President’s Message

Chris Rutledge

Chris RutledgeWe ended 2018 with two big announcements. First, that our request to become a Florida state-chartered credit union was approved. Second, that we were sharing a $1 million bonus dividend with our members to close out the year. Our team felt great leaving the year on such a positive note, but it also set the bar high for 2019.

This year, the focus remains on providing Service That Soars Above as we strive to be the #1 Community Credit Union serving the Gulf Coast. We have established three focus areas that will help us reach that goal: expanding our field of membership, leveraging digital products and services, and building a team of future leaders to enhance member service continually.

As a state-chartered credit union, we can now serve members from Pensacola to Jacksonville Florida, and in the adjoining counties of Alabama and Georgia. With this expanded field of membership, we will now offer products and services where there are not branches. We recognize that this means we will need a robust online offering to provide all of our members with the level of personal service they deserve.

At the same time, it is important for us to keep in mind that as the use of technology increases, the risk that comes along with it increases too. In response, we implemented a new Enterprise Risk Management Committee in 2018. As an extension of our Board of Directors, this committee reviews credit union activities to ensure we are staying ahead of emerging risks and putting procedures in place that protect Gulf Winds and our members.

Our final focus for 2019 is to invest in our team. We have a great team of current leaders as well as rising talent that will be fantastic leaders as their careers with Gulf Winds progress. To help each of these leaders, we’ve begun to outline ways to provide better training and resources.

Our next step is to create collaborative plans that develop area generalists into credit union experts. We also recognize the importance of developing clearly defined career paths that empower our team to grow in their careers with Gulf Winds. By increasing the ways we invest in our team, we will ensure many years of future success for your credit union.

The milestones we reached and surpassed in 2018 are huge for Gulf Winds, and we’re looking forward to an equally successful 2019 as we continue to take steps toward achieving our goals. We’re in a pivotal time for our credit union’s future, and we keep our commitment of Service That Soars Above top-of-mind with each decision we make.