ECFCU president steps down after 45 years

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 09:31 AM.

“I would never have made it except for the people in that dime store,” Smith said. “I will never forget Mr. Costin. Today I have sense of loyalty to St. Joe Hardware. I was raised to work.”

The credit union, originally the St. Joe Papermakers Credit Union, to be joined by the Gulf County Teachers Association, becoming the Community Credit Union in 1998 and later Emerald Coast, was founded with similar beliefs.

Employees helped customers, who until the teachers joined consisted of St. Joe Paper Company employees and immediate family, balance their checkbooks.

The credit union established a phone exchange, called Timber Chatter and later Sandy Shores, which provided host of services.

Customers called the number, dialed in a password and could check balances, accounts. The exchange spread to Wewahitchka, Mexico Beach and Eastpoint.

The bookkeeping was all single-entry and the bookkeeper typically took the books home with her to finish the daily accounting.

“They know people by name there,” Smith said. “You are not a number. We have done it in a small town. We have survived mergers. We have survived.”

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