ECSFCU History - East County Schools Federal Credit Union
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ECSFCU History

Overview

ECSFCU, once GSFCU, was founded in 1956 by employees of the Grossmont Union High School District for the benefit of all employees and family members of the GUHSD. In 1956, we changed our name to Grossmont Schools Federal Credit Union and added the employees and family members of the newly formed Grossmont Community College District, now known as the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

In an effort to extend our services to the entire East County Educational Community, we increased our Field-of-Membership in March 2009 to offer this "employee benefit" to all employees and their family members of all schools within the geographic boundaries of the Grossmont Union High School District.

January 2017 our field-of-membership expanded to include some of our most Eastern school districts: Mountain Empire Unified School District, Julian Union Elementary and High School Districts and Ramona Union School District.

How it was in the early years

In 1956 the Grossmont Schools Association, a group of classified employees working in the Grossmont Union High School District , (GUHSD), wanted to start a credit union and needed at least ten people to buy one share each at $5 per share in the credit union. These ten made the credit union possible by investing in a $5 share: Zandra I. Fitch, Georgina M. LaMoe, Harry E. Bryan, Rose McCray, Mathias W. Schneider, Jack W. Snyder, Thomas H. Gould, Lee West, Herbert C. Pittman, and John T. Ahern. These employees were then contacted by certificated employees to have them included in the credit union too so our field of membership was reworded to include them. The Approval of Organization Certificate was signed May 31, 1956 and signed by the Director of the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions, which at that time came under the Social Security Administration of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The National Credit Union Administration now regulates federal credit unions. It is the only federal government agency that is completely self-supporting, requiring no taxpayer money.

When Grossmont College started in 1961 we had our field of membership enlarged to include the employees of Grossmont College since a great number of the new college employees came from the Grossmont Union High School District. We also included Cuyamaca College when they started in 1978.

When the credit union started, the office was in the Grossmont Union High School District administration building. We had to practically sit on each other's lap as the space became very crowded as we grew. Finally we were able to expand into the Xerox room next door and that helped for a while. Then the District needed our space so we moved to rented space at Magnolia and Washington Streets in El Cajon. That was heaven compared to our previous cramped quarters. Five years later, we moved to our present building at 1069 Graves Avenue in El Cajon. When the Owner/Property Management firm moved out, we had a chance to remodel this space to accommodate our continued growth. Shortly after the remodeling was complete, we purchased the building.

Our original annual membership meetings were held in the cafeteria of Grossmont High School. The credit union paid for the main course, which was prepared by the ladies in the cafeteria and the members brought the rest of the meal potluck style. Members running for the board and credit committee positions were given a chance to convince those present why they should be elected. This credit committee was made up of elected members who met weekly, at first, and then twice a week, to approve member's loans and loan modifications. They met on their lunch period in one of the empty rooms in the administration building. As we became larger we started to use loan officers who had authority to approve loans. They were selected members of the credit committee that could come over during the day and approve loans. Finally we had reached such a size that the board of directors voted to replace the credit committee with just loan officers made up of credit union employees. This way we offered better and faster service to our members. As we grew, we moved our annual membership meetings to the May Company dining room in Mission Valley and then to the Big Yellow House in La Mesa . Now that we have larger quarters, the past few years we have held the meetings in the credit union.

At first, members saved money by buying shares but no one borrowed so Thomas H. Tommy Gould (who had account number 1) became the first borrower when he received a $200 loan. After that, the members started to borrow and from their loan interest we had earnings to pay a dividend on shares. Tommy and his wife, Faye, worked for years without pay, giving up vacations and holidays to keep the books straight. When we started, we paid dividends only yearly, and the credit union would close between Christmas and New Years so Tommy and Faye could close the books, compute the dividends, and post it to the accounts. Members were warned to get their holiday money before we closed. I always had a feeling though that the Gould's would find the money that a member might need if the plea struck their hearts.

Tommy Gould had his job as truant officer for the GUHSD followed years later by heading up the classified employees personnel office. Faye Gould was a trained artist that prepared all of our whimsical and funny promotional flyers for years. She also helped sending out the member's statements and with the office work. When the work became too much for them they hired Sue Reitfors who worked in the credit union until her long-term illness and subsequent death after ten years of service. One of Sue's envious accomplishments was being able to remember the names of our members even if a year or two had gone by between their visits to the credit union. The next long-term employee was Paul R. Marsh who was hired to replace Tommy Gould when he retired as Treasurer/Manager of the credit union. Paul was with us for 29 years before he retired, and still continued to serve the credit union as a member of the Board of Directors until February 2007. Another long-term employee was Nina Carson who worked over 23 years serving the membership. As the Goulds retired, the three, Sue, Paul, and Nina provided the members with the service they needed for many years.

History of ECSFCU's Key Executives

NamePositionYears Employed
Thomas H. GouldTreasurerMay 1956 thru 1973
Paul R. MarshTreasurer/ManagerFebruary 1969 thru June 1998
Julie Given-GlancePresident & Chief Executive OfficerJuly 1998 thru June 2003
Steven A. DevanPresident & Chief Executive OfficerSeptember 2003 thru Present

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Members LoveECSFCU!

