Branch Banking Client

Lamont Brown

Maya’s Tapas & Wine LLC

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Lamont Brown: Maya’s Tapas & Wine is a small, family-owned neighborhood restaurant that I opened in 2018. Our emphasis is providing the community a place to celebrate and have a good time without having to worry about driving into town.

When my wife and I first moved to the North Shore it happened to be on our wedding anniversary. We wanted to have a nice, quiet dinner, but we didn’t feel there was someplace we could sit down and do so. So when it was time to open the restaurant that was one of the things I kept in mind.

I named the restaurant after my daughter, Maya, my first-born child. I named the restaurant after my daughter so that I wouldn’t forget to run the restaurant with the same standards that I want to raise her with, and want her to grow into and believe in. It was very important for me to put her name out there so that when times get tough, I can remind myself that it’s her name up there, not mine, and remind myself of the standards that I want her to live up to: “Never give up and give it your all in whatever it is you do.”

I’ve been a customer of Bank of Hawaii since I first moved to Hawaii 12 years ago. Then when we moved to the North Shore, I got to know the staff here at the Haleiwa Branch. It was a no-brainer when the business opportunity came up that I wanted to bank with Bank of Hawaii.

I work mostly with Haleiwa Branch Manager Joni Pupu and Assistant Branch Manager James Kumura, and I can’t thank the branch staff enough. There was a time when I had to deal with fraud, someone taking money out of my account, and they made me feel so secure. They let me know that fraud happens across the U.S. and the world, and the way they took care of me and walked me through resolving the issue is what made it so special.

The most important thing to me is family and being safe and secure. Joni and James, along with the rest of the BOH staff, have taken the stress out of being a first-time homeowner, as well as taking out a loan to open up the business, and then further as a first-time business owner. I’ve done all these things with help from BOH. They’ve made it so seamless that they allow me to not think about the banking aspects of playing all those roles.

When taking out the loan for the business, they held my hand throughout the process. Never having been a business owner before, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I had a lot of questions and, of course, my wife, who has more of the financial experience in our family, also had a lot of questions. So, when we went into the branch and sat down together with Joni, she made it easy to understand what we were getting into with the loan, how we were going to make the payments, and so on.

BOH also helped me with the PPP loan, which was a flawless process. Anytime I had a question for Joni or James about the loan, I would ask them at the branch. And if they didn’t have an answer, by the time I got back to the restaurant I would have an email from them with an update.

To me, BOH stands for family, ‘ohana. I see how all the staff members greet everyone by name—not just me—and make them feel welcome and at ease. Sometimes we go into the bank to deal with difficult situations, but they always seem to find a way to take care of us and make us feel like family.

In the same way that BOH treats everyone like family, I think it’s important that everyone in the community step forward whenever that community is in need. When COVID hit and everything was shut down, many people were worried. But I had that sense of comfort knowing that wewere a local restaurant and the community was going to show up to support us, and they did. As a business owner we’re only allowed to operate because the community has our back, and I was glad to help support the volunteers doing the clean up after the flooding in Haleiwa in March 2021. If it wasn’t for the community, we wouldn’t be here today. Therefore, it was, and still is, very important to give back to the community.

Bank of Hawaii has allowed me to live my dreams of owning a home and opening a business. They’ve not only allowed me to live these dreams, but they’ve also made it very easy to do so, especially as a firsttimer who didn’t know what he was getting into. BOH has made me feel so comfortable, it doesn’t make sense for me to bank anywhere else.

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