President's Message

Chris Rutledge

Chris RutledgeThe beginning of a new decade is an exciting time, one of growth and change. As we look forward to what 2020 holds, it’s important to take the time to reflect on our beginnings and how we’ve come to where we are today.

In Gulf Winds’ 65-year history, we have been honored to serve families for multiple generations. In fact, we are now serving the grandchildren of some of our founding members. But what about their grandchildren, and the generations that come after that? How can we ensure we provide Service That Soars Above as the decades go by and the financial industry continues to change? The answer lies in combining our dedication to serving our members with our commitment to embrace the opportunities presented by new technologies.

In my 18 years at Gulf Winds, I’ve watched our membership grow to more than 60,000. This growth has strengthened Gulf Winds, allowing us to extend our field of membership with a state charter in November 2018. Today, our family of members extends across Northwest Florida and into Alabama and Georgia and will continue to grow in 2020.

Our growth can be measured in more than just the number of members we serve, however. When we started in 1954, there wasn’t a single computer in any of our branches; transactions were recorded using paper ledger cards. To say that banking has changed since then is an understatement!

As part of our commitment to improving our services, we are leveraging new ways to keep pace with changing technologies. We’ve added access to thousands of ATM locations and are working to include new features in our online banking services. To ensure these new technologies provide the safety and security you expect from Gulf Winds, we’ve developed a Fraud Department to protect our members’ accounts and personal financial information.

As always, our future success is dependent in large part on the focus and commitment of our dynamic leaders. Many of these team members have dedicated their professional lives to our credit union and are celebrating 10, 15, and even 20 years with Gulf Winds. I’m excited to announce the creation of an Executive Team to maximize the impact of this wealth of experience. Together, they will help lead our credit union into the future and prepare us to serve the next generation of Gulf Winds members. I invite you to learn more about these amazing team members and their new responsibilities on here »

The final piece of ensuring a successful future is you, our valued members, and your continued trust in Gulf Winds as your financial partner. It’s a responsibility we’ve always taken seriously, and we’ll continue to do so for generations to come.

Happy New Year!