It's Simple, Really
Our mission is simple — to improve the quality of our members' lives by maintaining a strong, secure and innovative credit union that builds trust, shows respect and maximizes efficiency.
How It All Started
From our humble beginning in 1934, when a handful of local educators founded Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union has grown into the largest credit union headquartered in Florida. We were originally formed to meet the financial service needs of teachers in Hillsborough County. A charter amendment in 1953 expanded the field of membership to include Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, DeSoto and Hardee County teachers. By the end of 1957, Manatee, Levy and Sumter Counties were included; Charlotte County was added in 1959. By that time, services had been extended to all school employees — not just teachers.
In 1975, our name was changed to Suncoast Schools Credit Union to better represent our field of membership; it became Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union with conversion to a federal charter in 1978. We continued to grow with the addition of Glades and Hendry Counties in 1982, Collier County in 1983 and Lee County in 1993. Changes in federal field of membership regulations in the 1990s allowed the inclusion of Select Employee Groups (SEGs) in the our field of membership, allowing us to provide services to small employee groups that would not otherwise have access to the advantages of a credit union.
In December 2013, members voted "Yes" to a state charter conversion, resulting in a new name and new logo for Suncoast. The charter change paved the way for enhanced products and services, branch and ATM expansion, assisting more members in our communities and increased support of public education through the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.
Suncoast now serves anyone who lives, works, worships or attends schools in the following 21 counties: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Dixie, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter. Immediate family members are also eligible to join Suncoast Credit Union. Suncoast offers a full range of deposit, lending and investment products with access through branches, extensive ATM networks, the Members Contact Center and online and mobile banking.
We've Grown, but Our Commitment Remains
The primary driving force behind our success is exactly what it was 80 years ago. Suncoast remains a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that exists to meet the financial needs of our members.
Credit unions operate under the seven principles of a cooperative, which are:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Financial education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for the community
All of our decisions at Suncoast are aligned with those core cooperative principles. When your money’s in a bank, the profits on that money go to stockholders. But at a credit union, profits go to members.
Since the members are the owners of a credit union, we’re able to offer lower rates on loans, higher earnings on deposits and more free services like free checking, free online banking and free bill pay.
This ownership structure is one of the two major factors that make Suncoast able to offer favorable products and services. Without a separate group of stockholders or private owners demanding a return on their investments, all net income is given back to the membership directly or set aside for reserves.
Suncoast’s Board of Directors is comprised of elected volunteers who are responsible for establishing policies that are implemented by the management and staff. When the Board of Directors makes decisions regarding interest rates, fees or services, their goal is not to maximize the return to outside owners — it’s always to do what’s best for members.
The second major factor is operational efficiency. Suncoast's expense ratios are at least 50% below those of all other major financial institutions in the Tampa Bay area. This means that a much greater percentage of overall income can be returned to the members in the form of higher dividends and lower loan rates and fees.
Suncoast remains committed to providing low cost and convenient services while addressing the financial needs of our members. It’s what you should expect from a member-owned cooperative.
2017-2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Back row (l-r): Brian J. Feldman, Director; Andrea L. Falvey, Director; Anthony D. Satchel, Chairman; Marc R. Johnson, Director; Peter Flynn, Director. Front row (l-r): Gary C. Gresham, Director; Zamir L. Ode, Treasuer; Velia Pedrero, Director; Mildred Harvey, Director; Susan C. Turner, Vice Chair; Jounice L. Nealy-Brown, Secretary.
2017-2018 SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE. Left to right: Victor M. Arias; Stephanie Mathews; and Manuel G. Lopez, Chairman.
SENIOR STAFF. Back row (l-r): Vicki Lovett, Chief Lending Officer; Gary Vien, Chief Administrative Officer; Kevin Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer; Jackie Gilbert, Senior Vice President, Risk Management; Wanda Chambers, Senior Vice President, Payment Services; Ted Hassenfelt, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer. Front row (l-r): Karen Koundourakis, Senior Vice President, Members Contact Center; Melva McKay Bass, Senior Vice President, Business Development; Julie Renderos, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer; Sheri Eaton, Senior Vice President, Service Center Operations; Darlene Johnson, Senior Vice President, Member Experience.