< 1 minute read|Posted by Media Relations|Released

FAIRWINDS Credit Union Announces Acquisition of Citizens Bank of Florida

Orlando, FL

FAIRWINDS Credit Union today announced its intent to acquire Citizens Bank of Florida, a community financial institution with $489 million in assets. The deal will result in 10.25% market share for FAIRWINDS in Seminole County.

Founded in 1946, Citizens Bank of Florida has served the Central Florida community by providing a full range of services to its clientele, including business and personal banking. An FDIC-insured, state-chartered bank, Citizens Bank of Florida, serves its customers through six Central Florida locations.

"As an organization with deep roots in Seminole County, Citizens Bank of Florida shares FAIRWINDS’ values of commitment to community and putting our members and customers first," said FAIRWINDS President and CEO Larry Tobin. "We look forward to welcoming Citizens Bank of Florida customers as new members of FAIRWINDS. We believe they will find great value in our approach to providing exceptional personal service along with our products and programs designed to promote financial freedom and independence. They will have access to 31 additional branch locations throughout Central Florida and a robust online and mobile banking platform. Additionally, Citizens’ customers will still feel right at home as FAIRWINDS will be retaining Citizens’ employees."

The transaction will give a sizeable boost to FAIRWINDS’ commercial portfolio, which currently stands at $387 million. Post-acquisition, the portfolio will reach over $600 million.

"FAIRWINDS has a large consumer portfolio serving over 200,000 members, while Citizens Bank of Florida excels in their commercial portfolio, in addition to serving consumer accounts," said Phil Tischer, FAIRWINDS’ Chief Operating Officer. “The transaction will strengthen our established and growing commercial banking team and product offering.”

"For 75 years, Citizens Bank of Florida has done a wonderful job of serving the constituents of our community by providing honesty and fair dealing, first articulated by our bank’s founder," said Citizens Bank of Florida President and CEO Rick Lee. "We are very confident that FAIRWINDS has our customers’ best interest in mind and will provide the outstanding service they deserve. I am equally confident that FAIRWINDS will continue our efforts supporting the communities in which we operate."

FAIRWINDS and Citizens Bank of Florida have a history of working together in the community. Most recently, in 2020, FAIRWINDS and Citizens partnered to assist in the development of The Black Venture Fund. The non-profit organization exists to provide for the organizational support and business success of minority-owned businesses. While the Fund targets participants in the East Seminole County area, participation has been expanded beyond the original target areas. The Fund is off to a solid start, with the first group of business start-ups completing a 12-week program. FAIRWINDS will continue to support this endeavor.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to be completed in December of 2021. Headquartered in Orlando, FAIRWINDS is committed to making Central Florida a thriving and successful community for its members and employees. The $3.9 billion credit union has been recognized as one of the best credit unions in Florida by Forbes, and one of the best places to work by Florida Trend, the Orlando Business Journal and Credit Union Journal.

FAIRWINDS Credit Union was advised in this transaction by Shutts & Bowen, LLP as legal counsel and Skyway Capital Markets LLC as financial adviser. Citizens Bank of Florida was advised in this transaction by Smith Mackinnon, PA as legal counsel and Hovde Group, LLC as financial adviser.

About Citizens Bank of Florida Citizens Bank of Florida is led by President and CEO Richard H. Lee, and is headquartered in Oviedo, Florida. It was founded July 1, 1946 to fill a need for a community bank in the Oviedo area. The Bank has six branches and $489 million in assets. Employees contribute in their community by serving in many different charity and service organizations and Chambers of Commerce to support local businesses. "Citizens Bank of Florida has grown with the local community and has been successful over the last 75 years by following our founders’ dedication to service-driven relationship banking," Mr. Lee says.