Southeastern Federal Credit Union Experiencing Strong Deposit Growth

Barbara Kieker

Friday, May 16th, 2014

According to President and CEO Mike Gudely, deposits at Southeastern Federal Credit Union are growing across the board in 2014 – in checking, savings and money market accounts as well as in higher interest-paying accounts.  While not as strong, loan growth is also picking up. 

"Deposit growth is in the 12 to 13 percent range and we're very happy with that.  We're also seeing growth in auto loans and home equity loans," Gudely said. 

"It's driven by the improving economy but more importantly because consumer confidence is finally to the point where people can purchase big-ticket items without the fear of losing their job." 

Southeastern Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial institution owned by its more than 24,000 members.  Established in 1953, it serves southern Georgia through branch offices located in Valdosta, Tifton and Moody AFB.  Gudely joined the credit union as president and CEO in late 2013 and has more than 30 years of banking and credit union experience. 

A positive outlook

According to Gudely, the future looks good for the credit union.  As a financial cooperative owned by its members, the credit union is not pressured on a quarterly basis for growth, as are many public companies.  This enables Southeastern Federal Credit Union to take a long-term, prudent view. 

"We don't have to stretch to make loans.  Growth in Valdosta is not stagnant but it is slow so we have fewer loan opportunities," Gudely said. 

"We are a very stable organization and we have a long-term commitment to our members.  We are here for Valdosta and Lowndes County and we are trying to grow all segments of our business." 

As the largest credit union south of Macon, Southeastern Federal Credit Union is well positioned to grow and adapt to changing conditions.  For example, banks and credit unions are facing higher compliance costs in today's regulatory environment.  Larger institutions are often better able to manage their costs of compliance.  And credit unions have unique advantages over banks that can also support future growth. 

"We're able to do the right thing by our members.  Our employees don't have sales goals so they don't try to sell you what you don't need," Gudely said. 

"That builds trust with our members.  They can trust what we tell them and that's a differentiator for us." 

While Gudely expects some consolidation among credit unions, he hopes Southeastern Federal Credit Union will benefit from that trend. He expects it will be nowhere near the extent of the consolidation that has occurred among banks. 

"There is quite a bit of uneasiness among employees and customers of banks due to consolidation.  Credit unions operate in a very stable environment," he said. 

Supporting the local community

Southeastern Federal Credit Union has a long history of supporting its local communities.  In Valdosta, the credit union has given money and supplies to elementary, middle and high schools.  It also donated $50,000 to Valdosta State University for the VSU Financial Trading Center, a high-tech facility that provides hands-on trading experience for business administration students.  Gudely participates in a number of community organizations such as the Rotary Club, Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce. 

"Valdosta is a very giving community, especially for its size.  People are so generous with their time and money here.  It's very impressive," Gudely said. 

More information on Southeastern Federal Credit Union is available

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.