ORLANDO, Fla. — Continuing with its goal of opening more branches, FAIRWINDS Credit Union has signed an agreement to acquire two of Florida Central Credit Union's branches. The agreement, which became effective Oct. 1, follows FAIRWINDS' announcement in June that it plans to grow to 30 branches by year-end. The $1.3 billion CU's strategic growth plan calls for the addition of 10 locations each year until 2008, for a total of 50. The credit union will now serve Universal Orlando Resort employees. "As Central Florida's largest locally based financial institution, we are honored by the opportunity to extend our services to Universal Orlando Resort team members," said FAIRWINDS' President/CEO Larry Tobin. Tobin said the additional locations will be more convenient for members. The expansion will add more than 5,400 FAIRWINDS members and nine employees. Meanwhile, Ed Gallagly, president/CEO of $214 million Florida Central Credit Union, said moving out of Orlando was necessary. "Our decision to withdraw from the Orlando market was a difficult one, but one that will allow us to concentrate expansion efforts in Tampa, where we are headquartered, and along the Florida west coast," Gallagly said. "We feel confident that our members will benefit from this decision, and that they will continue to receive from FAIRWINDS Credit Union the best in financial products and member service." FAIRWINDS also joined the downtown Orlando skyline in June, becoming the anchor tenant of the 12-story office tower at Garland Avenue and Central Boulevard next to Interstate 4. FAIRWINDS will relocate its corporate headquarters to the building and has opened a new branch on the first floor.

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