  • ECS-logo

    From the beginning of the process to the day of funding, Suzy and her assistant, Lance, were exactly what anyone would hope for when refinancing their home. They responded to all my questions with patience and in a timely manner. They let me know what to expect and when to expect it every step of the way. I couldn't be more pleased with the service I received. Thank you Suzy and Lance for making this so easy!

     

    Elissa Ellis-MacLeod, on her ECSFCU home refinance
  • ECS-logo

    My Loan Officer, Mireya, is truly an asset to ECSFCU. She is competent, articulate, sweet and compassionate. When there was an error in the payoff of my car, Mireya personally took a credit union check and drove it to the dealer to correct it, the same day. We are thankful for the time and effort she put into this important transaction.  That’s customer service, and she is leading the pack!

     

     

    Jack Charles, Grossmont High School District, retired
  • Kevin Miller original headshot-01

    Kevin Miller likes to connect good people to great resources. He’s been an enthusiastic fan of East County Schools Federal Credit Union since 2013 when we were known to the education community as Grossmont Schools Federal Credit Union, more than five years ago. “Every person I’ve referred to ECSFCU has raved about the lower rates, better terms and great treatment they get.” From 4.00%APR eChecking to amazing auto loan rates to 0% interest classroom loans, he says, “There has never been a dropped ball or bad experience for anyone I’ve ever referred to ECSFCU.”

    Kevin Miller - Administrative Pastor of Foothills Christian Church
  • Cathy Sprecco with Koala - Australia 2015

    I had a fantastic trip to Switzerland and Austria this past summer with East County Schools FCU and the SD East County Chamber of Commerce. This was my 6th trip with this fun group! The Educator Tour, guided by the infamous Steve Devan, is the perfect way to truly see and experience any country. The train ride through the Alps was a personal favorite and such an amazing experience. Seeing and hearing cows and goats with real bells grazing on the side of the mountains made me want to sing a favorite "Sound of Music" song and look for Heidi or her grandpa around every turn! I really felt immersed in the culture. The extra servings of warm apple strudel helped too!

     I am a single traveler and all worries are put aside on these well-coordinated trips. Almost everything is taken care of for the travelers so I always feel spoiled! The fellow Educator Tour travelers that I have met from other districts and other walks of life have become my life-long friends! These trips are so dear to me that I have a separate savings travel account where I dedicate a small monthly amount to be ready for the next country!

    Come join us!

    Cathy Sprecco - First Grade Teacher in Lakeside Union School District
  • Grant Nelson 2019

    When I became an ECSFCU member, I immediately refinanced my house and got better rates for two cars. East County School employees who are just starting out, this is the best place to be! ECSFCU can help you secure your financial life.

    Grant Nelson - 8th Grade History Teacher in La Mesa Spring Valley Schools
  • Grant Nelson 2019

    While overseas I found myself in the frightening situation of being out of cash and with two debit cards from other financial institutions that weren’t working, despite my travel notice pre-planning. ECSFCU’s amazing member services team stayed late on a Friday to approve and immediately fund a quick loan that made the rest of our trip wonderful. Nobody else does that! Not only is it something that I will never forget, but it’s something I want to tell everyone about.

    Grant Nelson - 8th Grade History Teacher, La Mesa Spring Valley Schools
  • Marcel Becker testimonial
    What mattered to me, was that I needed the money to buy a motorhome, and I needed it now. This is the fastest I've ever experienced for a loan. It's never been this easy or this pleasant and I could tell that this was simply the way ECSFCU serves all of their members; it's their culture. I wasn't a member when I started, but I am now.
    Marcel Becker - General Manager, Trident Maritime Systems and Career Technical Education and Ethics in Business partner with GUHSD
  • Todd Linke IMG_4888 no wording cropped
    After financing a newly purchased truck with ECS, Todd wrote: Thank you for your efficient and friendly service! I always appreciate the "small bank" customer service, but the "big bank" options!
    Todd Linke, Mount Miguel HS Science Department
  • Karl Danielson 2018
    I've bought three cars through the credit union. They make it very easy, very simple, and you can't beat the interest rate. I highly endorse them, their friendly staff, and the service that East County Schools gives its members!
    Karl Danielson Granite Hills HS Television, Film and Digital Media Teacher
  • ECSFCU is big enough to approve loans with great rates and small enough to provide personal service and products that are important to the educational community.
    Randy Montesanto Grossmont Union High School District
  • We bank with East County Schools Federal Credit Union and learned they also have a great car buying service! We decided to look into it and ended up with the best customer service, an amazing price, no hassle of going to the dealership, and a brand new 2017 Honda Accord Sport! A year later, we were in need of another car for our growing family. It was an easy decision to go with the credit union and New Cars Inc again. The process and customer service didn’t disappoint once again, and we love our new 2018 Honda CRV! A big thank you to New Cars Inc and ECSFCU!
    Carly and Luke Esquerra