First Hawaiian Bank Review: Hawaii’s Oldest and Largest Bank Offers Community-Focused Banking and Services

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: First Hawaiian Bank is best known as Hawaii's oldest and largest bank, making the GOBankingRates list of Top 100 Banks of 2022. It's a one-stop-shop for all your personal, business and commercial banking needs with multiple account options for checking and savings categories There's a lot to cover in a First Hawaiian Bank review. Start with an overview of what the bank has to offer. 
  • Breadth of Products
    5.0
  • Accessibility
    5.0
  • Opening Deposit Requirements
    4.8
  • Fees
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

The following are some of the most significant benefits and drawbacks to guide you along the process of choosing a bank.

Pros

  • Wide range of financial services
  • Nearly 50 branches throughout the Pacific including Guam and Saipan
  • A personal banker is assigned to you if you have a combined account balance of $5,000 or more

Cons

  • No money market accounts
  • Interest rates aren't as competitive
  • $3.00 fee for ATM withdrawals outside of the network 

Bank Overview and History of First Hawaiian Bank

First Hawaiian is a bank holding company that was founded in 1858 and headquartered in Honolulu. It has 49 branches throughout the Hawaiian Islands, plus three in Guam and two in Saipan. Customers have access to deposit accounts, investment options, wealth management, loans, credit cards and more. These offerings have helped First Hawaiian Bank rank in the Top 100 Banks of 2022 list by GOBankingRates.

First Hawaiian Bank Products

Most island residents can choose from several options for each of the regional bank’s key account types.

First Hawaiian Bank Checking Accounts

Each of First Hawaiian’s five checking accounts targets a specific type of customer. It’s important to understand what you need when you’re comparing the best checking accounts on the market.

Pure Checking is First Hawaiian’s basic account, with a $2 monthly service fee that can be waived if you sign up for eStatements. Complete Checking offers free checks, and you can waive the $7 monthly service fee with $1,500 in direct deposits per month. The Priority Banking accounts come in three tiers, each adding extra perks, relationship rates and discounts on loans. You’ll need combined balances of $6,000 to $35,000 to avoid the $15 to $22 monthly maintenance fees.

All accounts have a small, $20 minimum opening deposit requirement. The monthly maintenance fees can be waived easily when you sign up for electronic statements or receive a certain amount in direct deposit. If you’re unsure of how to choose an account, choose Pure Checking for a low-fee basic checking option. Priority Banking tiers come with savings on loans and interest rates, such as 0.25% off loan rates. Plus, Priority Checking 2 is First Hawaiian’s only interest-bearing checking account.

Finally, Complete Checking is the best choice when you receive regular direct deposits and prefer an account that comes with freebies such as checks.

First Hawaiian Bank Savings Accounts

First Hawaiian Bank’s savings accounts all come with a monthly maintenance fee if you don’t maintain a minimum balance. Minimums are $300 to waive the $5 Regular Savings and $4 Premium Savings monthly fees, $500 to avoid the $5 YesSavings fee, and $1,000 to avoid the $10 MaxiMizer Savings fee.

As with First Hawaiian Bank’s checking accounts, opening balance requirements are low at $20. An APY of 0.02% to 0.05% is available, depending on the account and balance. The bank’s savings accounts aren’t as lucrative as a high-yield savings account, but they offer the opportunity to earn a small amount of interest.

To avoid steep overdraft fees, choose the Regular or Premium savings account. Either can be linked to your checking account for overdraft protection. Should your checking account become overdrawn, the bank will transfer the funds needed from your savings account.

First Hawaiian Bank CD Accounts

First Hawaiian Bank offers several types of CDs. Its best CD rates are available for 12-month CDs opened at a branch, offering % or % APY or for a 24-month eCD, offering 0.25% APY. Shorter-term CDs are available for six months with an APY of 0.06% — higher than savings account rates.

Opening a CD requires a minimum investment of $500 to $1,000. The longest term available is 36 months which is short compared to other banks offering 60 months.

Best Features of First Hawaiian Bank

GOBankingRates assigns a score to each bank based on the financial institution’s best features. First Hawaiian Bank performed well in the following categories:

Breadth of Products

Accountholders will find a variety of banking and financial services are available from First Hawaiian. Besides the bank accounts reviewed, IRAs, credit cards, insurance and personal loans such as mortgage and home equity lines of credit are available.

Accessibility

First Hawaiian Bank makes banking easy for nearly everyone. The bank has branches throughout the Hawaiian islands as well as in Guam and Saipan. In addition, many of the bank’s most popular services and accounts can be accessed online or using the mobile app. 

Opening Deposit Requirements

There are a variety of low-fee accounts available requiring a minimal investment amount of $20. CDs are also accessible, with minimums of $500 for most and terms as short as six months.

