In the first half of the 20th century, two handfuls of concerned people joined together to form credit unions. In 1937, nine state employees each invested $5 to start the State Board of Health Employees Credit Union for what was then the Florida State Board of Health. In 1950, a few people invested $301 to create the Florida State Welfare Board Employees Credit Union. Each group of charter members came together with one common goal: to establish a member-owned cooperative that would provide a safe place to grow their savings and provide a stable, low-cost source for loans.
Evolution and Growth
Throughout the next several decades, each credit union evolved and grew its services, scope of membership and assets. Positive changes in federal regulations for credit unions in the 1970s and 1980s, coupled with the dedication of each credit union’s members, boards and staff, resulted in a new era for both credit unions. In 1982, The Florida State Welfare Board Employees Credit Union reached milestones in assets ($>10M) and membership (>13,000) and became Government Employees Credit Union. That same year, the State Board of Health Employees CU merged with the Department of Correction Credit Union and in 1988 the name changed to the more fitting State Employees Credit Union.
Both credit unions enjoyed more growth while serving their respective memberships for the next 30 years. In 2003, three years after celebrating its 50th anniversary, Government Employees Credit Union changed its name to First Florida Credit Union in deference to its branches and membership in major metropolitan areas across the state. First Florida Credit Union would then engage in strategic mergers with Seaboard Credit Union (founded in 1929 to serve the employees of what would later become CSX Transportation) in 2007 and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Credit Union in 2009.
First Florida and SECU
All of this momentum led to both credit unions seeking ways to further enhance their products and services and improve the overall member experience. Recognizing that both similar-sized credit unions were following a parallel track, on August 1, 2014, State Employees Credit Union officially merged with First Florida Credit Union. The combined organization operates under the name First Florida Credit Union.