history & mission

History & Mission

The Mission

Be the preferred financial services provider and employer in our marketplace

Our Vision

Members always experience the best value and service with complete confidence

Our Brand Promise

Going beyond money to deliver a remarkable Member Experience

Learn more about us!

Founded in 1935 during the Great Depression, GTE Financial is one of the largest locally owned and operated financial institutions in the nation with convenient locations and free ATMs throughout Tampa Bay.

We are a not-for-profit financial cooperative. This means we make decisions for the benefit of all our customers, whom we call member-owners, because each one has a stake, or ownership, in our cooperative. GTE doesn’t make a profit just to turn it over to anonymous shareholders. The money we earn is returned to our “shareholders” – our members – in the form of higher dividends, lower rates, as well as new products and services.

Your money is well protected: funds deposited at GTE are covered by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). Not one member has lost a single penny of insured savings at this credit union!

Going beyond money, serving our community is just as important to us as delivering exceptional financial services. GTE and our employees contribute significant time and donations to meaningful charitable organizations and agencies throughout the neighborhoods we serve.

Not only can you join GTE Financial, your company can also apply to be a Community Partner. Companies that become Community Partners can offer GTE member value as a no-cost employee benefit. This free program is a great way to give back to the people that make your business special! 

Check out our timeline!

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 - Peninsula Telephone Employees Federal Credit Union becomes Peninsular Telephone Employees Federal Credit Union on June 26th, 1939.  

1958 - Peninsular Telephone Employees Federal Credit Union becomes GTE Federal Credit Union on May 20th, 1958 and assets top $1 million.

1960 - George Hobar joins GTE Federal Credit Union and begins his 30-year career as CEO. He introduces the "Once a Member, Always a Member" concept and opens up a credit union membership to families of existing members.

1967 - New office built in downtown Tampa on Marion Street.

1969 - GTE Federal Credit Union becomes GT&E; Federal Credit Union on January 7th, 1969.

1971 - GT&E; Federal Credit Union switches back to GTE Federal Credit Union with assets at $36 million.

1974 - 40 years of service mark and a new branch opens in St. Petersburg.

1980s - GTE Federal Credit Union joins ATM networks.

1983 - Introduces Select Employee Groups (SEGs), now known as Community Partners.

1988 - Moves into an administrative complex with state-of-the-art data center on 711 S. Dale Mabry Highway.

1990s - First credit union in Florida and second in the US to offer a successful debit card program. Introduces CU@Home, Bill Paying Systems as well as PC- and telephone-based account access

1990 -  Wendell "Bucky" Sebastian joins GTE Federal Credit Union as president.

1993 - Saturday hours introduced in six locations.

1996 - First website introduced. Ranked 67th largest credit union in the U.S.

1998 - GTE Federal Credit Union website introduces 24 hour web access.

2000 - Member Services, Consumer Loans and Risk Management call centers along with Loan Support Services and Training move to new Operations Center on Columbus Avenue in Tampa.

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.

2007 - A core computer system conversion is launched to improve internal operational capabilities and provide members with better service.

2009 - GTE Federal Credit Union launched its Facebook page.

2011 - GTE Federal Credit Union’s exclusive Member Advantage Program is introduced.

2012 - GTE Federal Credit Union becomes GTE Financial.

2012 - Online Banking and gtefinancial.org are revamped.

2013 - GTE Financial welcomes their 200,000th Member and introduces Deposit2GO.

2014 - Opens second Member Care Call Center in Bradenton. Introduces Future Change app.

2015 - Began offering instant issue debit cards.

2016 - Brian Best is named GTE Financial's CEO.

2017 - GTE Financial's brand new suite of Credit Cards launches.

2017 - Members can now benefit from Go Points, GTE Financial's free loyalty rewards program.

2018 - The Go Premium with GTE Secure account is introduced, better protecting membership and their families from ever-increasing fraud.

2019 - GTE Financial executed the credit union’s first securitization transaction for $175 Million. Card services and operations are fully brought in-house.

2020 - Although COVID-19 transformed our lives, GTE was there for our members and the community; we remained open to serve with remote and safety-driven solutions that emphasized digital delivery and convenience. GTE unveiled an industry-leading, feature-rich and fully-translated Mobile Banking App, allowing members to self-serve a replacement card instantly.

2021 - GTE Financial opens a Community Financial Center in Lakewood Ranch and is named Corporate Philanthropist of the Year. GTE achieves $1 Billion in Total Loan Originations, providing affordable financing as the community recovers from COVID-19.