First Florida Credit Union was originally established in 1950. A few people with a combined $301 formed the Florida State Welfare Board Employees Credit Union. These charter members came together with one common goal: to establish a member-owned cooperative that would provide a safe place to grow their savings and provide a stable, low-cost source for loans. As assets grew and membership included a much broader base of employees than the original name implied, the credit union underwent a name change, becoming Florida HRS Credit Union in 1972.
Over the next 10 years, changes and reorganizations within the state of Florida allowed more government employees access to the credit union. Membership reached 13,484 in 1980, as assets topped the $10 million mark. In response, the credit union became Government Employees Credit Union of Florida in March 1982. During 1982 – 2000, the credit union benefited from three additional mergers and acquisitions, as well as a bylaw amendment that expanded the field of membership to include all state and federal employees.
As the credit union celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2000, assets rose above $106 million and membership increased to almost 30,000. In addition, operations included several branches throughout Florida. Furthermore, membership eligibility included Florida residents in major metropolitan areas. Therefore, the credit union underwent another name change to more accurately reflect the membership base and branch structure. On January 2, 2003, we proudly became First Florida Credit Union (First Florida) — with more than $170 million in assets.
In 2006, First Florida’s assets were at $201.5 million with 30,452 members. That same year, First Florida engaged in merger discussions with Seaboard Credit Union (Seaboard). Seaboard (also headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida) was founded in 1929 to serve the employees of the Seaboard System Railroad, which through a series of mergers and/or purchases later became CSX Transportation. During merger discussions, it became apparent that a partnership between the two credit unions would be a “win – win” for both organizations. On January 1, 2007, the merger was official, and First Florida started the year off with $305.2 million in assets.
During the latter part of 2007, First Florida entered into merger talks with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Credit Union. The partnership between the two credit unions was a natural fit, and in February 2009, the merger became official.
Today, First Florida is a $405+ million financial institution with nearly 39,000 members, 130 employees, and ten branches located throughout Florida (Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami). Although our product offerings have changed and became considerably more sophisticated, we have also experienced the kind of continuity that makes for a successful organization. We have never wavered from our original founding principle of “people helping people.” Our commitment to this principle has resulted in the cultivation of a loyal membership. First Florida continues to be a safe and sound financial organization, receiving top-ratings from industry regulators.