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Banks Step Up as Hawaii Rocked by Wildfires

Maui Strong Fund for disaster relief surpassed $1 million in donations within hours of opening

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  • Written by  Banking Exchange staff
Banks Step Up as Hawaii Rocked by Wildfires

Hawaiian banks are taking action to help residents after devastating wildfires destroyed the town of Lahaina and killed more than 50 people last week.

The wildfire, fanned by high-speed winds, caused huge amounts of damage on the island of Maui and hundreds of people are still believed to be missing.

The Hawaii Bankers Association (HBA) and First Hawaiian Bank have launched ‘Aloha for Maui’, a donations program for people to give money to fund the relief effort. Donations can be made at Hawaiian bank branches, and the association itself has donated $25,000 while First Hawaiian has given $250,000.

HBA president Bryan Luke said: “The members of the Hawaii Bankers Association are deeply saddened by the devastation on Maui caused by the wildfires. Our employees, customers and families call these communities home, and we are committed to helping them recover and rebuild.”

The money goes to the Maui Strong Fund, run by the Hawaii Community Foundation, which was reported to have raised more than $1 million for disaster relief efforts by Wednesday, according to Hawaii News Now.

Bank of Hawaii has contributed $100,000 to the fund via the bank’s foundation.

“Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the wildfires on Maui,” said Peter Ho, the bank’s chairman, president and CEO.

“To see the devastation and know that the lives of our family, friends and neighbors have been forever altered is heart wrenching. Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Maui community and all those impacted by the loss of loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods.

“We remain committed to supporting our employees, our customers and communities throughout this difficult time, and this donation to Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund is just one part of that.”

Bank of Hawaii closed three branches in Lahaina, Kahana and Kihei, although the Kihei branch has subsequently reopened. It has also temporarily suspended all fees for its ATMs across Maui.

In a separate statement, Bank of Hawaii said it was “paying close attention to the situation as it evolves, and may decide to temporarily close additional Maui branches as needed for the safety of its employees and customers”.

The Lahaina branches of American Savings Bank, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank and Territorial Savings Bank have all temporarily closed. First Hawaiian has also closed its Kahana branch. Other locations may also close as the situation develops, and customers are being advised to use online banking services or other locations where possible.

Banks are also promoting donations to Maui United Way and the American Red Cross of Hawaii.

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