Women in Business - 2020 - Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union

October 2020
(Top row, left to right) Evelyn Ramirez Underwriter, 16 Years; Barbara Hearl Member Service Representative, 28 Years; Chris Kawenski Senior Operation Specialist, 27 Years; Selma Reburn Executive Assistant, 33 Years, (Bottom row, left to right) Cynthia Hucks Lake City Branch Senior Teller, 18 Years; Stephanie Thorpe Collector II, 15 Years; Paula Graves Member Service Representative, 24 Years; Keli Herring AVP of Operations, 19 Years

Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union
1010 21st Ave. N.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
(843) 448-2133
Facebook and Instagram: @carolinatrustfcu

Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union started as the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Federal Credit Union in 1958. We are a not-for-profit financial institution serving individuals who live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, volunteer or attend school in Horry, Georgetown, Marion, Williamsburg, and southern Florence County (south of Lynches River), South Carolina, and Brunswick County, North Carolina.

As a not-for-profit financial institution, our profits are returned to our members, and they are the only reason that Carolina Trust exists. Therefore, it is the goal of every employee to provide personal attention, competitive rates, low fees, and innovative services. We offer competitive loans and credit cards, mortgage options, and traditional consumer and banking services but with lower fees. We provide our members with access to free online and mobile banking with mobile deposit, immediate-issue debit cards, and eAlerts for real-time account management. Carolina Trust belongs to the CO-OP Shared Branch Network, enabling members to conduct financial transactions
from thousands of credit union locations across the U.S. the same as they would at their local branch.

Our mission statement is central to establishing our future goals and business decisions: Preserving Our Past, Improving Our Present, Building Our Future: Owners Serving Owners. At the end of the day, how did we help people finance their new home or braces for their child? Who did we enlighten through financial education and personal financial advice? How did we help our members save money on interest and fees or save time through convenient services? Asking these questions helps enhance current services and expand our direction. We explore ways to improve service via the dedicated staff we employ and train, the technologies we incorporate, and the processes we work to simplify for members. We’re big enough to offer a full array of robust financial services but small enough to make local decisions and remain vested in the local communities we serve. Whether you bring thousands of dollars to deposit or you’re shopping for your first auto loan, everyone is a valued Credit Union owner who deserves our determination to put people ahead of profits—now and in the future. 

Both our mission statement and people helping people philosophy have helped shape our response to the current pandemic. We have made several changes to our branch operations and procedures since the onset of the pandemic to keep our staff, our members, and the community safe. We adjusted to drivethru only transactions, alternated schedules to limit staff interactions and paid employees when not scheduled, helped employees work from home by upgrading and purchasing necessary software, provided masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray for employees, installed plexiglass shields in all memberfacing offices and provided weekly lunches for employees. 

Before the pandemic, we had some back-office employees who worked from home. Now, that number has increased significantly across positions, and we are able to run our business through a remote workforce if necessary. Dealing with the unknowns and constant shift that accompanies a pandemic has made us more flexible as an organization. We continue to see ourselves as the financial cooperative that puts people ahead of profits by offering recovery services to members hit hardest by the pandemic, as well as expanded digital services for those who prefer to conduct many of their banking transactions remotely.

This year we received several awards from local and national organizations due to the outstanding work and dedication of our employees:

  • American Business Award Gold Stevie for Most Valuable Employer and Silver Stevie for Most Valuable HR Team in the COVID-19 Response Category
  • Best Places to Work in South Carolina by SC Biz News in partnership with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and Best Companies Group, third year in a row
  • Best Credit Unions to Work For by Credit Union Journal, second year in a row
  • Best of the Grand Strand Best in Banking by WMBF News, second year in a row
  • Gold (2), Silver (2), and Bronze (1) Marketing Association of Credit Unions Awards for our business lending commercial, partnership with Coastal Carolina University, billboards, Local Highlight member newsletter articles and efforts opening a temporary branch location within five weeks of the unplanned closure of our Conway branch in 2019
  • Ongoing Events Diamond Award by the Credit Union National Association Marketing and Business Development Council
  • for I’m A Buddy, Not A Bully program
  • Carolinas Credit Union Foundation Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award, 2nd Place State Level, for I’m A Buddy, Not A Bully program and Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award, 1st Place State Level and 2nd Place National Level for our Member Disaster Relief Loan 

Our advice to entrepreneurs, regardless of gender, is to develop a well-defined business plan with actionable objectives, realistic goals, and a practical marketing plan. Locally, there are many successful and thriving women-owned and women-led businesses. Consider inviting her to lunch and listening to her
story and advice.

This year we are honored to recognize the special group of women representing Carolina Trust, who have all been a part of our Credit Union family for over 15+ years.