Aloha to Scot Tsuchiyama
September 9, 2019
The Kekaha Credit Union ohana offers its deepest condolences to the family of Scot Tsuchiyama, who passed away August 2, 2019.
Scot retired as the manager of Kekaha Federal Credit Union in March 2018 after 27 years of dedicated service and innovative leadership.
Under his guidance, the credit union grew into a full-service financial institution with $20 million in assets and dedicated to the well-being of its more than 1,600 members. He oversaw the building of the branch, at 8254 Kekaha Road, in 1999.
He served on the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Credit Union League from 1994 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2017, including as chairman in 1997 and 2001. He was president of the Kauai chapter of the HCUL from 1994 to 2001.
He also participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) for 10 years, preparing 3,781 federal and state tax returns. He saved taxpayers about $470,000 in tax preparation fees; and obtained refunds for his clients that totaled in the millions.
With Scot at the helm, Kekaha FCU gained national recognition, winning two first-place Dora Maxwell Awards that recognize social responsibility by credit union leaders.
- The 2005 award honored the credit union’s partnership, initiated by Scot, with Kekaha Elementary School. KFCU provided incentives such as bodyboards, movie passes and bicycles to encourage students to succeed in The MAX (Maximum Communication Journal) Program – combining student excellence in classwork with participation of teachers and parents – and thereby achieve passing levels on state standardized tests.
- The 2008 award recognized Scot’s free income tax preparation for Kekaha residents as a participant in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Also in 2008, the Aloha United Way in 2008 honored Scott and KFCU for their VITA participation.
Kekaha CU advisory board members paid tribute to Scot and his dedication to the credit union and the community:
- Lori Cardenas: “Scot led our credit union through good times and bad for over 25 years. He was a great man who did much for our community. I was privileged to know him.”
- George Paiste: “Scot was helpful to the credit union members and the community in doing their income tax returns for the past 20 years. He was recognized by the community for his free work. My condolences to the Tsuchiyama family.”
- Tammy Higashi: “I remember Scot as loving to travel to Japan and sharing his pictures and what he learned while there visiting. Scot did an annual board appreciation dinner at his house and he put out quite a spread and he always made his onolicious saimin. He made his own noodles that he learned to make in Japan. He had all the tools and equipment. Scot was a very good cook! Enjoyed spending the evening in his back yard annually.”
- Owen S. Moe, president of Kekaha Federal Credit Union Board from 1991 to 2016: Scot’s “first major challenge was dealing with Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and its aftermath. He met the challenge and the credit union office was open for business the Monday after the hurricane.
“Scot was always looking for ways to improve and add new services and products for credit union members. Over the years he added share drafts, credit cards, debit cards, online banking and many more services and products as well as building a new office in 1999.
“He guided the credit union through the merger of Kaumakani FCU in 2013 and the merger with Aloha Pacific FCU in 2018.
“In his spare time he was a gourmet cook and enjoyed preparing special foods for his friends and family.
“Scot served the community well and worked very hard for the credit union movement.”