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KGEFCU opens Kilauea Branch

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Chantal Zarbaugh and Monica Belz of the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union use special gloves to inspect the Kaua‘i pohaku used to make poi. The artifacts were delivered to the Kilauea Branch by the Kaua‘i Museum where they will be exhibited in specially-created cases.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Local wood form the desktop of the teller station at the KGEFCU Kilauea Branch where teller Ave Saldana does her work, Tuesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    “I love this crew,” said Monica Belz, president and CEO of the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union’s Kilauea Branch lineup that includes Lina Ikimaka, Maile Bernades, Ave Saldana, Sean Kaley, and branch manager Brandon Sassone.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kilauea artist Maxine Longoria presents a creation to Monica Belz and Chantal Zarbaugh of the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union, Tuesday at the KGEFCU Kilauea Branch. The creation will be given away to a random drawing of new members as part of the branch’s opening celebration.

KILAUEA — The only financial institution to offer Saturday hours on the North Shore (for now) opened its doors for business, Monday when the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union, Kilauea Branch unlocked its entry at the Ahuiman Shopping Center.

The KGEFCU Kilauea Branch hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We know the hard-working community of the north shore cannot always do their banking on weekdays, so we are committed to opening on Saturdays to help service the North Shore community on the weekend,” said Sean Kaley, the executive vice president of KGEFCU. “We’re located in the new Ahuimanu center, across Lighthouse Road to the Kong Lung Shopping Center, and close to the new Java Kai Cafe. It is important that our north shore community understand the importance of keeping out money on Kaua‘i and the power of banking local.”

The new branch in Kilauea, a full-service financial institution, features a 40-foot mural painted by Kilauea artist Maxine Longoria and keiki from the north shore.

“As north shore’s only credit union, we created the Kilauea Branch to embody our model of banking local and ensuring local resources recirculate back into this community,” said Monica Belz, KGEFCU’s CEO. “The North Shore community owns this branch, will grow this branch, and reap the benefits of this community-owned credit union branch.”

The KGEFCU Kilauea Branch was built by John Snyder of Kilauea, and framing the mural, is a one-of-a-kind, raw-edge Monkey Pod built-in bar. Belz said the monkeypod material and services were locally sourced from the north shore and carries over to the teller stations.

“The mural is about togetherness, bringing in the community to continue to grow, and teach the next generation,” said Longoria who worked on the mural for about a month to complete it. “The inspiration came from the credit union’s compelling story. I took what I heard and represented those feelings into art.”

Longoria also contributed a piece of artwork that will be given away to a random drawing of new members signing up at the Kilauea Branch as part of the opening celebration.

“When you walk into our branch, it’s not a normal banking experience,” said Chantal Zarbaugh the KGEFCU business development director. “It’s more of a cultural experience connecting the past and present with our North Shore community. We invite everyone to come in for a personal mural-story tour. This branch is historic for the north shore community and comes at a time when we need it most.”

Brandon Sassone is the KGEFCU Kilauea Branch Manager and leads a crew that includes Kaley, Lina Ikimaka, Maile Bernades, and Ave Saldana.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

3 Comments
  1. kauaiboy September 3, 2020 7:47 am Reply

    Is it the Ahuiman or the Ahuimanu Shopping Center? C’mon TGI, Proofread your writing!

    Ahuimanu is Hawaiian for “a gathering place for the people.” Thus far, it has become obvious that the center was built primarily for tourist traffic, NOT as a “gathering place” for the average resident of the Kilauea community. “Upscale does not benefit the average Joe”

    The fact that this center was green-lit prior to a connector road being built from the highway near Anaina Hou to Lighthouse Road is a travesty. When the tourists return to Kauai, Koko Road to Lighthouse Road to the shopping center site will become a log jam for years to come.


  2. Lannie Hill September 3, 2020 11:16 am Reply

    Serve free fried chicken every day until the supply runs out.


  3. Jill Lowry September 4, 2020 8:05 pm Reply

    Welcome to the neighborhood Monica, Chantal, Brandon, and others! You guys rock. Anaina Hou Community Park appreciates your support of the Social Awareness Fill Festival we were able to debut minutes before COVID hit. More importantly, I’ve heard so many stories of how you guys take care of community families. Keep up the good work!


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