The Eras of Addition Financial: A Look at Our Past, Present, and Future

One of the things that sets a credit union apart from a bank is that a credit union is owned by its members. Members are paid dividends instead of interest, allowing them to share in the financial success (and revenue) of their preferred credit union. Credit unions often prioritize education, providing money management tips and guidance to help members.

Addition Financial’s story is one that we’re proud to share. While we started out as a small credit union, we’re now one of the largest credit unions in Central Florida. Here’s a look at Addition Financial’s past, present and future.

What Has Addition Financial’s Journey Looked Like?

The original name of Addition Financial was the Orange County Teachers’ Federal Credit Union. Founded in 1937, we got our start when 23 educators banded together. They were unsatisfied with the financial services they were getting from area banks and formed a credit union to provide better services to teachers in the Orange County school system. 

As time went on, the credit union wanted to expand services to teachers in neighboring counties and we changed our name to Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union. Our membership continued to grow.

As we continued to expand our membership, we shortened our name to CFE Federal Credit Union. This name change coincided with a change to our charter. Instead of serving only educators, we expanded to a community charter serving community members in Seminole, Osceola and Lake Counties. 

The Evolution of Addition Financial

In 2011, 74 years after our inception, CFE Federal Credit Union made its first acquisition of another credit union, purchasing UCF Federal Credit Union. This acquisition helped us to solidify our presence in the higher education community and at UCF. 

2015 brought another acquisition, this time of Seminole Schools Federal Credit Union. We still had a community charter, but weren’t as well known outside of the higher education community as we were inside.

Our desire to attract more members in the communities we served prompted three big changes in 2019. The first was a change in our charter. We converted from a federal to a state charter. We did so because we wanted to expand our services to new communities. Another change is that we made another acquisition in 2019, too. We became one of a small number of Florida credit unions to purchase a bank, Fidelity Bank of Florida. That purchase allowed us to expand into Brevard County. The other change was that we changed our name to Addition Financial Credit Union and expanded our field of membership from four counties to 22 counties in Florida. The name change is not a result of a third-party acquisition, but instead, it was changed to eliminate confusion over who could join and to reflect our continuous evolution to serve the needs of our members. As of the end of 2023, we serve members in 24 Florida counties.

Our Commitment to Serving Educators

While our name has changed and our field of membership has expanded, our commitment to serving educators has remained the same. We have a selection of products that have been designed specifically to help the educators we serve. One is a deferred option savings account that allows teachers to save money year-round even though they only collect a paycheck for part of the year.

Another way we help educators is by donating a portion of the interchange income from our co-branded affinity debit cards to benefit education-based organizations. If you use a co-branded Addition Financial debit card, your purchases are supporting teachers. Some of the organizations we have donated to include:

  • Osceola School District
  • Orange County Public Schools
  • Seminole County Public Schools
  • UCF Athletics

These donations are as important to us as the financial services we provide. We look back to our origins as a teachers’ credit union, which is why we prioritize financial education for our members. 

Expanded Financial Services

In the early days of our existence, we provided limited services to teachers. These included checking and savings accounts and loans. Over time and as our membership has expanded, we have added an array of additional services to help our members manage their personal finances and get the member service they deserve. Here are a few highlights of the services we provide:

  • Personal and business checking accounts, including interest-bearing accounts and money market accounts.
  • Personal and business savings accounts, including high-yield accounts and specialized accounts for holiday and vacation saving, Coverdell education accounts and more.
  • Personal and business loans, including car loans, mortgages, student loans and more.
  • Online banking, including access to free financial education and money management tools.
  • Mobile banking via our free mobile app.
  • Access to our huge library of financial resources, including blog posts, guides, calculators, checklists and our podcast, Making It Count.

We’ve committed ourselves to helping our members learn about financial topics and have written about everything from how to increase your credit score to the ins and outs of investing in blockchain technology.

Addition Financial and Community Outreach

One of our priorities as a community-based credit union is to find ways to serve our members and the communities where they live, work, attend school and worship. Here are a few of our initiatives that show how we have evolved over the years.

The Addition Financial Foundation

The Addition Financial Foundation was formed to provide us with the means to give back to the communities we serve. We do that by supporting education and educational initiatives and by making donations. These include financial donations plus practical gifts designed to help our members and their communities. Here are a few examples:

  • $175,000 in financial donations to 13 local community organizations and nonprofits who we named our Community Giving Class of 2023.
  • 300 lunch boxes donated to new high schools in Orange County.
  • 1,500 backpacks packed and donated through A Gift for Teaching’s Backpack Build.
  • 38 gallons of paint used in 2021 to renovate local teachers’ classrooms.

These donations are one way that we support and elevate members of the communities we serve.

Community Partnerships

Partnering with community organizations and schools offers Addition Financial the opportunity to build connections in Central Florida and engage members and community organizations. Here are a few examples of our most important partnerships.

High School Branch Program

Our High School Branch Program has allowed us to create Addition Financial branches in local high schools. We’re big believers in financial literacy and the students who staff our high school branches get an education that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.

We offer scholarships to help our high school students pay for college. Some of the students who have worked in our high school branches have come to work at Addition Financial full time after they finish their education.

College Partnerships

We never forget our origins as a teachers’ credit union and that’s one reason that we’ve partnered with some colleges in our membership area. Addition Financial is the official financial institution of the UCF Knights, Seminole State College and Valencia College.

Seminole, Valencia and UCF students can show off their school pride with an Addition Financial debit card featuring their school’s mascot and colors. Students who have a UCF or Seminole State card will trigger a donation to their school’s athletics department every time they use their ATM card to make a purchase.

We’ve also created an array of financial products for college students, including college checking accounts, college savings accounts and an Addition Financial credit card designed especially for students.

The Joseph A. Melbourne Jr. Annual Scholarship Program

The Joseph A. Melbourne Jr. Annual Scholarship program is named after Addition Financial’s former CEO and is affectionately known as J.A.M. Jr.

Every year, we award a total of six $10,000 scholarships to six high school seniors in the communities we serve. There are also two master’s level scholarships of $2,500 each. Awarding scholarships is one of the best parts of what we do because it supports students and communities.

Orlando Regional Realtor® Association

We understand that the process of buying a home, whether it’s a starter condo or small house or your forever home, can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider and a lot to learn.

Through our partnership with the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association, we do what we can to demystify and simplify the home buying process. We can help you connect with a local Realtor® and work with you to help you get the mortgage you need for the house you want.

Car Dealerships

Buying a car is a big deal and whether you’re looking for a vehicle that’s new or used, we can help through our partnerships with community car dealerships.

You can use our online link to prequalify for a loan and connect with one of our community partners for a purchasing process that’s as easy and stress-free as possible.

What Does the Future Hold for Addition Financial?

We always want to remember our past, but we want our members and those in the communities we serve to know that we have our eyes on the future. We can’t tell you what tomorrow will bring, but what we can do is promise that we’ll be there to guide you through financial changes and challenges.

We’ve shepherded our members through the dawn of online and mobile banking. We’ve also provided insights to help our communities weather inflation, rising interest rates and natural disasters. 

Going forward, we’ll stay on top of financial changes and keep you informed about them. As an Addition Financial member, you’ll never need to worry that you’ll be caught by surprise because we’ll be there, lighting the way ahead.

Are you looking for a credit union to provide financial education and money management tools to help you achieve your most important goals? Become an Addition Financial member today!

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