Chronicling Business in Hawaii Since 1955
WHAT'S A PUNCHED CARD?
About 40 years ago, there were no such things as broadband Internet access and desktop computers. In February 1964, Hawaii Business noted the way electronic data processing was taking the Islands by storm. The new, huge computers still used punched cards, but worked more quickly and quietly. The trend spawned data processing centers, 30 of which had been established statewide since 1962.
Hawaii Business said, "The main difference between punched-card data processing and electronic data processing is in speed - the latter is quite a few times faster. In a world where clerical tasks previously taking days and weeks have already been condensed to minutes, the further refinement down to seconds seems a mere luxury."
At that time, First National Bank had been the first bank in Hawaii to get a computer, but the Bank of Hawaii had bought more machines and was renting them to potential customers. First National was looking at offering a similar service by implementing 24/7 scheduling of its machines.
READY, SET, CHARGE!
Competition between banks continued to heat up in 1969, but this time, the banks were battling with plastic. Bank of Hawaii had pioneered the charge card in the Hawaii market five years prior, with stellar results. By 1969, Bankoh had an estimated 1,300 member merchants and 70,000 credit-card-using customers. The bank had affiliated with BankAmericard in 1966.
In 1969, competitor First Hawaiian announced that it planned to introduce Master Charge to the Islands, and embarked on an aggressive program to line up merchants and card-carrying consumers. The bank had its work cut out for it. As Hawaii Business wrote, "There has long been a reluctance on the part of bigger local retailers such as Liberty House and McInerny's to accept the bank charge cards, since having their own cards promotes their stores and allows the customer to charge even if he has exceeded the limit set on the bank's card."
Today, Liberty House and McInerny's are no more. Bank of Hawaii agreed to sell its credit-card portfolio to American Express in 2000. At the time, the portfolio included 148,000 consumer and business accounts, with receivables of approximately $226 million.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
That's what Hawaii Business deemed its February 1979 cover subject: "Though Andre Tatibouet has been around Waikiki all of his 37 years, he has only recently emerged as one of the fabled area's major hoteliers."
Tatibouet's star had risen after his purchase of the Waikikian Hotel from Fred Dailey in 1978. At the time, he also had the Coral Reef, Kuhiolani, Diamond Beach, Waikiki Surfrider and Waikiki Gateway hotels in his portfolio. The hotelier was also a developer in partnership with Herbert Horita on the Waikiki Sunset Condominiums and the Waikiki International Plaza. Tatibouet's hotel-management company, Hotel Corp. of the Pacific, was poised to take over operation of the Japanese-owned Island Colony resort condominiums, too.
Tatibouet branded his hotel-management company the Aston Hotels & Resorts in the 1980s. He sold Aston to Tennessee-based ResortQuest International Inc. in 1998. He and the company parted ways in 2002 over a dispute about the use of the Aston name outside of Hawaii. Tatibouet still owns several Hawaii properties today and is attempting to convert one of them, the Aston Coral Reef Hotel, to leasehold residential condominiums.
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