Fees

Banking fees are generally low or easily waived. For example, monthly maintenance fees for a checking account range in price between $2 and $22. Waiving the fee may be as simple as signing up for e-statements or maintaining a combined balance over several accounts. Other fees which may be pricey — such as the out-of-network ATM fee of $3 — can be avoided altogether by using the bank’s ATMs that have $0 charges.

Editor’s Favorite

Getting a personal banker assigned to you when you have a combined balance of $5,000 or more might be First Hawaiian’s best feature. Being able to call or visit a banker who knows and understands your financial needs really brings home First Hawaiian Bank’s community mission.

Banking Experience

A First Hawaiian Bank review wouldn’t be complete without a look at how day-to-day banking works. Here’s what you need to know:

Customer Service

General customer service inquiries are available by phone at 888-844-4444 or 808-844-4444 if on Oahu. For online and mobile banking questions, call 888-643-4343 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Or, log in to FHB online and send a secure message.

Accessibility and Branch Availability

First Hawaiian Bank has 49 branches in Hawaii, three in Guam and two in Saipan for a friendly, “mahalo” banking experience. Contact the branch itself or consult the ATM and branch locator for hours.

Mobile and Digital Experience

First Hawaiian’s mobile banking app provides a full-featured banking experience so you can check balances, contact customer service, find branches, pay bills and more. Your information is safe because the app is compatible with fingerprint and face recognition and uses 128-bit Secure Socket Layer or SSL encryption.

You can download the app on Google Play or the App Store. Customers give the First Hawaiian mobile banking app a good review overall:

  • Google Play: 3.5 out of 5 stars, 3.1K votes
  • Apple Store: 4.7 out of 5 stars, 12K votes

Convenience and Ease of Use

First Hawaiian Bank’s app and website let you handle most of your banking needs quickly and easily. For other services you can visit a local branch, call for support or send a secure message through the online portal.

How To Open an Account

You can open a First Hawaiian account at a branch or online. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Social Security number
  • Home address
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Email address

First Hawaiian Bank Fees

You can avoid many First Hawaiian Bank fees by meeting account activity and balance requirements, but some fees are unavoidable if you perform certain activities. Here’s a quick look:

Type Amount
Monthly maintenance $2 to $22, but can be waived
Returned item $10
Non-First Hawaiian Bank ATM fee $3
Wire transfer (incoming) $13
Overdraft or NSF fee $30
Overdraft transfer fee $12.50

First Hawaiian Bank vs. Competitors

Before settling on a bank, take the time to compare it to others. Here’s a look at how First Hawaiian compares to some of its rivals.

Bank Best For
First Hawaiian Bank Customers in Hawaii who prefer a local bank and a personal relationship banker
Bank of Hawaii A similar alternative to FHB that offers interest checking
Central Pacific Bank Access to higher savings rates
American Savings Bank New account holders and customers who want a money market option

First Hawaiian Bank vs. Bank of Hawaii

Both banks have a large presence in Hawaii, with wide product ranges and a focus on community-oriented service. Bank of Hawaii’s biggest advantage is that it offers three interest-bearing checking accounts compared to First Hawaiian’s single interest-bearing account. First Hawaiian Bank gets the edge if you keep at least $5,000 in the bank because then you’ll get assigned a personal banker.

First Hawaiian Bank vs. Central Pacific Bank

Central Pacific Bank night be a better choice if you want to earn more interest on your savings because some of its accounts have an APY as high as 0.10%. But First Hawaiian offers a wider variety of checking accounts.

First Hawaiian Bank vs. American Savings Bank

American Savings Bank is another Hawaii-based bank with a strong community focus. What sets it apart are the many Financial Wellness tools and articles available on its website, which are designed to help customers manage their money, build savings, deal with financial hardship and more. This can come in handy if you’re just getting started on your financial journey. American Savings also offers a money market account — something its rivals don’t. But if you want a personal banker for keeping high combined deposits, First Hawaiian is the better option.

Final Take

First Hawaiian’s status as the state’s first — and largest — bank makes it a good choice for customers who want a wide branch network and access to a variety of financial products. If First Hawaiian ticks most of your boxes, you can open an account online or stop by a local branch to get started.

First Hawaiian Bank FAQ

Here are answers to some of First Hawaiian Bank’s more commonly asked questions.
  • Does First Hawaiian Bank offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • There are no cash bonuses from First Hawaiian Bank at this time, although the bank has promotional interest rates of 0.15%, 0.18% and 0.25% on select CDs when you open one online or at a branch.
  • What is the First Hawaiian Bank phone number?
    • The toll-free number is 1-888-844-4444 or you can call the local Oahu number of 844-4444.
  • Is there a First Hawaiian Bank mobile banking app?
  • What Is the First Hawaiian Bank routing number?
    • If your account is in Hawaii, the First Hawaiian Bank routing number is 121301015. In Guam, the routing number is 121405238 and in CNMI or Sapain, it is 121403065.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Apr. 25, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by First Hawaiian Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by First Hawaiian Bank.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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