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Get into the financial spirit for the holidays


The holiday season is fast approaching, which means all those shopping deals are just around the corner. As you prepare your shopping and to-do lists, it makes sense to start thinking about your budget as well. A sound financial plan for the holidays will keep the season bright while eliminating the hassle and stress of paying for those new toys and projects.

For homeowners, one of the most convenient and flexible ways to tackle the holidays is with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). With property values across Oahu on the rise, it’s likely that homeowners can take advantage of the increased equity in their homes.

While HELOCs are commonly used for home improvement projects and private school or college tuition payments, many find it just as useful to pay for major holiday purchases, as well as to consolidate high-interest credit card bills after the holidays.

According to Derek Wong, vice president of Credit Products at First Hawaiian Bank, “A HELOC can provide homeowners with convenient access to funds that can be used during the holiday season — whether it’s to purchase big ticket items or for other spur-of-the-moment activities.”

Many shoppers anticipate the best deals of the year during the holiday season and often find good bargains on items for others, as well as for themselves. Perhaps you’re looking for a new refrigerator, a new smart TV and sound system, or even a new car. As a homeowner, using your home as collateral for new purchases can help you save more than using other loan products.

“A First Hawaiian Bank Equity FirstLine PlusSM features a low introductory rate and an option of a fixed rate locked in for a longer term, which is perfect for a wide range of uses for the holidays and throughout the year,” says Wong.

Gearing up for the holidays doesn’t always mean preparing for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Perhaps you need to complete a few home improvement projects in time to host your family holiday party, like a new patio or deck for entertaining? Or maybe you’re upgrading to a gourmet kitchen to show off your tastiest recipes? No matter what your needs are, a HELOC may be the right fit for you.

“Home equity is a smart source of untapped borrowing power since the interest rate is often lower than other unsecured loans and lines of credit. In most cases, the interest you pay is tax deductible. In addition, as your home value increases, so does your borrowing power. But you should consult with your tax advisor on your specific situation,” Wong adds.

Even if you don’t have any holiday purchases to make, projects to complete or other milestones on the horizon, a HELOC may still make sound financial sense.

Wong says, “A First Hawaiian Bank Equity First-Line Plus has a longer draw period than the other HELOCs in the market. This gives homeowners an added benefit of having the HELOC available for emergencies and unplanned events.

“It is nice to have peace of mind that you have a source of funds available when you need it,” he adds.

To get a head start on your holiday checklist with a home equity line of credit, talk to a personal banker at any First Hawaiian Bank branch or visit


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