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New Hawaii CDCU center to assist native communities
HILO, Hawaii (11/21/11)--Hawaii First FCU blessed its second Community Resource Center on the Big Island of Hawaii Nov. 10. The center, which opened Nov. 14, will use funds from the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund  and  a loan from the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions to assist native communities.

Terri J. Fowlkes, left, director of community development investments at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, attended a blessing ceremony for Hawaii First FCU's second Community Resource Center with Laura Aguirre, president/CEO of the credit union.
The new center, located next door to the community development credit union's (CDCU)  Hilo branch,  provides no-cost resources to any resident in the County of Hawaii.

It will offer financial education, including personal money management, debt solutions and credit repair; Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for home purchase, higher education or financing a small business; assistance to job seekers and employment training; small business startup assistance and development; and foreclosure prevention assistance.

It also will have a computer lab and a resource library open to the community.

"We couldn't have done this without the continued support of the CDFI Fund, the
Hawaii First FCU staff are shown with local religious leader, Kumu Koh'okele Crabbe (center) after a blessing ceremony for the credit union's new Community Resource Center. (Photos provided by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions).
National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs," said Hawaii First FCU President/CEO Laura Aguirre. She noted the resources the center will provide "are critical tools to help our members and our community to get ahead, and it is comforting to know that community members will not have to travel such long distances to access these vital services."

Terri J. Fowlkes, federation director of community development investments, attended the blessing ceremony, which was conducted by Kumu Koh'okele Crabbe, a local religious leader.

"With Hawaiian communities facing crippling unemployment due to a decline in tourism, gentrification of native communities and rising housing costs that often displace Native Hawaiians, Hawaii First FCU and the Hawaii First Community Resource Centers have never been needed more," said Fowlkes.

The $40 million asset CDCU opened its first Community Resource Center in Kamuela in 2008, also with a CDFI Fund award. The new center uses CDFI Fund awards plus the proceeds from a secondary capital loan from the federation.
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