GTE Financial, one of Florida’s largest credit unions, is celebrating an important milestone of 85 years of service. During their long history in the Tampa Bay region, GTE Financial has made a real difference in countless lives by supporting community and charitable causes, helping members achieve financial goals, and providing their employees with opportunities for individual and collective growth.
Today, they’re commemorating this remarkable milestone with their leader, President and CEO Brian Best, heading up a surprise celebration involving a local DJ, food trucks, photo booth, and festivities.
“We are incredibly excited to be celebrating 85 years of service and are looking forward to what the future brings in continuing to serve the members of Tampa Bay,” says Best. “It’s a tremendous achievement to have made a difference in the lives of so many members over the course of more than eight decades. We’re grateful to every member and employee that has played a role in the rich history of service that we celebrate today,” said Brian Best, president and CEO.
Founded in 1935 during the Great Depression, GTE Financial is one of the largest locally owned and operated financial institutions in the nation. Here’s what the past 85 years have looked like for the not-for-profit financial cooperative and for the city they call home:
1901 – Peninsular Telephone Company located in Florida is formed. The future employees of this company would form the Peninsula Telephone Employees and Credit Union.
1934-1935 – GT&E buys Peninsula Telephone Company.
1935 – Charter Number 196 is granted by the National Credit Union Administration to the employees of Peninsular Telephone Company. The credit union opens their main office located at 610 Morgan St., Tampa, Florida on March 4th, 1935.
1939 – U.S. Army Southeast Air Base – which would grow into MacDill – established.
1940 – Tampa’s population reaches 108,391.
1955 – WFLA and WTVT television stations begin broadcasting.
1957 – Lowry Park Zoo opens.
1958 – Peninsular Telephone Employees Federal Credit Union becomes GTE Federal Credit Union on May 20th, 1958 and assets top $1 million.
1960 – GTE introduces the “Once a Member, Always a Member” concept and opens up credit union membership to families of existing members.
1959 – Busch Gardens Theme Park opens for business.
1962 – The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) founded.
1967 – New office for GTE Financial Credit Union built in downtown Tampa on Marion Street.
1972 – Sant’Yago Knight Parade founded.
1974 – 40 years of service mark and a new branch opens in St. Petersburg.
1980s – GTE Federal Credit Union joins ATM networks.
1984 – Tampa Hillsborough County Public Library System established.
1990 – First credit union in Florida and second in the US to offer a successful debit card program.
1995 – The Florida Aquarium opens.
1996 – First website introduced. Ranked 67th largest credit union in the U.S.
1998 – GTE Federal Credit Union website introduces 24-hour web access.
2003 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl.
2004 – The Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup.
2005 – GTE Federal Credit Union moves their headquarters to the Tampa Heights section of Tampa, FL located at 711 East Henderson Ave. GTE Federal Credit Union becomes 30th largest US credit union.
2008 – The Tampa Bay Rays win the American League Championship and earn berth in World Series.
2009 – GTE Federal Credit Union launched its Facebook page.
2010 – Tampa’s population reaches 335,000.
2012 – GTE Federal Credit Union becomes GTE Financial.
2013 – GTE Financial welcomes their 200,000th Member.
2016 – Brian Best is named GTE Financial’s CEO.
2018 – Waterstreet redevelopment begins, revitalizing downtown Tampa.
2019 – New experience for debit and credit cards launched with a new app and additional security and control for members.
2020 – GTE Financial celebrates 85 years of service.
To learn more, see GTE Financial’s new website: www.gtefinancial.org.
About GTE Financial:
GTE Financial is a not for profit financial cooperative with more than $2 billion in assets and 24 Community Financial Centers located throughout West Central Florida. Chartered in 1935, GTE Financial is locally owned and operated in the Tampa Bay area, serving more than 230,000 individuals and businesses. More information on GTE Financial can be found at www.gtefinancial.org.