KGEFCU shortens name to Kaua‘i Federal Credit Union

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Federal Credit Union vice president Sean Kaley, Christian Iloreta, Seungjoon Lee, and Maureen Valdez invite people to get the Turkish Beach Towel for a donation to the food bank at the newly-logo-ed Lihu‘e Branch.

LIHU‘E — Beginning Monday, the Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union will simply be known as the Kaua‘i Federal Credit Union.

“We’ve learned over the past few decades that KGEFCU can be hard to say and hard to remember,” CEO and President Monica Belz said in a news release. “While government employees will always be central to our mission, we serve all of Kaua‘i and everyone can be eligible to join.”

First founded in 1947 as the Kaua‘i T&C (Territory and County) Federal Credit Union, the credit union had a hand in financing some of the island’s first police cars. Known for its commitment to serving kupuna and legacy members, the credit union has continued to grow to include new members and strengthen its core base of government employees with new services and products.

Over the years, this commitment has translated to a vibrant model of ‘ohana-based banking that starts with their first $25 deposits.

Kaua‘i FCU has been nationally recognized as a strong disaster relief partner, joining forces with essential service workers to come to the aid of the North Shore in 2018 with mobile banking solutions, transporting food and supplies in dry packs on jet skis.

Kaua‘i’s historic flooding in 2018, followed by a global pandemic and more recently the Hanalei Hill landslide, have underlined the vital importance of essential service providers. Kaua‘i FCU has a history of working in partnership with the police, firefighters, EMT’s and the county to deploy disaster relief quickly.

“We show up,” Business Development Office Chantal Zarbaugh said. “Working together defines who we are as a financial institution.”

Kaua‘i FCU opened the first North Shore credit union branch in Kilauea in 2020, which has attracted over 700 new members and pop-up branches across the island and has attracted young families to its progressive community development programs.

Kaua‘i FCU is also the county’s first credit union to become a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) under the U.S. Treasury Department in December 2020.

“CDFI opens up a lifeline of federal funding for Kaua‘i,” Belz said. “This model of financing is focused on social impacts and aligns with our mission of putting people over profit.”

As a credit union and not a bank, Kaua‘i FCU reinvests profits back into the community, as opposed to shareholders, with a commitment to creating a resilient, thriving local economy. It’s an evolution of Kaua‘i’s hukilau tradition. Everyone contributes, everyone benefits.

Housing stability is a key priority for 2022.

Earlier this month, Kaua‘i FCU announced that $11.5 million in rental and utility assistance has been deployed since May to 1300 Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau households assisted under Kaua‘i’s 2021 Coronavirus Rental and Utility Assistance (CRUA) Program.

Over the course of the pandemic, the credit union has partnered with community agencies, foundations, county, state and federal funders to deploy over $24.2 million in rent relief, paycheck protection and small business grants.

“We are excited about the future,” Belz said. “We are living out our DNA as a credit union and attracting young families with our commitment to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive economy.”

Kaua‘i Federal Credit Union. Easier to say. Easier to Bank. Invested in all of Kaua‘i.

For more information: Kaua‘i Federal Credit Union: (808) 245-2463, kauaicreditunion.org.

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