20 for the Next 20: Tony Mizuno, American Savings Bank
The SVP and manager of commercial real estate loans at American Savings Bank oversees more than 20 low-income housing projects statewide.
Senior VP and Manager of Commercial Real Estate Loans, American Savings Bank
Tony Mizuno was not sure if his long-term career would be in banking or real estate, but now he finds the combination a perfect fit.
“What I enjoy about commercial real estate, the transactions are unique, often they’re large and complicated,” says Mizuno. “And so it’s not like a check-the-box thing; you have to figure out how to do it.” And putting transactions and financing together “helps people’s dreams come true.”
Now, with 26 years of real estate experience, he leads the real estate loan portfolio and team at American Savings Bank.
Mizuno joined ASB in 2020 after a 25-year career at Bank of Hawaii. Since then, he has grown ASB’s commercial real estate portfolio by 42% – from $685 million to $975 million.
One development project he is working on is Halewai‘olu Senior Residences in Honolulu’s Chinatown, a new affordable housing project with 156 units. In fact, he oversees more than 20 low-income housing projects statewide.
Mizuno believes the state’s affordable housing problem can be fixed and he’s putting as much effort as he can into helping finance projects. He says housing is the state’s biggest problem and thinks other issues would be solved if people had secure housing.
He describes himself as a hard worker and a “happy, positive person.” It’s an apt description, says Karen Tan, president and CEO of Child & Family Service. “He brings the joy to leadership.”
At CFS’ annual fundraier, Mizuno volunteered to dance in front of the audience. Tan says leaders need to be fun to energize others, and Mizuno epitomizes that because he does things “with such an eagerness.”
“Some leaders are like, ‘Oh no, I have to look a certain way or be a certain way in order to be a leader,’ ” says Tan. “Tony walks alongside people. He partners with people; he doesn’t see himself as better than others, he just happens to have a leadership role.”
Mizuno credits a past boss who was calm as a role model because he admits he was not calm then. He believes a boss doesn’t have to be mean or condescending to get great results from people.
“He embraces the idea that leadership is a lifelong journey and he’s always learning and he’s always willing to put himself in the middle of things,” says Tan.