In 1955, a group of civic-minded business people met at the old Kahului Store (also known as the Masonic building) for the purpose of forming a credit union to meet the financial needs of the people in Kahului. At the time, most credit unions were employer-based and there was no credit union in existence that could serve the rest of the community. The ground work was set and on August 3, 1955, twenty-two people attended a meeting at which Edward Davis, Reverend H.J. Eggleston, Kiyoshi Kamitake, Tetsuo Kawasaki, James Mizoguchi, Alan Sueda and Dr. Fumio Tsuji were elected as the credit union’s first Board of Directors. Soon afterward, the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions, now known as the National Credit Union Administration, officially granted Charter 10399 to the Kahului Community Federal Credit Union.
In the early years, the credit union had no official place to call home and could not afford to pay rent. Davis, the owner of Sue’s Stationary located in the Kahului Shopping Center, generously offered a corner space in his store, along with the use of a desk, rent free. The credit union bought its first piece of furniture - a 2 drawer metal file cabinet - to store records. Surprisingly, it is still being used at the credit union today.
The very first membership account was opened by Davis for his daughter, Susan. Her account is still open to this day.
A large deposit of $2,000 enabled the credit union to make its first loan to one of its members in the amount of $200.00. That was the first of 26,000+ loans that the credit union has granted to help members in need.
As the credit union grew, there was increasingly more work to be done. So in July 1956, Florence Hashimoto, wife of the Treasurer of the Board of Directors, Mutsuo Hashimoto, became the credit union’s first employee. Her position was Assistant to the Treasurer at a starting salary of $5.00 per month. Florence later became the credit union’s first manager. For 31 years she and Mutsuo would dedicate their lives to guiding the credit union through its difficult, fledgling years until their retirement in 1987.
By 1960, the credit union had grown to $100,000 in assets. By today’s standards it may not seem like much, but back then an amount of that size meant stability.
In May, 1960, a significant event occurred which helped the credit union grow. There was no credit union in Paia and the area was too small to support one on its own. So Tadayoshi Tamasaka, representing the Paia Business Association, asked that Paia residents be allowed to join this credit union. On August 9, 1960, the Kahului Community FCU was granted an expansion to its field of membership to include the Kuau, Upper and Lower Paia, and Spreckelsville areas.
In 1968 a milestone was reached. The credit union with such humble beginnings had grown to $1 million dollars in asset size.
It wasn’t until 1970 that the credit union finally found a permanent home. It joined with HC&S FCU, now known as the Valley Isle Community FCU, to build a structure that would be shared by both at the current site at 25 West Kamehameha Avenue.
Since the credit union had expanded to serve several communities, the Board of Directors submitted a request for a name change, and in September 1971, the credit union officially became the “Kahului Federal Credit Union”.
From 1955 through 1971, all transactions, accounting records and dividend calculations were done manually. Florence and Mutsuo would take an adding machine home to calculate dividends and the resulting account balances through the night to complete the books by the required deadline. Then in 1972, the credit union moved into the electronic data processing age. Every few days, handwritten transaction receipts were delivered to a third party vendor for processing. Two days later computerized printouts with account balances were delivered to the credit union. It was a major technological advancement!
By 1980, when the credit union celebrated its 25th anniversary, it had reached $5,000,000 in assets. After that, growth was rapid. In 1983 an extension to the building was added to increase office and lobby space. The need to process work more efficiently and quickly prompted a conversion to online computers. The services of Cunadata were contracted to provide real time transactions and up to date balances. By 1985, the credit union’s asset size had doubled to $10,000,000.
HC&S FCU eventually outgrew their space and in April 1994 moved to another location. By that time, Kahului FCU’s size had almost tripled, reaching $29,000,000, so the vacated space presented a golden opportunity for expansion. The remaining half of the building was purchased and a major renovation began to consolidate the two offices into one. In December 1995, the credit union had a grand re-opening of its newly renovated office as you see it today.
Our credit union, which has grown to exceed $50,000,000 in assets and almost 5,000 members, would not be here today were it not for the spirit and dedication of our non-compensated volunteers who made - and continue to make - the Kahului Federal Credit Union a community’s success story.
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