Laura Aguirre

PODCAST: Small CUs can have a big impact

Once homeless, this CU president/CEO deeply understands the value of kindness.

December 22, 2016

On a daily basis, Laura Aguirre demonstrates the significant impact a smaller credit union can have on its community.

As the president/CEO of $38 million asset Hawaii First Federal Credit Union in Kamuela, a community development credit union dedicated to serving low-income and native communities, she goes the extra mile for members.

Aguirre’s upbringing included public assistance and homelessness. As a result, Aguirre understands, perhaps more than most, how encouragement and kindness can change lives.

After a successful career in banking, Laura moved to Hawaii in 1992. Everywhere she looked, she saw people who reminded her of how she grew up.

She was determined to help underserved, low-income, and native communities. And the credit union afforded her the opportunity to serve.

“Community development credit unions are so much more than financial institutions,” she says.

Aguirre’s work as a champion for her members earned her the 2016 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award--the highest honor given by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

We spoke with Aguirre shortly after she was honored at CUNA’s Community Credit Union Conference, held in conjunction with The Federation’s annual meeting last month (Read Credit Union Magazine’s conference coverage).

During her acceptance speech, Aguirre acknowledged Western CUNA Management School and financial counseling training for contributing to her credit union’s success.

In addition to receiving the Annie Vamper award, Aguirre was also recognized as a Credit Union Rock Star by Credit Union Magazine in 2013.

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