Thank You for Voting YES!

Thank you for supporting your Gulf Winds Board of Directors and senior management team’s strategic request to change our federal charter to a State of Florida charter.

The Conversion vote passed and was reported at a Special Member Meeting held on September 17, 2018. This conversion will be effective as of November 1, 2018. We will communicate updates in the weeks and months ahead as we change our name to Gulf Winds Credit Union and become a Florida state-chartered credit union.

Gulf Winds, formerly Chemstrand Employees Credit Union and Monsanto Employees Credit Union, was organized on April 9, 1954, and has a rich history of positively impacting the lives of generations of families. This conversion to a state charter and expanded field of membership will ensure that we are here to stay for the next 60+ years and future generations. This change will provide your Credit Union the opportunity to continue to serve our current field of membership and to serve additional geographic areas in Florida, and Georgia and Alabama.

Important Note: All Gulf Winds deposit accounts will continue to be federally insured by our current federal government agency, the National Credit Union Administration’s Share Insurance Fund.

We appreciate your support and thank you for your "YES" vote.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions that we’d like to share with you about this important conversion.

What are the advantages of converting to a Florida-state chartered credit union?

The proposed conversion would result in the following advantages in service and benefits to the members of the credit union:

  • Positioning Gulf Winds for future growth so that the credit union can continue to provide the full range of products and services members want, and have come to expect, from their credit union.
  • Gulf Winds, formerly Chemstrand Employees Credit Union and Monsanto Employees Credit Union, was organized on April 9, 1954, and has a rich history of positively impacting the lives of generations of families. This conversion to a state charter and expanded field of membership will ensure that we are here to stay for the next 60+ years and future generations.
  • Careful and measured growth from this conversion will enhance our ability to keep our dividend and loan rates competitive in the marketplace and allow continued investment in new products and services, including enhanced electronic services.
  • The ability to diversify our field of membership by adding persons in additional counties in Florida, and Alabama and Georgia. These are counties that would not be permissible under current NCUA policies.
  • With this diversified and expanded field of membership, the credit union intends to be able to better serve its members by maintaining both profitable growth and financial safety and soundness for the long term in a larger geographic area.

What is the difference between a state and federal credit union?

A federal charter means the credit union is regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). A state charter means the credit union is regulated by the Florida Office of Financial Regulations which regulates all Florida state-chartered credit unions and other financial institutions for compliance with the laws and regulations of the State of Florida, as well as appropriate rules and regulations of federal agencies.

Why is a state charter better for Gulf Winds than a federal charter?

After much research, it was determined by Gulf Winds’ management team that the credit union’s goal of future expansion would be much more difficult – if not impossible – to achieve under a federal charter. A change to a state charter will allow Gulf Winds to maintain profitable growth and ensure long-term financial stability for our members. This change will provide the flexibility for Gulf Winds to serve more members by adding additional geographic territory to the field of membership. Gulf Winds’ goal is to expand services to all current and future members.

How does a state charter differ from a federal charter?

Currently, we have a Federal Community Charter. Based on the Federal Credit Union Act, and this charter limits Gulf Winds to the following:

“Anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, or Jefferson Counties, Florida and Escambia County, Alabama, are eligible to join Gulf Winds. Businesses and other legal entities located in these counties are also eligible, as are members, employees, and churches of the African Methodist Episcopal churches within the Florida Annual Conference comprised of Gadsden, Leon, Madison, Jefferson, Taylor, Wakulla, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, and Franklin Counties, Florida. You are also eligible to join if an immediate family member is a member.”

There is no ability for us to add additional geographic territory to a community charter under federal law. With a State of Florida charter, we can add additional counties to our proposed field of membership. A simple answer to how a state charter differs from a federal charter is that expansion is not possible with the current federal charter.

Does the Board of Directors have to approve the charter change?

Yes. The Gulf Winds Board of Directors unanimously approved the charter change proposal. According to Florida Statutes, “any action proposing conversion shall be by resolution and shall require the affirmative vote of an absolute majority of the board of directors.” Absolute majority is more than half of the number of votes cast.

Do members have to approve the charter change?

Yes. The Gulf Winds membership voted to approve the charter change propopsal. A Notice and a Ballot was sent to all eligible members prior to our special members’ meeting. According to Florida Statutes, “each member shall have one vote. A majority of the votes cast by the members is required to approve the conversion.” An outside auditing firm, Nearman, Maynard, Vallez, CPAs, P.A., collected and reported on the member vote.

When will the conversion take place? 

The conversion will be effective as of November 1, 2018.

Will there be any changes to the Board of Directors or management team?

No. The Gulf Winds Board of Directors and management team will continue to fill their respective duties in serving members.

Will the credit union’s name change?

Yes. The word “Federal” will be removed from the name and we will be known as Gulf Winds Credit Union. This is the most significant change and will require a transition of our name and logo over a 120-day timeframe through late-2018 and into 2019.

What about member service and the Gulf Winds team?

Gulf Winds will continue to offer the same great products and services from the same branch locations and through our Contact Center with the same great teams. Yes, all branch locations will remain open in the Pensacola-area, Alabama and Tallahassee

Will my Gulf Winds accounts still be federally insured?

Yes. All Gulf Winds deposit accounts will continue to be federally insured by our current federal government agency, the National Credit Union Administration’s Share Insurance Fund.

What are the financial impacts of the charter change?

Management is confident that the income and growth opportunities associated with this proposed change outweigh any additional costs.

Is there a change to the par value?

No. The par value, the minimum amount required to be a Gulf Winds member, will remain $5.

Will new debit and credit cards be issued with the new credit union name? What about checks?

We will not do a mass reissue with new cards at this time. As cards expire, new cards will be issued with the new name. Members will also continue to use their existing Gulf Winds checks until they need a reorder.

Will there be any changes to my accounts, or to the services I use?

This will be a seamless transition to our members. Account numbers and passwords will not change, and our existing branches, Contact Center, and business hours will remain the same. It will be business as usual for members.

Will there be any change in Gulf Winds’ rates and fees?

Deposit and loan rates and the current fee structure will not be impacted by the charter change.

Under a state charter, can you still be a member if you move outside of the eligible service areas? 

Yes, you can still be a member if you relocate outside of Gulf Winds’ field of membership. Once a member, always a member. We have and continue to invest heavily in our digital banking channels to serve members wherever they live. Our investment in infrastructure and our need to continue investing is an important reason we are seeking to expand our field of membership.

Is this anything like a conversion to a bank, or will it lead to a buyout or merger?

No. Gulf Winds has always been and will continue to be a credit union and provide its members with all the advantages that being a credit union entail. Gulf Winds remains committed to the cooperative principles upon which we were founded 60+ years ago. We are extremely well-positioned and strong financially, with no intention to merge or convert to a bank.

Will my voting rights as a member change with the new charter?

No. Each member's voting rights will remain the same.