Bringing together FCU gives back | The garden island

LIHU’E – Even though Kaua’i residents missed Gather Federal Credit Union’s free COVID-19 CARES Act virtual seminar, financial advice is available to residents through their Certified Financial Advisor Rylen Yamamoto of Retirement Benefits Group.

The GFCU also helps the Kaua’i community in many other ways, including partnering to support community food deliveries and helping residents apply for grant programs.

Yamamoto hosted the free virtual seminar on Thursday for those interested in learning more about the rules and options of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act with respect to access to 401 (k) assets ( k) and IRA.

Stephenie Brown, GFCU’s business development manager, said Yamamoto will be available for future in-person financial advice “when the pandemic is over,” and that the information could be useful for those whose spouses have lost their jobs or for those who are unemployed and are considering using their retirement accounts.

“He will be traveling to Kaua’i from O’ahu to help our Kaua’i ‘ohana meet their financial goals (after the pandemic), but for now they can call him to inquire,” Brown said. .

Yamamoto said his goal was to create a friendly, pressure-free conversation to “help every individual achieve their financial goals.” and I have the ability to choose and strategize which investments are right for their goals.

“I grew up with both my parents, they were city and state employees. They did the right things, but there were much better ways to leverage or better use the resources they had, ”Yamamoto said, explaining that he wanted to help people make smarter decisions with their money. . “They might have felt they weren’t smart enough or didn’t have enough money to invest.”

The GFCU also supported the community through the Aina Ho’okupu O Kilauea, helping to pack and deliver boxes of community-supported agricultural products. This program, said Brown, started with boxes for six kupunas and has now grown to deliver CSA boxes to more than 120 kupunas per week.

“I helped my friend Megan Wong, who partnered with Neil Norman of Hawai’i Life and others from North Shore who donated to the CSA Project,” said Brown.

Brown said the GFCU is also helping its members by keeping their branches open, adding hours and getting creative with their resources.

“We have adapted to make our Lihu’e branch a temporary call center to accommodate our high volume of calls,” said Brown. “We have added kupuna reserved hours and extended the hours of operation of our drive-through ticket windows.”

The GFCU also successfully processed 125 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for a total distribution of $ 3.4 million. Applications are always accepted online at

The credit union is also one of four on Kaua’i helping residents apply for the recently announced Small Business Stimulus Grant program, funded by Kaua’i County’s share of federal CARES Act funding. .

Brown said that until the end of the year, the GFCU donates $ 2 to the Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce for each new membership.

“We recognize that funds are needed and we want to help,” Brown said. “On behalf of Gather FCU, we would like to send you a very special mahalo, our Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce, for your hard work and all you have done to keep us all informed.”

Over the past 20 years, the GFCU and its community members have contributed $ 429,663 in raised funds to the Wilcox Health Foundation, and last year they raised over $ 50,000 at their annual golf tournament. to support the creation of the Wilcox Hospitals Level III Trauma Center with specialized spaces for behavior health, infection control, pediatrics and OB-GYN care.

“This facility will be the first of its kind for Kaua’i,” said Brown.

Brown also said that last year GFCU staff donated more than 1,500 hours of unpaid community service.

“It’s who we are,” Brown said. “It reflects those who came before us.”

The GFCU plans to open new branches in Koloa in September behind the old Lappert’s Hawai’i ice cream shop, and in Kilauea through the post office by the end of this month, as well as the upcoming installation. the shared branch network, which gives members access to over 30,000 ATMs across the country and 6,000 participating branches at no cost to members.


Stephanie Shinno, reporting and community journalist, can be reached at 245-0424 or [email protected]

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