TAMPA, Fla. – The credit union industry has lost one of the true innovators in legendary credit union leader George Hobar. Hobar, 78, died on January 24. He was CEO of GTE FCU from 1960 to 1991. Although he retired in 1991, he stayed involved with GTE FCU as a board member up until about two years ago. “He was a wonderful man, a real innovator. He was always willing to explore the next service, the next product,” said current GTE FCU President/CEO Bucky Sebastian, who succeeded Hobar. Probably one of his greatest contributions to the industry was his work in payment systems. Under Hobar’s direction, GTE and four other Tampa-area credit unions bought a card processing company from the Florida Bankers Association and started what is now Payment Systems for Credit Unions. GTE was the first credit union in the world to issue Visa credit cards, and was the first in Florida and one of the earliest nationwide to issue share drafts. Hobar’s credit union career started at NCUA as an examiner, which he did for five years before landing the GTE job. He was active on many levels of the industry, serving as a CUNA director, chapter president for the Tampa Chapter of Credit Unions, chairman for Florida Central Credit Union, chairman of Florida Credit Union Services, Inc., and others. He served as a tank operator in World War II and attended the University of Pittsburgh on the GI Bill. Hobar’s memorial service was held on Jan. 27. He is survived by his wife Jean, and their three children, Jorgene, Craig, and Coby.

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