CEO Spotlight – Chris Rutledge, Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union

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For 60 years, Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union has provided Service That Soars Above to its members. A full-service financial institution with the highest quality ratings granted in the industry, Gulf Winds’ topmost goal is to provide the superior services its members and communities need.

Chris Rutledge, President and CEO of Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union, has guided that mission since 2002.

“Our Tallahassee members can look forward to Gulf Winds growing our presence in Tallahassee every day,” Rutledge says. “We have a strong commitment to our members and to the community.”

The credit union currently serves more than 55,000 members through 12 branches in the Pensacola and Tallahassee areas. Anyone who lives, works, or worships in Escambia or Santa Rosa, Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla or Jefferson Counties, Florida, and Escambia County, Alabama, can join.

Gulf Winds also offers some of the most competitive rates in Tallahassee, which is thanks to efficient operations and an ever-growing membership. As member-owned, not-for-profit institutions, Credit Unions have no shareholders to whom profits must be paid. Everything is returned to members in the form of better rates on loans and deposits, and low or no fees on products and services.

The 5-Star Superior Rated credit union is a “Sustained Superiority Credit Union,” which includes only 10 percent of the credit union industry.

“We have the highest rating awarded for financial stability,” Rutledge said. “We really believe in providing top quality service.”

Rutledge knows and loves the communities he serves. The Pensacola native graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He then immediately launched his career as an examiner for the National Credit Union Association, which regulates and insures federal credit unions.

After serving several years as the Chief Financial Officer at Georgia Federal Credit Union (now Georgia United Credit Union) in Atlanta, Ga., and as Vice President at Army Aviation Federal Credit Union in Alabama, he began work at what was then the Monsanto Employee Credit Union in Pensacola, Fla.

Established in 1954 to serve the employees of what was then Pensacola’s Chemstrand plant, the credit union sought to expand its service and seek a community charter. Within 18 months, Rutledge helped the Credit Union obtain a community charter and rebrand itself as Gulf Winds. Gulf Winds merged with Escambia County Employee Credit Union in 2007, and with SCORE Federal Credit Union in Tallahassee in 2013. Success has followed, with increased membership and expanded services year after year.

Gulf Winds also offers Financial Planning Services with Raymond James, providing trust and investment services for families and individuals. The trusted Gulf Winds Raymond James Wealth Advisors have more than 60 years of experience helping others plan their financial future.

Ranked among top local employers and credit unions in the communities it serves, Gulf Winds attributes its solid and consistent performance to a strong volunteer leadership, including a 13-member Board of Directors and a Supervisory Committee.

Rutledge looks forward to a long future serving its Tallahassee members.

“We have been welcomed by the Tallahassee community and we’re here to stay.”