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Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2012

20 emerging leaders in local businesses, nonprofits, government, education and law

(page 14 of 21)

Photo: Courtesy of James Takamine


President and CEO, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union

It takes James Takamine about 45 minutes to drive from his home in Waikii Ranch on Hawaii Island to his office in Kona and he’s not complaining.

“I’m very happy to be back home,” he says.

Takamine took the helm at Hawaii Community FCU in June 2010 as only the third leader of the Hawaii Island credit union in its 76 years. After living and working on the mainland, it was time to come home.

“It was certainly a choice for us to move back, start a family and raise kids here,” says Takamine, who returned with his wife, Jamae Kawauchi. “I feel like I’ve come full circle in a way. I’ve worked on Wall Street, at large banks on the East Coast and locally. The credit union is, by far, the smallest organization I’ve worked for. And it’s very rewarding.”

Takamine has worked in just about every aspect of banking, from serving as a regional executive for American Savings Bank to helping members fill out loan applications. He loves working in this smaller environment, where the focus is less on profit and more on servicing members.

“I’ve really seen both sides. The challenge is always to balance the needs of the members and the employees who make the credit union what it is. It’s not driven by a singular bottom line like a for-profit bank.”

Born and raised in Aiea, Takamine graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1990, then attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., where he played football and earned a degree in economics and East Asian studies. He worked at First Hawaiian Bank for about five years before obtaining a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Then he got his MBA from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. He got a summer internship at the New York Stock Exchange and then worked for M&T Bank Corp. in Buffalo before moving back to the Islands.

“James is a breakout person with a much greater role in reshaping Hawaii’s future,” says Tricia Buskirk, the credit union’s vice president of corporate development and marketing. “His intelligence, energy, vision and passion make him one of 20 to watch in the next 20 years.”


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