Suncoast Credit Union Continues to Serve Needs of Polk Residents
Founded in 1934 by local educators as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union has grown so much that it is now the largest credit union in Florida with 75 full-service branches and 2,400 employees.
“Throughout the years, we’ve grown and expanded our membership to include anyone who lives, works, attends school or worships in the Florida counties we serve,” said CFO Julie Renderos.
“From our humble beginnings to all the exciting developments along the way, Suncoast’s history is rich with memorable moments. And every one of them is thanks to our incredible members.”
Suncoast operates two offices in Lakeland with 10 employees:
- 919 Lakeland Park Center Drive, Unit 360.
- 6405 South Florida Ave.
“We are also excited to open three new branches in Central Florida this year. There will be one in Kissimmee and two in Orlando,” Renderos said.
The credit union sees opportunities in improving and enhancing its members’ experience, she said. “We are currently making updates to our website and our mobile banking app. These updates will provide an easier and more user-friendly experience for members to manage their money. We have also incorporated automation across many areas of the credit union. For instance, we are using artificial intelligence and robotics to help improve organizational efficiency and member convenience.”
She added: “As a not-for-profit cooperative owned by our members, everything we do at Suncoast is with our members in mind. We are passionate about giving back to the local communities we serve. We are eager for future growth so we can continue to positively impact more members. Every person and business in Central Florida is eligible and welcome to become a valued member of Suncoast Credit Union.”
Suncoast’s challenges right now mirror their members’ — “rising interest rates and a continual period of high inflation. At a time when the cost of living is continuing to increase, we are always seeking out new ways to bring more value to our loyal members,” Renderos said.
Suncoast had a “momentous and positive year” in 2022 with “incredible membership growth, which rose more than 10% over the course of the year,” Renderos said. “We ended 2022 with over 1.1 million members. It was also a strong year for asset growth at 9% and loan growth at 20% annual growth rate. We are proud to have helped over 260,000 members with mortgage, credit card and car loans during 2022, including life-line loans provided after Hurricane Ian.”
Like many businesses, it had trouble finding new employees, but overcame challenges.
Increasing our staffing levels was a high priority for Suncoast in 2022. Inflation and the tight job market drove up salaries and the low unemployment rate limited the number of candidates applying for positions. Ultimately, we were able to hire over 300 employees in 2022. This brought our staffing levels up to meet our needs. We are well positioned for the coming year’s growth goals.
Suncoast benefits from being rated one of the top places to work in Tampa and never having furloughed employees in almost 90 years. “Creating a happy and fulfilling work environment for our team is always a top priority.”
Suncoast wants to continue to grow in 2023. “Our ultimate goal is to reach and positively affect more members.” Opening its first branch in Kissimmee and two in Orlando is doing just that, Renderos said.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring excellent financial services, market leading rates and fee-free services to the Orlando market, and we know that this growth will allow our team to have greater impact on the financial lives of the individuals and businesses in these communities.”
Giving back to the community is part of Suncoast’s DNA, Renderos said. “By using a Suncoast debit or credit card, our members help to make a difference in the lives of local children in our communities.”
She continued: “Since the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation’s inception, more than $40 million has been donated to support initiatives related to the education, health and emotional well-being of children in our area, including over $50,000 to support K-12 education in Polk County.”
The credit union also supports a “wide variety of businesses and organizations that make our community stronger, from corporate sponsorships to encouraging and enabling our employees to volunteer for causes they’re passionate about.”