Offering locally-based lending decisions, a suite of free products and a staff grounded in the principles of securing member data and giving back to its community, it is no wonder Bayport Credit Union is a favorite choice for banking and financial dream building.
Originally, George Dudley, chief executive officer and president of Bayport Credit Union, aspired to be an FBI agent. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting at 21, he was accepted by the FBI but had to be at least 23 years old before being allowed out in the field. Opting to wait a few years, he returned to his Hampton Roads home and became an accountant for Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Employees’ Credit Union (founded in 1928 and now Bayport). He’s been there for 42 years.
“I thought I would work here for a year or two,” he says. “I just fell in love with what we do.”
Dudley was promoted to CEO of Bayport Credit Union in 1994. He is married to Donna Lucado Dudley, has three grown children and six grandchildren.
“We have expanded our branch network, especially on the Southside,” Dudley says of their 23 branches. “We are a community credit union but still shipyard based.”
Last November, Bayport opened its corporate headquarters and banking location on Bayport Way with plenty of available parking and drive-ups.
“The bread and butter of what we do is our free checking,” Dudley says. “We offer mobile banking, debit cards, etc. It’s hard to beat our suite of products and it’s [mostly] free.”
Bayport provides automobile, mortgage and business lending, with all lending decisions made locally. It also offers savings, certificates and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
“One of the most important parts of my job is protecting member data,” Dudley says. “It’s scary the number of phishing emails we all receive. Do not give your data to someone calling you. We are going to stand behind and protect our members in any case.”
Over the last couple of years, Bayport has been helping local citizens with financial education.
“We do financial football camps with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Gloucester, Southside, Suffolk…,” says Monte Crowl, vice president of marketing. “We’ve had a 35 to 55 percent increase in knowledge in just a week.”
In 2017, Bayport’s Relay for Life team raised $31,000 to help fight cancer. It has been the regional sponsor and provides teams for the Peninsula and Southside Alzheimer’s A Walk to Remember.
“My nine years of doing community work with BayPort to support the Alzheimer’s Association continues to be passionate, motivating and rewarding,” says Rona Altschuler, volunteer chair of the walk. “Bayport knows what it means to give back to our community.”
Bayport volunteers with Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, and Jim Mears, Bayport’s chief operating officer, is the Foodbank’s incoming president. Mears also serves on the Salvation Army advisory board, and Bayport employees volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
“This year we celebrated our 10th anniversary with Peninsula YMCA Bright Beginnings,” Crowl says. “Thirty employees go back-to-school shopping with students. Bayport donates $100 for each child.”
Bayport Adopt-a-Charity effort encourages branches to give back to charities they choose.
“Our 58th Street branch partners with Peninsula Rescue Mission,” Dudley says. “I’m proud of the staff’s efforts. They donated more than 3,000 hours last year to community charities.”
Dudley says, “Our vision statement is to improve our members’ financial well being. We want to make our members’ lives easier, whether it’s providing service or educating them on what they’re doing to help them achieve their dreams and goals.”
Bayport management has invested the last few years in an effort to build its staff’s relationships with members.
“We are making sure members know they have a person they feel comfortable with,” Dudley explains. “We’ve trained our service reps to be financial coaches so if you come in, they can help you.”
As Dudley has been active in the past with his children’s and grandchildren’s youth sports teams, he will be focused there after retiring in two years.
“I coached the Yorktown Little League’s All-star team,” he says. “My daughter Lisa played softball, and I was on the board of her softball league—she ended up playing softball for UNC.”
Dudley and his wife have season tickets to Virginia Tech home football games and make every effort to attend all home games. Dudley says he has no plans to follow his original dream of being a covert agent.
“I probably couldn’t pass the physical test I had to take back then,” he says with a smile.
It gives Dudley immense pleasure to see Bayport carry out its mission successfully. “There’s no question that serving our Bayport members and seeing them reach their financial dreams gives me great satisfaction,” Dudley adds.