Helen Okajima’s history in banking dates back to the early1980s, when she earned her college tuition by working as a teller for the then-Chemical Bank in Manhattan. Little did she know that the Chase Bank she visited in Jackson Heights, Queens, N.Y., with her dad when she was 6 would one day be her employer.

Okajima says her earliest memories of banking were of “being awestruck.” A bank was a place that her dad, an immigrant and an entrepreneur, would go to deposit monies made in the business and a place where very important people sat behind very big desks. Banking has changed since those early years.

After graduating from Columbia University with a degree in Asian studies, Helen continued her career at Chemical Bank, completing both the Retail Training and Credit Training programs. Her roles included branch manager, credit analyst, and middle market relationship manager in the Brooklyn and Queens markets.

As she took on more challenging roles with the bank, Okajima became a consultant to start-up businesses in Manhattan, working with aspiring entrepreneurs to develop their business plans and find access to capital and financing. She was then a product manager for the SBA Program and traditional credit products at JPMorgan Chase. Finally she returned to the role she loved the most, working directly with business owners as a business banker in New Jersey.

“I strive to become a trusted advisor to my clients,” Okajima said. “As a banker, I’ve had clients seek my advice on their plans to acquire another business; on the steps needed to take the business to the next level; and for honest, frank advice on how to improve their chances to qualify for financing. That defines my relationship with clients — I endeavor to provide my expertise so they can flourish.”

Okajima, who has lived in New Jersey for more than 18 years, came to PNC Bank in Princeton a year ago as a business banker in Mercer County, finally working in the neighborhood that she calls home.

“What I like about PNC is its local presence. The fact that my clients get all the benefits of a large commercial bank combined with a local community bank experience, it’s a perfect combination,” she added. “We’re involved in the community, and that makes a difference.”

Okajima is an advocate for her clients because she works to understand their goals and their challenges. She’s not a “product pusher,” but a “solution-finder.”

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management, and global fund services.

For more information about PNC Bank or how Okajima can offer her assistance, contact her at 609-497-6710.

PNC Bank, Nassau Street Branch. 76 Nassau Street, Princeton. 609-497-6710. helen.okajima@pnc.com, www.pnc.com.

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