LIHU‘E — “Everything is so wide open,” said Tess Shimabukuro, president and CEO of Gather Federal Credit Union, of the credit union’s new Walmart branch Monday morning.
“We designed this so it would be part of the customer flow into the Walmart store.”
There was little fanfare when Justin Ganaden slid open the roll-away doors that separate the credit union from the shopping space.
“We just want to get the feel of things,” said Gather FCU Marketing Manager Terri Kaniho. “We’ll have the big grand opening later in April. Watch for it.”
Located across the aisle from the Walmart service desk, the Gather FCU branch is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Richel Gusman is the Walmart branch manager, juggling duties between the Walmart and Koloa branches. During the interim, Joni Trinidad is the acting branch manager for the staff of two employees, Kaniho said.
The opening of the Walmart branch offers a full range of services for members and comes following the close in late February of the Lihu‘e branch that was located across from the State Building on Hardy Street. The opening also marks the first credit union on the island to open inside a retail establishment with longer operating hours.
“This is a convenient location for many of our members,” Shimabukuro said on announcing the new branch. “We hope it will give even more people the opportunity to join the Gather FCU family.”
Special incentives for new members were previously published in TGI, and Gather FCU Marketing Department staff offered small celebratory appreciation gifts to people stepping in to experience the new branch.
Gather Federal Credit Union was started in 1954 when 10 pineapple farmers gathered to pool their resources for lending to purchase heavy equipment for their farms.
Today, Gather FCU has grown to service more than 36,000 members on Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau with assets of more than $640 million, and combined membership savings totaling more than $575 million.
Gather FCU is the largest neighbor island credit union, with branches in Kapa‘a, Kukui Grove West, Koloa, ‘Ele‘ele, Waimea and Walmart.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island