Hawaii obtains community development financial institution

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A beach on the island of Kauaʻi Island. (Source: Shutterstock)

The U.S. Treasury Department has certified the Kaua’i Government Employee Federal Credit Union as Hawaii’s 12th Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Lihu’e’s KGEFCU ($ 125.9 million in assets, 7,226 members) is the premier CDFI on the island of Kauaʻi, which is Hawaii’s fourth largest island, covering 562 square miles. Its population in 2010 was 66,921 and its largest city, Kapa’a, is about 120 miles northwest of Honolulu.

President / CEO Monica Belz said that CDFI certification, offered to underserved communities across America, significantly unlocks access to new capital to support recovery and innovation on Kaua’i.

“We are developing a tremendous set of tools to develop new businesses, recirculating money locally to create a more diverse economy,” Belz said. “By developing a more equitable system of access to capital, we are ensuring that local talent can flourish and that Kauai’s children can stay at home or return home for meaningful jobs.

“We are living a real moment of maturity for the credit union movement,” she said. “I truly believe in the power of our DNA to disrupt the financial sector around the world as we rebuild the economy together.”

In 2021, KFGECU will release a series of short videos featuring stories of resilience and recovery in Kauai. Belz said the stories show “the fearless spirit of local entrepreneurs who are working tirelessly in the wake of the pandemic to keep the tradition alive, support the community and forge a new future for the island.”

The Trump administration has called for the elimination of the CDFI program in each of its budgets.

However, President-elect Joe Biden made a firm commitment to supporting CDFIs in December when Treasury Secretary-designate Janet Yellen met with representatives of CDFIs and minority depositories, including two CEOs of credit unions.

During the conference call, Yellen acknowledged the role of CDFIs and MDIs in providing banking services to unbanked and underbanked communities. She said she would ensure an efficient distribution of $ 9 billion in stimulus funds for a new emergency capital investment program and $ 3 billion for the CDFI fund.

Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has granted more than $ 3.9 billion to community development organizations and financial institutions, and has guaranteed more than $ 1.7 billion in bonds under the program. CDFI bond guarantee. It also allocated tax credits for new markets intended to attract private sector investment.

As of December 16, 2020, there were 11 CDFIs in Hawaii, including four credit unions. With the addition of the Kaua’i Government Employees Federal Credit Union, the five credit union CDFIs have $ 610.3 million in assets and 50,753 members. The other four are:

  • Hawaii Federal Credit Union, Honolulu ($ 99.1 million in assets, 13,225 members)
  • Molokai Community Federal Credit Union, Kaunakakai ($ 30.8 million in assets, 4,090 members)
  • Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, Kamuela ($ 42.3 million in assets, 8,388 members)
  • Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union, Honolulu ($ 312.2 million in assets, 17,824 members)


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