Hawaii First CEO Receives National Honor for Community Development

Laura Aguirre, president and CEO of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, received the 2016 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award during the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. This award is the highest honor given by the Federation to community development credit union staff and volunteers.

Laura Aguirre, president and CEO of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, received the 2016 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award.

Laura Aguirre, president and CEO of Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, received the 2016 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award.

Under Aguirre’s Leadership, Hawaii First has received five Community Development Financial Institution awards totaling $3.3 million. These federal dollars allow Hawaii First to provide financial services in low-income communities and to those who lack access to financing.

The credit union also operates two Hawaii First Community Resource Centers and has provided 3,600 East and West Hawaii residents with financial counseling, career resources, tax preparation and more.

“Laura is one of the most caring people dedicated to helping the underserved that I know. It has been an honor to be a part of her team,” said Diane Guidry, Hawaii First board chairperson. “We are always looking for better ways to help our community. Laura shares with her staff so that they all can make a difference, one person at a time, to be the best they can be and achieve their dreams.”

Today, Hawaii First has assets of $42 million. From 2012 to 2016, the credit union’s assets and loans have grown 21% and 23%, respectively, and provided more than $60 million in loans to members.

The Federation is a certified CDFI intermediary representing community development credit unions. The Helping Hands Award was created in 1993 in honor of Annie Vamper, a national advocate for consumer education and cooperation among low-income people until her death in 1990.

Hawaii First’s previous honors with the Federation include the 2009 Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility, the Circle of Honor Leadership Award from the Opportunity Finance Network in 2014, and the 2016 National Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action.

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