Hirabayashi is one of the longest tenured financial institution CEOs in Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 6, 2023 – John Hirabayashi, CEO and president of Community First Credit Union, has announced his intention to retire from the organization in 2024. Hirabayashi will continue to lead Community First until a successor is in place. The organization will conduct a national search for a new CEO and president beginning in October, a process which is expected to take nine months.
“The Board of Directors has adopted a comprehensive succession plan to professionally manage this process,” said Board Chair Malinda “Lindy” Prudencio who will also lead the search committee. “The Board is fully prepared for this transition and will provide continuity of service throughout.”
Hirabayashi joined the credit union as CEO in 1996 when he came to Jacksonville to lead the credit union when it was known as Educational Community Credit Union, which had $200 million in assets, 44,000 members and seven branches. Under Hirabayashi’s leadership, the credit union has grown exponentially, become a community-chartered credit union, and rebranded as Community First Credit Union.
Community First Credit Union now serves more than 171,000 members with more than $2.7 billion in assets, making it one of Florida’s largest credit unions. Community First is headquartered in Jacksonville and has 19 branch locations and three new branches in development. It has over 400 employees.
“This evolution and growth reflects the credit union’s mission to improve quality of life and banking services to residents and businesses of the Jacksonville region,” said Hirabayashi. “I’m honored to lead Community First to live its "purpose” by empowering its employees, members, and the community to live their best lives.”
Hirabayashi is also credited with building an exceptional team of C-suite executives along with a diverse leadership team who bring decades of experience managing credit union operations, building outstanding member service experiences, and delivering consistently strong financial performance.
Community First is undertaking the most aggressive branch network expansion plan in its history, which represents an unprecedented capital investment in serving more members in more places across the region. It currently has three expansion branches in construction and development. In 2022, Community First had strong growth in assets and membership and a 20% growth in total loans, an institution record.
Community First was founded in Downtown Jacksonville in 1935 and remains Downtown Jacksonville’s longest continually operating financial institution. It has two HQ locations in LaVilla. Community First consistently outperforms the national averages in various indicators of financial strength and stability among credit unions.
Upon retirement in mid-2024, Hirabayashi plans to remain active in the Jacksonville community, enjoy travel with his wife Jan and visit with his four adult children who live outside Jacksonville.
Community First Credit Union was recognized as a Florida Credit Union of the Year in 2022 by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Affiliates (LSCU). It is also a 2023 “Best Places to Work” in Jacksonville.
Community First Credit Union of Florida, named Florida’s 2022 Credit Union of the Year by the LSCU, is a state-chartered credit union based in Jacksonville serving anyone who lives or works on the First Coast. Community First is one of the largest credit unions in Florida with $2.7 billion in assets and serving 171,000 members. Community First has 19 locations and nearly 400 employees and is also a 2023 “Best Places to Work.” A not-for-profit, Community First is a full-service financial institution offering banking, loans, mortgages and investments for consumers and businesses across the First Coast.