Mr. Aisek is a Chuukese citizen. He graduated from Xavier High School in 2000. He received his degree at Chaminade University of Honolulu in Business Management & Environmental Studies in 2004. He is an entrepreneur in money transmittal for the state of Chuuk, for citizens living in Honolulu Hawaii.
The Fourth Branch interviews Midasy Junior Aisek, the vice president of Deal Fair Hawaii, a money sending business in Honolulu.The interviewer from the Fourth Branch is Russell Thoulag.
Provided is Mr. Aisek's audio recorded interview. (We apologize for the ambient noise.)
Below is the written transcript of the audio recording.
TFB = This is Russell Thoulag here with the Fourth Branch, why don’t you introduce yourself.
DFH = Oh, I’m, Midasy Junior Aisek, the vice-president of Deal Fair Hawaii enterprises, [a] money service business.
TFB = ok, so we have a number of questions from ourselves and some of the people out there. First of all, you said you’re the vice president and… I’m just going to assume that you have a board that you report to. Who is on this board?
DFH= yeah, we have a… s’pose to be six members on the board, but right now, it’s just consisting of my father: Midasy Aisek, myself, my sister: Rowena Aisek, also my mom, Rosario Aisek. But we, in 2011 we are, changing… the board members so, it’s reduced to just myself and my dad but it hasn’t been official yet.
TFB = Ok, how many employees do you have on payroll, ‘t the store today?
DFH= Yeah, currently we have… four, yeah just four people including myself. Two… clerks or, assistants and my mother, my mom [who] takes care of all our books. And myself.
TFB = All right, if you don’t mind me asking this is one of the questions posted from our, viewers and readers. What’s the annual revenue of the business?
DFH = [laughs] the annual revenue for the business, we, we really don’t want to say anything about that but, I,I can tell you that we do know that in Hawaii, in Hawaii there are, there’s around 3 to 4 million that actually go into Chuuk, from Hawaii, and yeah, that’s all I can say about that [laughs].
TFB = OK, well on that note, what islands do you operate in or states back home?
DFH = Our money service business is actually, probably the smallest in Hawaii, and probably in Chuuk also ‘cuz we only have one location here in Honolulu and one location in Weno, Chuuk. Yeah.
TFB = All right, as a business owner, a Micronesian business owner, what do you think needs to be done in the islands to improve its economy?
DFH = Ah! [sighs] Man.
TFB = [laughs] big question?
DFH = Yeah, that is a big question… there’s a… personally I think there’s, a lot of things that… needs to be done, has to be done but… I think it’s just, too big a question for me to answer just in one [laughs] small tape.
TFB = all right let’s see, you mentioned earlier that, yes that Deal Fair Hawaii is a money sending business. Are you affiliated with Western Union or MoneyGram or any other U.S. corporation?
DFH = Actually, Deal Fair Hawaii is [an] independently, licensed money transmitter, so we’re not affiliated with any other businesses. Actually we have… the authority, or the power to kind o’ grant other, persons that want to be agents for us. Then they can start their own businesses as money transmitters, but as our agents…
TFB = So…
DFH = …which is better.
TFB = Potentially, you have, the ability to have a chain of…
DFH= Yeah we, we can have a chain its just… right now we’re still pretty new. And we’re still learning about all these regulations and the laws so… the size that we have right now is, is ideal…
TFB = ok…
DFH = … to learn
TFB = For the people back home who are interested in starting their own, or maybe even becoming your agents, what are some of the requirements necessary to start your own M.S.B.?
DFH = If you, the easiest way is to be an agent. Which, you just go to a company that’s licensed. And you fill out a contract as an agent. And that’s the easiest way you can do ‘cuz all you have to worry about is, collection of the money, following the procedures that the company has to give you, [their] guidelines. And, yeah you just, you can… you can actually earn a pretty good living off o’ that but if you want to control your own fees, control, your hours, and… all other aspects of your business, then it would be better to… get a license but you have to get a license from the federal government, as well as the state government and you have to be audited every year by the federal government and the sate government which is pretty tedious. And also, it’s just pretty… hectic, but… it, it pays off in the long run.
TFB = Are there any future plans to open up…
DFH = yeah we…
TFB =… endorse agents, in other states in the F.S.M. or Micronesia?
DFH = Right now were just, talking about it, planning, but… I’m not sure if it’s gonna be anytime soon within the year but, we’ll see about next year.
TFB = Are there any… pieces of advice or pearls of wisdom for, any small or big business owners back home…
DFH = Ah…
TFB = …opening, or are interested in starting businesses here?
DFH = In Hawaii, well the, the one lesson that we… we had, we learned, and it’s most important to me I think is, just make sure that when you open a business, you… you know what you’re doing [laughs]… legally. And you have a business plan. Because, there are so many, it’s so different opening a business in the United States then it is in F.S.M. because, there’re just so many regulations and so many rules and laws that you have to follow… that you just have to do your research first before you actually do it.
TFB = Do you feel that, sometimes following culture, interferes with businesses back home?
DFH = If, If you want a successful… western [laughs] business, yes it really does. I’ve known a couple people that, by following… by following our culture, their businesses close. Because of… just a, you know you have obligations to your families and friends. Culturally you are obligated to, maybe help them or, you know things like that and it, it does get in the way.
TFB = So, what are your feelings on that, like, should you try to shed some of that culture to make your business better or, is there some balance that can be struck?
DFH = I think, there is a balance. But you have to… there can be a balance. But, it has to be a balance between yourself and your family and your, your community. Because you can’t do it on your own, usually if you try to do it on your own, you might get shun by your… not just your community but your family. So, there has to be some sort of, agreement or balance between… between the… you, your family and the community in order to really succeed.
TFB = Do you feel like businesses, back home interact and support communities as much, like out here?
DFH = Support businesses here in Hawaii?
TFB = like, businesses here in the United States. When they interact with their community, like doing community outreach. Do you think, do you feel like that’s the way they do it back home, or if they do it at all?
DFH = Oh, I really haven’t … I haven’t seen any businesses that do that back home. Maybe, maybe there are but I just don’t know about it, and that would be a, a really good thing, ‘cuz… yeah, like how you see a lot of big corporations here that do community outreach, it helps bind their business to the community and that’s how you get loyal customers and, and that ‘s how they keep coming back to you, and yeah that’ll be a really good idea for the businesses in F.S.M. to, to try to do. Yeah, I’m not sure if there’s actually anybody but, I’d like to know if there are.
TFB = Small businesses, private businesses are probably one of the biggest economical forces back home. How do you think they’re doing?
DFH = Ah… well… from what I see in, in Chuuk alone, ‘cuz that’s usually where I, that’s where I grew up, that’s where I go. The private sector hasn’t been doing so well. But I still have hope, that they will eventually improve... Not sure if there’s anything that can be done by the government but, you see the… what I believe in is, a business can survive without, without full support of the government. As long as they have the will and the… the support of the community I guess then I, I think they can survive. They can, they can do much better.
TFB= Ok, one last question then we can wrap up. Where do you see Deal Fair Hawaii 10 years from now?
DFH = Well, hopefully we, branch out to all the other neighboring islands, and we can, put a stamp out there in the Pacific, in ten years [laughs]
TFB = [laughs] All right well, thank you very much. Once again this is Russell, with Jay Aisek. Fourth Branch.