Georgia’s Own Credit Union was formed on December 6, 1934, by 8 telephone employees who invested a total of $160 for the purpose of providing financial services to telephone company employees in the area. Known then as Atlanta Telco, members began pooling their resources, making loans to members and discovering firsthand the advantage of “people helping people”. From those humble beginnings, the Credit Union grew to serve 2,200 members and assets had reached $240,000 by the end of the decade.
In 1944, under a new charter, Atlanta Telco was renamed Georgia Telco Credit Union and the field of membership was extended to all telephone company employees within the state of Georgia. By the end of the 1940’s, the Credit Union served more than 6,000 members and its assets exceeded $1 million. During the next two decades, the Credit Union would prosper and grow by serving the financial needs of members. At the close of the 1960’s, membership was in excess of 12,700 with $8 million in assets.
Throughout the early years of the Credit Union, members’ financial needs were served through one main office at the Hurt Building in Atlanta. Seeing the need to expand and bring the services closer to where members worked, Georgia Telco opened its first Branch Office at 125 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta in 1976. By the end of this decade, the Credit Union was serving the financial needs of more than 33,000 members. During the early 80’s the administrative offices of the Credit Union were moved to the Southern Bell Center, now known as AT&T Midtown Center. In addition, 10 new branch offices were opened in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
Up to this point, Georgia Telco Credit Union’s field of membership was comprised of telephone company employees from 3 core sponsor groups - Southern Bell, AT&T and Western Electric. This would change dramatically in the 1980’s because of several major events. First was the court ordered breakup (divestiture) of our core sponsor groups. This event made it necessary for us to expand our field of membership to include new companies formed by divestiture as well as other select groups. We also acquired additional sponsor groups in the Savannah area through the merger of two credit unions – Savannah Chatham and Savannah News Press into our Credit Union. It also gave us the opportunity to maintain a much needed branch office to serve our Savannah membership.
Throughout the 1980’s the credit union had evolved from primarily a savings and lending institution to a full-service financial institution offering checking accounts, ATM services, a wide range of savings certificates, and special accounts for the young and the retired. By December 31, 1989, Credit Union membership had grown to over 55,000 and assets reached $424 million.
The 1990’s brought more advanced technology with the introduction of a website, home banking, and increased concentration of delivery of services to members. Meeting the financial needs of members where they work and where they live became a priority of the Credit Union’s. In 1992, a Mortgage Office was opened in Atlanta that would be easily accessible to the majority of our members and we would see our branch network grow to 13 offices. We ended the 1990’s with more than $700 million in assets and served over 80,000 members from 135 sponsor companies.
In 2000, the GK/CS Employees Federal Credit Union was merged into Georgia’s Own Credit Union and we welcomed more than 900 members into our Credit Union family. We also relocated our Century Center Branch and opened a new branch in Augusta. To streamline our lending process and offer easy access to the Credit Union, we introduced our LoanLiner Credit Plan, a Line of Credit Loan, and a new 24/7 lending program.
Striving to become our members’ primary financial institution, we obtained another full-service office in Savannah with the purchase of the Credit Union Service Center, opened our first neighborhood family-oriented branch in Lilburn and opened a branch at Lenox Park in December of 2001. We ended the year serving the financial needs of over 86,000 members and assets had climbed to $858,239,627.
In 2002, we relocated both our Conyers and our Perimeter Branch offices and also opened a Branch Office at the new BellSouth Lindbergh City Center complex. In 2003, we introduced E-Statements and Bill Pay services. We also introduced a personal financial management program through MEMBERS Financial Services to complement the savings programs at the Credit Union.
In 2004, Georgia’s Own Credit Union celebrated its 70th year of providing members with the highest level of service and continued to enhance delivery of services through technology. We began 2005 with 16 branch offices, assets of almost $1 billion and we serve over 94,000 members from 252 sponsor companies.
Another major change took place for our credit union in 2007, when in an effort to more accurately reflect our increasingly diverse Field of Membership, we changed our name to Georgia’s Own Credit Union and introduced a new brand. Since that time, we have continued to grow in a number of ways. Our membership has risen to an all-time high of 150,000+, our assets are now in excess of $1.5 billion, we now serve 12 Georgia counties and over 450 Sponsor Groups, and the successful mergers of Retail Employees Credit Union and GPC Credit Cooperative have allowed us to expand our branch operations to 22 locations throughout the state.
Georgia’s Own is an incredibly dynamic organization, with an abundance of growth potential still underway. As evident in this brief summary of the company’s history, it is an organization that adapts quickly and easily to market changes and member needs, made possible by its strong commitment to its founding principles: provide unmatched service, and always operate in the best interest of the member.