Credit unions extend support to those affected by Maui wildfires

The wildfires’ death toll has risen to 110, with over 1,000 people still missing

The credit union movement is stepping up to support communities affected by devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii.

Maui County officials report that the fire which tore through Maui’s historic coastal town Lahaina had burned an estimated 2,170 acres and was 85% contained on Tuesday night.

According to the US Fire Administration and CNN analysis, the Lahaina fire is now the deadliest in more than a century. Hawaii governor Josh Green said in a news conference on Wednesday (16 August) that the wildfires’ death toll has risen to 110, with over 1,000 people still missing. Today the the death toll stands at 115.

Over 2,200 buildings are reported to have been destroyed or damaged, with 86% of those being residential buildings. 

Maui is home to 12 credit unions, supporting more than 30,000 members. The Hawai’i Credit Union League (HCUL) is assessing the fire’s impact on these credit unions and their members, while Maui County Federal Credit Union has confirmed “all employees are safe and accounted for”.

The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) is supporting the charitable arm of the US credit union movement, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), in encouraging credit unions around the world to donate to NCUF’s disaster relief grant program, CUAid. CUAid provides relief to credit union employees, volunteers and communities affected by disasters.

NCUF says it is working directly with HCUL president Carol Marx and Maui credit unions to “get disaster relief funds flowing”.

Related: How the co-op movement steps up when disaster strikes

“In times of crisis, credit unions respond and leverage our principle of “Concern for Community” with tangible resources and volunteer support where needed. I’m confident the global credit union community will rally behind our friends in Hawaii and show solidarity of support,” said executive director of WFCU, Mike Reuter.

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union (FCU), which has two locations on Maui, is offering an emergency financial assistance program for its members affected by the wildfires, which includes loan payment deferrals, low-rate personal loans, and waived early withdrawal fees for term shares. 

It is also running a virtual fundraiser for the Maui Food Bank, seeking donations from its employees, members and the public.

“Our thoughts remain with the Maui community and those who have suffered any loss as a result of this devastating tragedy,” said Andrew Rosen, CEO of Hawaii State FCU. 

“We are committed to supporting the recovery efforts and will be helping in any way we can through donations to the Maui Food Bank and by offering emergency financial assistance to our members in need. We understand the difficulties many members are facing, and we are fully committed to helping them navigate these unimaginable challenges.”

The National Co-operative Business Association also pointed members wishing to support those affected to CUAid and the Hawaii Community Foundation‘s Maui Strong Fund.

The death toll was last amended on 30 August.