Kevin Winters’ interest in finance was sparked through a partnership his high school had with businesses in his community.
In his junior and senior years, he spent half his day at Minonk-Dana-Rutland High in Minonk, Ill., and the other half working as a bank teller.
“It worked out really well for me,” said Winters, the president and chief executive officer of RCT Federal Credit Union, which has served employees of the Richmond County Board of Education since 1963.
After working in the traditional banking industry, Winters moved to the credit union side about a decade ago, becoming vice president of operations for BrightStar Credit Union, which serves the Broward County school district in Florida.
Credit unions have more of a family feel than traditional large banks, Winters said.
“I have customers who come and give me hugs,” he said.
The 2005 hurricane season and its aftermath led Winters to look north and inland for new job opportunities.
While Hurricane Katrina is the most notorious storm from that year, several others, including Hurricane Wilma, hit Florida in 2005.
Winters oversaw seven credit union branches in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. area.
Because they had generators, the branches opened within a few days of the storm, when other financial institutions were still closed.
The credit union had to turn away bank customers who were not credit union members.
Winters came to Augusta in July 2006 and has worked to get the word out to employees of Richmond County’s school system about the credit union’s products and services.
“There are a lot of teachers and custodians who still don’t know who we are,” he said.
The credit union offers most standard bank services, including checking and savings accounts, online banking and bill paying, individual retirement accounts, mortgages and car loans.
Its office is on the first floor of the school board’s Broad Street offices.
In 2013, RCT will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and there are plans to expand into south Augusta.
“We plan to have a presence both places,” Winters said. “We want to maintain ties in the central office but have a satellite office in south Augusta.”