LIHUE — “What is this about a ‘gather-ing?’” Darnell Aquino said Saturday at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.
The question took place during a luncheon which preceded the announcement of the name change and re-branding for the Kauai Community Federal Credit Union at its 64th annual membership meeting.
The announcement was completed when Tess Shimabukuro, the Gather Federal Credit Union president and CEO, instructed staff and leaders to remove their name tags revealing the new name.
“We’re still the same people,” said Gather FCU board president Walton Hong. “We still have the same benefits. We may change the name, but our values are still the same — when we gather, we grow.”
Hong said the new name prepares the credit union for future growth. The name change took effect March 10.
“The acronym KCFCU was difficult to say, and ‘Kauai’ was a source of confusion,” he said. “People were confusing us with businesses and other financial institutions with similar names.”
Gather Federal Credit Union symbolizes the past, present, and prepares the credit union for the future.
“In 1954, 10 pineapple farmers gathered with a vision of helping farmers,” Hong said. “From their $595, the credit union has grown to where we have 35,000 members with assets totaling more than half a billion dollars. We will continue to grow, and like a plant, we need to spread our branches. The new logo represents the pineapple top as a symbol of growth and prosperity.”
Shimabukuro said the start of the credit union was based on the tanomoshi practice by Japanese immigrants when they arrived in Hawaii to labor on the plantations.
“Gather celebrates our members,” Shimabukuro said. “From the time the 10 farmers gathered to form the credit union, as more people gathered, the credit union grew to where we are, and the more we gather, we grow.”
Shimabukuro said the credit union has not been bought or sold. There will be no interruption of service as the transition to the new name takes place over the next six to eight months. Phone numbers to the different branches and main branch will remain the same as will the operating hours and relevant member information.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.