Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union is Florida's largest credit union and one of the largest in the US, based on assets. It serves public and private school employees, municipal workers, students, and those working for a select group of more than 1,000 employers (and their families) in about 15 western Florida counties. The credit union offers standard services such as checking and savings accounts, residential mortgages, credit cards, and consumer loans, in addition to insurance, investment, trust, and real estate services. Founded in 1934 as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union, the not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative has about 50 locations (including a mobile branch) and some 500,000 members.
About 20 of the credit union's branches are located in high schools; they're run by students and managed by credit union personnel. Intended to give kids real-world financial services experience, the branches are operated in conjunction with local Academy of Finance programs or tied to business or economics courses. Suncoast opened its first elementary school branch in 2007 and brought the program into middle schools in 2008.
Florida's economy was among the hardest hit during the recession as the state has been plagued by high unemployment and plummeting property values along its western coast. The difficult environment is reflected in the Suncoast's results. The credit union has posted three consecutive years of losses, but improved its bottom line in 2010 as it focused on improving credit quality.
Its level of delinquent loans remains elevated, however. Suncoast teamed with the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to provide home mortgage payment assistance to unemployed or underemployed members. The credit union is servicing the loans. – less