JOICHI SAITOJoichi Saito, former Central Pacific Bank (CPB) Chairman and CEO, passed away on March 18, 2022, in Honolulu, Hawaii at age 86 after battling cancer.

Mr. Saito was born on November 11, 1935 and graduated from Hitotsubashi University in 1959 and began his banking career at The Sumitomo Bank, Ltd. (Sumitomo) in Japan.

In 1963, at the age of 28, he received his first overseas assignment to The Sumitomo Bank of California in Sacramento and was later transferred to The Sumitomo U.S. headquarters in San Francisco. In 1970, he returned to Sumitomo in Japan. In 1978, he was assigned to The Sumitomo Bank in Seattle, Washington and then transferred to The Sumitomo Bank of California, once again.

In 1988, Mr. Saito was asked to join Central Pacific Bank, which was partially owned by Sumitomo at the time. Shortly thereafter, he became CPB's President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1996, he assumed top leadership of CPB as Chairman and CEO and led the bank to become one of the strongest financial institutions in Hawaii. He retired in 2002 and was then named Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor. At the time of his retirement CPB was nationally recognized as one of the top performing banks in the country. The US Banker named CPB the fourth best performing mid-sized bank and ranked CPB 25th in the nation.

His reputation for strong leadership and genuine care for the Hawaii community led to invitations to help lead multiple organizations across the State of Hawaii. He served as director for the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross, Benefit Services Hawaii Inc., East-West Center Foundation, Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation, Hawaii Employers Council and the Honolulu Symphony.

Never forgetting his strong Japanese ties, Mr. Saito continued his efforts to support the promotion of Japan and U.S. relations in Hawaii. He served on various boards of prominent Japanese business organizations, including as Chairman of the Board of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce during its 100th anniversary year, Japan-American Society of Hawaii, the Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, Kuakini Health System, the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, Nippon Club and the United Japanese Society. He established the Japan Sports Fukiya Association in Hawaii and was its President from 2006. He was also the President of Hawaii Yamagata Kenjinkai from 2013 to 2021.

In 2014, Mr Saito received the Foreign Minister's Commendation from the Japanese Government for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendly relations between Japan and other countries through economic and technical cooperation, information and cultural activities to enhance international relations. In 2016, he received recognition from the Emperor of Japan, being awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette Medal.
Mr. Saito was a man of great stature and vision at CPB and played a key role in the growth of the company," said CPB Executive Chair Paul Yonamine "Perhaps his most important quality was the trust he had with employees and community leaders. His commitment to making Hawaii a better place was evident in everything he did. He will be missed."

Mr. Saito lived a long and fulfilling life as a successful businessman, an outstanding member of the community, and a loving family man. He was considerate and shared his experiences and knowledge with everyone he came into contact with. Throughout his illustrious career, he never forgot his humble beginnings.

He often spent his free time playing golf with his friends and family at the Waialae Country Club.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Yoko, his daughter Atsuko Saito (Nobuyuki Aoyagi), his son, Yutaka Saito (Ming Saito) and grandchildren Kristina Yumi Westerdahl (Ryan Westerdahl), Anthony Yuichi Saito and Justin Ryo Aoyagi, who now works for CPB, and great granddaughter Stella Mari Westerdahl.

A private family memorial gathering will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests donations be made to the CPB Foundation. For donation information please email:

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased