HISTORY OF CENTRAL CREDIT UNION OF FLORIDA
Chartered in January 1962, West Florida Central Credit Union was established for other credit union employees and officials in the West Florida area.
Credit Unions are non-profit financial cooperatives – meaning we (members) pool our money (savings) to loan to our fellow members. Our loan rates must provide the income to pay dividends on the savings AND expenses of the credit union. Our fees and earnings on investments also supplement our income.
In 1969, the State of Florida approved the addition of other liquidating credit unions or SEGS (Small Employee Groups) that were unable to support themselves or develop their own credit union. We were able to merge credit unions such as: Sacred Heart Employees Credit Union, Enlisted Men’s Credit Union, Borden’s Dairy Credit Union, Automobile Dealers Credit Union, SPC Credit Union, Westinghouse, Community Mental Health (Lakeview) and Armstrong World Industries. During the next five years the credit union grew rapidly merging other credit unions and offering more services.
In 1978, the central credit union for the Jacksonville, FL area – Jacksonville Central Credit Union, was merged with us, West Florida Central, doubling the credit union in size overnight. To represent the entire geographical area, we changed the name to Central Credit Union of Florida and maintained a branch in the Jacksonville area.
During the 80’s and 90’s, there was an explosion of financial services offered by credit unions…checking accounts, lines of credit, IRAs, ATMs, etc… We were one of the first credit unions to offer open-end credit, home equity loans, and credit cards. During this time, we opened our third branch in the east Pensacola-area.
June 1982, the State of Florida wanted to start a community credit union which would give people the opportunity to join a credit union without having a common bond (such as an employer). Therefore allowing people to join a community credit union if they resided within 100 miles of the credit union. Central Credit Union was designated the first community credit union in the state of Florida.
Because of these changes to the Florida Statutes, our field of membership broadened to include anyone living or working in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Duval Counties. This resulted in our first branch in the north area of Escambia County which is now known as our Cordova Branch.
Because we are not a closed field of membership we do not have a business or company to support us…such as Monsanto supported their credit union with free rent, electricity or just funds to operate….Pen Air, supported by government, or Gulf Power supporting Gulf Power Credit Union. We have to support ourselves so to speak.
During the late 90’s, the credit union made the decision that we wanted to be a credit union for all people and stick with the philosophy of what a credit union really is….people helping people. We specialize in ‘one member at a time,’ considering all their financial needs, not joining the masses. We want to give the personal service that will go beyond their expectations.
In 2006 we were the first Northwest Florida credit union to join the Shared Branching Network which allows our member’s access to their accounts at over 5,000 branches worldwide. This also enables non-members to use our credit union to access their accounts at other credit unions in the network.
As Central continued to grow, an opportunity to join two credit unions with the same philosophy appeared. Central Credit Union of Florida acquired Endeavor Federal Credit Union (formerly Telco of Florida Credit Union). This merger doubled the credit union size, once again bringing our assets to over $100 million and our membership is now more than 14,000.
With the addition of a Panama City Branch acquired from the merger of Endeavor Credit Union, we expanded our field of membership to include: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Washington, and Bay and Duval counties.
In 2014, 2015, and 2016 Central CU was recognized for the Best of the Bay awards in the Best Credit Union category, as well as Best of the Coast in 2015. These honors exemplifies that Central Credit Union exceeds the expectations of our members, and our level of community involvement is recognized by all.
Credit unions are unique. Unlike banks, our Board of Directors are not paid, they are volunteers elected by the membership, and are responsible for setting the policies for the credit union.
Central Credit Union of Florida continuously receives the 5-Star rating, since 1995, from Bauer Financial, the nation’s leading independent bank rating firm. The 5-Star rating denotes the absolute highest level of banking performance and is the firm’s highest rating.
We are a state chartered, federally-insured credit union. Meaning we not only abide by the State of Florida Statutes but also federal regulations for financial institutions (NCUA). We are a very safe and sound institution. Central Credit Union of Florida continues to have a dedicated Board of Directors and staff that exemplify our mission: “We will serve the needs of our members beyond their expectations,” as well as our vision: “To be the community credit union of choice providing financial opportunities that last a lifetime.”