President's Message Winter 2021

January 4, 2021

Chris Rutledge

Chris RutledgeThe start of a new year is always an exciting time, perhaps this year more than ever. 2020 challenged us — as individuals and as a Credit Union. As I reflect on all that happened, it is not the hardships of a global pandemic or unexpected hurricane that stand out, but the resilience of our members and team. As they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It is with this spirit that Gulf Winds achieved some important milestones, despite the many obstacles.

In the last year, our membership grew to more than 70,000. This growth continues as we accept new members daily from Alabama, Georgia and across North Florida. We earned Bauer’s superior 5-star rating for the 106th straight quarter, a signal of our strength and stability as an institution. We redesigned our online loan application to make it easier and quicker than ever to fund loan requests from our members. And we updated our statements, providing further clarity on your financial standing.

In response to the pandemic, we expanded our drive-thru services and started offering appointments in our branches. We modified our Contact Center to protect the safety of our team while ensuring there is always someone to answer your call. Our financial resources provided relief for our members
impacted by the economic downturn, and we provided meaningful support to many community partners and organizations.

Moving forward, we will continue to make member-focused, prudent decisions to improve your experience as a member. Our investment in technology remains a priority. Not surprisingly, Online and Mobile Banking saw record use this year and we look forward to providing you new tools that allow you to conveniently bank anytime, anywhere.

Since our founding in 1954, we have weathered many storms together. We don’t know what challenges this new year has for us, but you can be sure we will remain a dependable partner that can take on anything. Thank you for being a member. I hope you join me in welcoming 2021 with optimism and
open arms.

Chris Rutledge Signature

Chris J. Rutledge,
President & CEO