Community First Federal Credit Union entered into an agreement in August with the Guam Federation of Teachers to offer credit union accounts and tailored services to GFT’s members.

According to David P. Leddy marketing and business development director of Community First “The federation is not a preferred member but like all other associations that Community First has our relationship is unique. Like all of our other members with Community First we try to tailor our products to their unique situations or needs.”

Gerard A. Cruz president and chief executive officer of Community First Federal Credit Union told the Journal “The Guam Federation of Teachers approached us about eight to 12 months ago looking for the credit union that would benefit its members the most. Over the last three months our relationship and business has really taken off.” So far up to 100 GFT members have signed on adding to the 7 500 members of the credit union.

Community First Federal Credit Union is a full service financial institution and provides GFT members with products such as checking and savings accounts and also access to its loan programs. Cruz said “Through co-branding we can give members of GFT the feel of a product that is uniquely theirs. Community First knows that the Guam Federation of Teachers represents people who work under unique circumstances. Take teachers as an example — unless teachers are on a 12-month payment plan they only get paid eight months out of the year. At Community First we believe that we can tailor our products to help them deal with that situation.”

Cruz said Community First has a successful business plan which can be applied to the federation and its members.

According to Matt Rector president of the Guam Federation of Teachers “Besides the services that Community First Federal Credit Union provides GFT’s members with GFT also runs its cash payments through Community First and it has also established a solidarity fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.” Rector said “We are a community based organization and were looking for the credit union that our members would benefit the most from.” He said “I can’t give out the exact number of members we represent because it is proprietary information but we do represent over 8 000 people.”

In the future the federation hopes to create its own credit union for its members with the help of the credit union.

Rector said “Community First would run the credit union while it trains the staff and once the staff is ready Community First would hand the reins over to GFT.”

Cruz said the union’s plan was still in discussion. “There is no timeline but the people at Community First have experienced what it is like to start up a credit union. We know what works and what doesn’t work and believe that GFT will be able to benefit from our experience.”

Cruz said the relationship between the two organizations was a good fit. “When the Guam Federation of Teachers approached Community First it was important to us to make sure that there was proper mix of goals and values between the two.”

According to the GFT Web site ( “The GFT is a union of professionals dedicated to protecting the rights of government of Guam workers and their families since 1965. GFT members include school teachers principals guidance counselors librarians bus drivers secretaries teacher aides and other school-related professionals; faculty and professionals of higher education institutions including the University of Guam Guam Community College employees of the Guam Department of Public Works and health-care professionals.” MBJ