Executive named ‘Credit Union Rock Star’

The Hawaii Credit Union League announces that Hawaii First Federal Credit Union President/CEO Laura Aguirre of Waimea has been named a credit union rock star by Credit Union Magazine. The full list of rock stars and their stories was published in a special bonus issue released to subscribers on Oct. 17, International Credit Union Day.

For the past several months, Credit Union Magazine subscribers have taken the time to nominate their colleagues for rock star recognition. Forty-eight rock stars were selected based on their passion and drive to put bright ideas into action and champion the credit union ideal of “people helping people.”

Laura Aguirre had a humble upbringing involving public assistance and the fear of homelessness. As a result, she understands — perhaps more than most — how encouragement and kindness can change lives.

“Fortunately, one day I landed in the credit union world” after a 15-year banking career, Aguirre says. “I absolutely fell in love with the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people.’ Everywhere I looked I saw people who reminded me of how I grew up.”

As president/CEO of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union in Waimea, Aguirre was determined” and “empowered” to help underserved, low-income, and native communities.

Aguirre pushed her credit union to obtain a low-income designation and Native Community Development Financial Institution certification. She also created a 501(c)3 arm of the credit union to serve the residents of the Big Island who were predominantly low-income and Native Hawaiian. The Hawaii First Community Resource Center offers free access to job-seeking assistance, credit and debt management, one-on-one financial counseling, and financial education workshops.

In 2009, The Resource Center was the recipient of a first place award in CUNA’s Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility and was recognized at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Since then, a second Resource Center has been established in Hilo.

“Laura is truly deserving of rock star recognition, as her leadership has been instrumental in advancing financial literacy on Hawaii island,” noted Hawaii Credit Union League President Dennis Tanimoto. “Her initiative to open two community resource centers in communities served by Hawaii First Federal Credit Union is emblematic of Laura’s commitment to the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people.’ I admire her vision and dedication.”

Following the success of this year’s rock star project, Credit Union Magazine will name another round of rock stars in 2014. Additionally, the magazine’s special International Credit Union Day rock star edition will become an annual release. Nominations for next year’s rock stars will be accepted throughout the year.

Visit creditunionmagazine.com/rockstar to order additional copies of the .rock star issue and to receive additional rock star coverage, including online-exclusive stories and photos.

The Hawaii Credit Union League is the trade association representing credit unions in Hawaii and Guam. The nonprofit organization provides advocacy, education and support to its member credit unions.

Hawaii First FCU has been serving its community for over 50 years, with branches in Waimea and Hilo. Its mission statement is “Empowering Our Community by Serving Hawaii First!” and it strives to provide exceptional financial services to meet the long-term financial needs of its individual members.


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