The continual success of First Commerce Credit Union allows today's members to enjoy the benefits of a wide range of services, up-to-date technology and modern facilities. Business was not always like this, however. In the past 70+ years, First Commerce has experienced phenomenal growth from the humble beginnings of a desk drawer teller to a credit union with six branches and over 39,000 members.
In 1940, the credit union established itself as a financial resource for the employees and families of the Florida Industrial Commission, later renamed the Florida Department of Commerce (DOC). Driven by the credit union philosophy of people helping people, the charter's original mission was to provide a place where members could pool their financial resources for the benefit of all members. That place began in the desk drawer of DOC employee Joe Hitt, who served members by cashing checks and submitting loan applications to a credit committee.
After the Department of Labor and Employment Securities was formed out of the Department of Commerce, the credit union continued to grow. New services, such as share drafts (checking accounts) were so popular the credit union had to add more employees to provide faster and better service. To meet the increasing demands for service, the credit union purchased and renovated its first building in the Office Plaza Center.
This move had a great impact on the credit union's membership growth. For the first time, membership expanded beyond the DOC/DLES employees. In the mid 1980s, the credit union built a larger and more accessible branch office on Old St. Augustine Road. First Commerce expanded again in late 1992 when it gained the Florida Education Center, Room 148, Turlington Bldg., branch office, an additional 2,300 members and $6.5 million in assets when it merged with First Financial Credit Union. Six months later, another full-service branch was opened in northeast Tallahassee at 3515 Maclay Blvd to accommodate the growing number of members in that area. In early 1996, the Mahan Drive Building was completed and offers a full-service branch at 2330 Mahan Drive. In 2003, First Commerce became a neighbor to the Bradfordville Publix. This full-service branch features the latest technology such as cybercafes, video drive-thrus, and cinema-style messaging screens. In October of 2005, First Commerce opened its seventh location on the south side of town at 5062 Capital Circle SW, located in the Publix Shopping Center on Crawfordville Rd. The end of 2007 saw First Commerce relocate its Westside location from the corner of Hartsfield and Capital Circle to 1460 Capital Circle NW (corner of Tharpe St and Capital Circle NW). The brand new, state of the art branch offers a wide range of amenities including, a cyber cafe with televisions and computers, a kid's play center, two ATMs, a four lane drive thru, and plenty of parking. In February 2008, First Commerce opened the Ronald W. Fye Administrative Building located at the Summit East Office Complex. The administrative building houses the credit union's support departments and senior management. The building was named after former CEO Ronald W. Fye who retired in 2009.
Proof of First Commerce's success is evident by its sustained growth. The credit union now employs nearly 150 people, while assets have increased from $3 million in 1974 to $300+ million at the end of 2009. In addition to these accomplishments, the credit union has expanded its member services. Programs such as the MasterCard debit/ATM card, Free iShop! and iEarn! checking accounts, TELiBRANCH, a 24-hour service to access your account and iBranch!, an on-line banking system, and the all new Benefits Plus® discount program are just a few examples of how First Commerce is paving the way for even more growth and better member service.
Since 1993, First Commerce has been honored by the Credit Union National Association's Bridge Awards program for its award-winning member publications. In 1993, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions named First Commerce National Credit Union of the Year. Furthermore, First Commerce was voted "Best of Tallahassee" in the credit union category for four years straight (2004-2007), as well as received the Tally Award for the People's Choice in the financial institution category in 2007. In 2009, the IDC rated First Commerce among the top 10% of credit unions in the nation and second highest in the state of Florida.
In June of 1997, First Commerce changed from a federal charter to a state chartered credit union. Since all of the credit union's offices are in Florida, a Florida state charter allows First Commerce to better serve Floridians who don't have a credit union available to them.
2010 was an exciting year for First Commerce as, in order to better serve its members, the credit union closed three half-service locations (Maclay, DOE and Southside) and opened two new full-service branches - Thomasville Road and Capital. The Thomasville Road branch opened in July 2010 and helped the credit union commemorate its 70th anniversary. This state-of-the-art branch features kiosk type teller stations with automatic cash dispensers that help process member transactions quickly and accurately. The Capital branch opened in the heart of Downtown Tallahassee in December 2010 and will serve businesses and members alike with its convenient location.
Just as First Commerce's membership becomes more diversified each year, so do our products and services. From 24-hour account access to mortgage lending to iShop! Checking, the checking account that pays you, we are committed to serving as your financial partner for life. Because at First Commerce, we're committed to you!