In 1981, Larry Tobin accepted a part-time bank teller position at what would become FAIRWINDS Credit Union while pursuing his degree in finance at the University of Central Florida. Under Tobin’s leadership as president and CEO since 2003, FAIRWINDS has become one of the largest locally owned and operated financial institutions in Central Florida, while giving back as the official student banking partner to his alma mater, which is now one of the largest universities in the country.
In his decades-long career at FAIRWINDS, Tobin has witnessed countless changes in the industry but has made sure FAIRWINDS’ values have remained constant. To him, an enduring focus on members’ financial well-being has always been FAIRWINDS’ guiding principle and the key to its success. Tobin has been a savvy investor since age 18, and his goal is to see FAIRWINDS members debt-free and on their way to building wealth.
“For a lending institution, people often find it a little peculiar that we’re encouraging you to not take on debt in the first place,” Tobin said. “For consumer borrowers, we encourage shorter loan periods. For businesses, we teach proprietors to leverage an appropriate amount of debt to better manage cash flow and grow their companies.”
In addition to FAIRWINDS’ commitment to its members, Tobin also views the credit union’s extensive community involvement as crucial to its success.
“We believe in building the community where our crewmembers live,” Tobin said. “The organizations we support have special meaning to our people, and that’s always been important for us.”
Tobin oversees the myriad ways FAIRWINDS supports institutions that are dear to its community and neighbors, including the Orlando Magic, the Orlando City Soccer Club, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Central Florida. Most recently, the credit union launched the FAIRWINDS Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching Central Floridians financial literacy. “Orlando is an amazing place to live, play and work,” Tobin said. “It’s great to be part of and give back to the community.”
FAIRWINDS Foundation Furthering its commitment to community partnership, FAIRWINDS Credit Union launched a charitable foundation in 2017 dedicated to helping individuals create and achieve a path toward financial responsibility, security and freedom.The FAIRWINDS Foundation currently partners with two organizations on programs that enhance financial literacy: Junior Achievement of Central Florida (JA) and the University of Central Florida (UCF).
As the exclusive banking sponsor of JA Finance Park Virtual, a virtual simulation exercise for high school seniors in economics classes, the FAIRWINDS Foundation has brought real-life scenarios on budgeting, income calculation and more to 3,000 students in 28 schools.
The foundation also awards five $2,500 scholarships to UCF students who complete the UCF Cen$ible Knight$ financial literacy program. FAIRWINDS is a longstanding partner with UCF, serving as the official student banking service provider.
FAIRWINDS President and CEO Larry Tobin is a director of the foundation, which is led by Executive Director Garry Capton.
For more information, or to suggest an organization that would be a good fit for a financial literacy partnership, visit fairwinds.org/foundation.