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Thursday, July 18, 2024

We Florida Financial: A Community Credit Union That Helps 45,000+ Members Save and Build Credit

We Florida Financial Helps Members Build Credit
Adam West

Written by: Adam West

Adam West
Adam West

Adam corresponds with finance experts to publish industry news coverage related to helping consumers achieve greater financial literacy and improved credit. He has more than 12 years of storytelling, editing, and design experience in print and online journalism and is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores, financial products and services, and the banking industry.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In a Nutshell: We Florida Financial takes a neighborly approach to member success while serving individuals and businesses in 46 Florida counties. The credit union offers card and loan products that emphasize credit-building and hosts financial education programs to teach members and communities money management skills. That’s why We Florida Financial is a good fit for financial services newcomers, those who may need some help, and even people who have recently arrived in the U.S.

We Florida Financial maintains its mission as a community-minded credit union, even though its membership stretches across 46 Florida counties — and includes family members that live elsewhere in the U.S.

The credit union focuses on the needs of consumers in the state, and it offers relevant products and services to 45,000 members and counting. The credit union also strives to improve financial well-being in every community it serves.

One prime example of its community commitment came in 2021 when the credit union launched a partnership with innovative financial education provider Zogo. The app provides users with rewards points when they master lessons on financial topics.

We Florida Financial logo

Users can redeem those points for gift cards at retailers, including Starbucks and Amazon. Zogo is a pioneer in financial education for Gen Z consumers, and We Florida Financial wanted to bring that knowledge to its members.

When We Florida Financial partnered with Zogo, it established a code for users to connect with the credit union and redeem their points. Within just a few months, more than 10,000 users had signed up and started to earn rewards.

“We were an early Zogo adopter and have probably been one of its biggest success stories,” said Dawn Clark, We Florida Financial VP of Marketing. “Our goal is to introduce more people to credit unions by making financial resources available to people of all ages.”

And the credit union has seen plenty of success — even beyond its own account holders. The vast majority of those Zogo sign-ons were from nonmembers, with We Florida Financial footing the rewards bill to help them learn.

“What happened was that someone on TikTok documented their experience on Zogo with our code,” Clark said. “And growth just exploded.”

Supporting Members as They Start Their Credit Journeys

The TikTok connection exemplifies the effectiveness of viral marketing to reach younger consumers who use mobile and social platforms for just about everything. When younger users apply for membership with We Florida Financial, they can find products and services that address their needs.

We Florida Financial can meet the different financial needs and goals of members of all ages. The credit union helps people who are new to financial services build their credit, and it also reaches out to members who may be recovering from financial setbacks and need a fresh start.

The credit-building process may start before a credit product comes into the picture for both of those segments.

Through its Encore Savings and Checking accounts, We Florida Financial works directly with members who may need assistance with deposit products while they’re fixing things. It’s also a great way to get up and running with financial services by focusing on fundamentals.

Photo of a We Florida Financial branch
We Florida Financial has a significant presence in the dynamic South Florida market.

We Florida Financial’s First Step Loan combines credit-building and savings-building products. The credit union deposits the loan amount into an interest-bearing account and holds it while members make payments. When the loan is repaid, they can access the deposit funds. That means waiting to access funds until they pay the loan in full maximizes the interest payout.

We Florida Financial’s Visa Secured card is a full-fledged credit product for those looking to get back on track and includes a limit of up to $2,000 and car rental collision protection. The Visa Secured card enables automatic payments from checking or savings accounts and is a safe way to build credit — especially when utilization is kept low.

“If you’ve had bad experiences with your finances, we’ll give you a second chance to help you build back up,” Clark said.

Incentivizing Member and Community Education

We Florida Financial has a Visa Platinum card in its lineup and a comprehensive rewards product in the planning stages. The Visa Platinum card has a limit of up to $50,000 and comes with Visa’s Warranty Manager Service and a collection of travel perks.

Meanwhile, with Zogo, We Florida Financial spearheads one of the latest trends in financial services education — gamification. Zogo presents modules that correspond with the user’s age and ability. The app leads learners through their chosen topics using its internal logic.

Those users can also get paid while increasing financial competency. That appeals to learners at financial institutions in all 50 states.

“We’re a small team,” Clark said. “We’re trying to leverage partnerships to own our financial literacy.”
That commitment extends to a partnership with Florida-based credit counseling service Consolidated Credit, which provides KOFE (Knowledge of Financial Education) to the credit union and its members.

We Florida Financial members can access KOFE through a unique code to find articles, videos, webinars, interactive courses, and even live coaching. Those resources can help consumers of all ages develop skills to manage their money more effectively.

KOFE content also helps the We Florida Financial team when it goes out into communities. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of its activities centered around seminars given to employee groups and through community partners — including libraries.

Now, online content leads the way, and on-demand webinars go out to corporate partners and others. Each is customized for the audience and includes information about signing up with We Florida Financial.

“We had to scramble to figure out what our virtual world would look like during the pandemic,” Clark said. “It was beneficial to have this base to start from.”

We Florida Financial: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

We Florida Financial remains a full-service credit union that focuses on its service to communities. It reaches individuals and businesses with a complete range of products and services.

That sometimes means developing products designed to appeal to specific segments of its member base.

For example, the credit union offers financing for aircraft purchase, maintenance, and flight training. It also includes robust loan offerings for those interested in purchasing boats and RVs.

We Drive is the credit union’s free car-buying service for members. The service is available through partnerships with area dealers and is perfect for first-time car and motorcycle buyers. We Drive advisors can match members with the right vehicle and secure financing options through its step-by-step process.

“We try to put you in the right car at the right price, with a payment you can afford,” Clark said.

We Florida Financial strives to meet members and communities where they are, with products and information they can use to forge their own path forward. Based in the dynamic Florida region, the credit union reaches out with educational web content in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.

And the credit union is always looking for new ways to provide more accessible products and services.

“For people who are new to financial services and credit unions, understanding all the different products can be confusing,” Clark said. “We’re looking hard at that and trying to make sure that what we’re offering is always what our members need and want.”

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