee the branches and the call center, it really is to help customers and help business owners. Banking oftentimes, even professionals find it complicated. I think banking is not boring. It is about deepening relationships and creating a culture where bankers really do want to help our customers in what they are doing. That’s my goal. It’s a huge goal. But I think it is complicated. There are so many options. Whether it is opening the doors and having them do a warm hand off to a financial consultant, or a business relationship manager, or even a loan officer for your first home purchase, that’s really what I want to do with ASB.
How is technology shaping the industry?
Technology is ever changing. Yet, we know that our culture in Hawaii is still somewhat different or special. On the Mainland you see the trending of transactions in branch going down quite a bit faster. In Hawaii, actually, doing your banking in the branch is important. But again, we want to give them solutions of the online banking space, mobile banking and the call center. We upgraded our online banking in June 2016 to an online platform for businesses and consumers. We’re not just trying to keep up, but stay ahead, with our mobile deposit, the ease of banking and being able to do your deposit via your cell phone. Our call center, I would consider it our biggest branch, because we get quite a bit of calls. We are a seven-day call center. It is locally based in Mililani. And we service a lot of our customers who choose to pick up the phone and get information.
How is ASB coping with the state’s low unemployment rate?
With the low unemployment rate, in your front line, whether it is with your call center or teller, attrition is a tad higher than other positions. But we work closely with our HR recruiting team. For the teller onboarding as well as the call center representative on boarding, we ensure that once you’re on, you have a buddy system.
What is the biggest challenge of your job?
I hope I’m not being vague, but I think that there’s always balance in what you do. In the role, a lot of your time is spent on being strategic. A lot of what I have done throughout the years has been through the relationships that I build, to create a balance of, not necessarily meetings, but folding in the strategic part as well as the accountability piece. You still need to know what’s actually happening in the branches and the call center. I think the visits and the time spent, not only in direction, but being a part of that is important. On the personal side, it’s also balance. I have two teenage boys and a husband, so that’s always a challenge for me to have that balance too.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your career path?
Be true to who you are. Work hard for it and always set a goal. Setting milestones along the way is helpful too. Of course, I would want to be [ASB President and CEO] Rich Wacker, but that’s not my goal today. You always need to set milestones throughout the way. It’s so important to your success.
Executive vice president and director of consumer banking, American Savings Bank
Address: P.O Box 2300, Honolulu, HI 96804-2300
Anna Hrushka covers money and technology for Pacific Business News