SRQ Magazine | BRANDSTORY: Achieva Credit Union March 2020

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Above Left: The seven Pinellas County teachers who formed Achieva Credit Union in 1937 RIght: Inside of Achieva Credit Union with their state of the art teller pods

It all started in 1937 when seven Pinellas County teachers were denied a loan from a bank. The teachers soon banded together to form a financial institution of their own – a credit union – with just $99.25. Today, Achieva Credit Union has more than $1.7 billion in assets, and over 160,000 members across 26 branches. 28,000 of those members are right here in Sarasota. Achieva was ranked number 9 on Forbes’ list of Florida’s 10 Best Credit Unions in 2019. And an added bonus — you can bring your dog into any pet-friendly branch. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that have

the same host of products and services as banks do — but where Achieva differs is that their main priority is on customer service and the well being of all their members. Achieva puts their attention on what matters most — you, your family and your financial well being. Credit unions like Achieva are owned by their members, not outside shareholders. This means Achieva’s profits are returned back to members in the form of reduced fees, lower loan rates, higher savings rates and a more personalized approach to member service.

A TRU E “ C ENTS” O F CO M M UNI T Y ADVANCING EDUCATION Since Achieva Credit Union was founded by teachers, it only makes sense to get behind Sarasota schools in meaningful ways.

Achieva has been in Sarasota for 10 years and has been proud to be a GOOD neighbor every step of the way – whether it’s through raising money for schools during their annual Run for Good event at Payne Park or putting their hard hats on with Habitat for Humanity Sarasota at Hammock Place.

BACK 2 SCHOOL BASH Hosted at the Sarasota Square Mall and University Town Center, Achieva handed out free backpacks and schoolsupplies to local students at this event. Achieva also awarded students for their academic achievements: If they showed their report cards as proof that they made honor roll, they received a $25 bonus when opening an Achieva account. ACHIEVA RUN FOR GOOD Achieva hosts this annual family-friendly 5K run and walk, kids run, and dog walk to benefit Sarasota schools. (Spoiler alert: The event includes a costume contest for dogs). WILKINSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Achieva has handed out “good job bucks” to Wilkinson Elementary students for their punctuality, attendance and good grades. The students use the good job bucks to spend at the school’s “Positive Behavior School Store,” which was created to reward students for good behavior. At the store, students can purchase things like pencils, lanyards, and logoed items from their school. Students are also encouraged to save at least $50 worth of “good job bucks” for a special end-of-the-school year bash.

Above: Achieva Run for Good finish line

HERON CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL GRANT Using funds raised from the Run for GOOD, Achieva awarded a classroom grant to students at Heron Creek Middle School. The money was used for a hands-on activity where the kids learned about bees and beehives – a unique experience Achieva team members were fortunate enough to see firsthand. SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS Achieva awards annual college scholarships to deserving high school students who plan to major in education. But that’s not all. Working with the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Achieva has given 120 classroom grants – a total of $200,000 – to deserving Sarasota teachers since the partnership began in 2011.


Below: Dog at the Achieva Run for Good


For more information about Achieva Credit Union, visit

People often think that financial institutions are just a place to deposit and withdraw money. But that’s not the case. Sure, Achieva can help you open up a checking account, get a car loan, or transfer your high credit card balance to a low-interest card. But Achieva is also big on helping you achieve your financial goals, whether you’re a renter who wants to be a homebuyer, or a parent looking for money-saving back-to-school shopping tips. In Sarasota, Achieva has hosted several financial literacy sessions for students and their parents at Wilkinson, Alta Vista, and Ashton Elementary schools. Adults and kids alike learned financial tips like how to budget and ways to save money as a family. Keep an eye out for upcoming “Cash Classes,” which are financial literacy seminars to teach attendees things like managing their money and how to protect themselves from identity theft. Visit Achieva’s website or Facebook page for regular updates.

Above: Habitat for Humanity home built at Hammock Place

Above: Two local boys at the 2018 Achieva Run for Good

ADDRESSING AFFORDABLE HOUSING Achieva partnered with Habitat for Humanity Sarasota to help build three homes at Hammock Place, a planned community which will have 40 single-family homes. From painting and flooring to interior framing, the Achieva team was pumped to work in the community alongside the members they serve. And currently, Liz Watts, branch manager at Achieva’s Bee Ridge location, is out in the community supporting local Habitat families as they go through the program. Working with a committee team, Watts mentors Habitat families to ensure they’re keeping up with their work hours and attending financial literacy classes about homeownership.

SUPPORTING UNDERSERVED FAMILIES Achieva strives to make the holidays a bit brighter for hundreds of Sarasota families each year. That’s why Achieva teams up with the Salvation Army to host “Angel Trees” at its Sarasota branches – a way to collect gifts like bikes, barbies, and clothing for neighbors in need.

Left: Starting line at the Achieva Run for Good

A N E IG H B OR WO RT H G E T T I N G TO K NOW THE MYTHS - BUSTED There are certain taboos and erroneous myths associated with credit unions. From “It’s too hard to join a credit union”, to “My money will be hard to access” and “Credit unions don’t have the technology that banks have”, the realty is this: Eligibility is not limited. You don’t have to be a teacher or service worker to become a credit union member. To join Achieva, you just have to live or work in its 15-county area of membership, which includes Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Your money is not hard to access. You might not see a credit union on every corner, but you’ll still have easy access to your money. That’s because credit unions are part of cooperative networks. In fact, Achieva has 5,000 shared branch locations and 30,000 ATM locations nationwide, so your credit union is local, but not limited. Credit unions are just as tech-savvy as banks. Achieva offers online banking, a mobile banking app with remote check deposit, membership perks, discount programs and identity theft protection services and a specialty checking account with identity theft protection services and cell phone protection.

OUT WIT H T H E OL D WAYS OF B A N K IN G When you stop by an Achieva branch, you won’t see any oldschool teller lines or stuffy service. You’ll get personal service from real, live humans who know you’re a member of the family – not just an account number. When you walk in to a branch, you aren’t left wondering where to go. You’re always greeted by one of their friendly Branch Ambassadors. Achieva is all about service and making sure all members are well taken care of.

Additionally, Achieva has a full suite of products and services for every stage of your life, including: • • • • • • •

Checking and savings accounts Credit cards Auto, bike, boat and RV loans Mortgage and home equity loans Personal loans Wealth management Business banking and lending

Visit online or stop by a local branch to join Achieva. 3000 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota | 5881 Fruitville Road, Sarasota | 4254 53rd Avenue East, Bradenton | 1485 East Venice Avenue, Venice CHARLOTTE, COLLIER, DESOTO, GLADES, HARDEE, HENDRY, HERNANDO, HIGHLANDS, HILLSBOROUGH, LEE, MANATEE, MONROE, PASCO, PINELLAS AND SARASOTA.


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