Longtime Guardians Credit Union President/CEO retires

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (January 4, 2023) — Guardians Credit Union, a full-service financial institution, announced the retirement of longtime President/CEO, John Deese, effective December 31, 2022, after 44 years of service.

Deese’s long standing history with Guardians Credit Union dates back to May of 1978. At just 19 years old, he served as the credit union’s manager, later named President/CEO while attending college. Under his leadership, Deese grew the credit union from $1 million in assets to over $300 million. Over the years, Deese has led a multitude of projects for the credit union, some of the most notable including the development of new products and services, becoming a CDFI and grant-award winner, adopting unique merger models, conducting credit union re-brands, and most recently being a pioneer in the State of Florida for banking Cannabis businesses as Safe Harbor Florida a division within Guardians Credit Union.  In 2019, Guardians Credit Union was awarded LSCU’s Credit Union of the Year for its asset category, a tremendous honor made possible because of Deese’s effective leadership. And, just two years later, Deese was awarded LSCU’s Distinguished Service Award for 2021.

“When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.” John C. Maxwell said.   “John’s success as CEO of Guardians Credit Union was built on this philosophy,” Thomas Shea, Guardians Credit Union’s former Chairman of the Board said.

A highly respected leader in the credit union industry, Deese also served the credit union community well, previously serving as a CUNA Board Member, National Credit Union Foundation Board Member, and Board Member, Treasurer, Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Florida Credit Union League. He was also an active supporter and contributor to the World Council of Credit Unions and Inclusiv, as well as locally for the Palm Beach Chapter of Credit Unions where in years past, he served as President and Treasurer. And, as a strong political advocate, he proudly served on the credit union’s Governmental Affairs Committee for nearly his whole career, spending much of his time meeting with local, state and national politicians, lobbying on behalf of credit unions.

Deese embodies the credit union “people helping people” mantra. He truly is a servant leader and we are grateful for his amazing and inspiring 44 years of service to Guardians Credit Union, our industry, and the community in which we serve. In honor of his life’s work, the main office at Guardians Credit Union will be renamed the John D. Deese Service Center. We wish him much success in this new chapter of life.

Guardians Credit Union Seeks President/CEO

With the retirement of Deese, Guardians Credit Union is actively searching for a full-time President/CEO. The Board of Directors is seeking candidates with CEO/President experience managing a $100 million-dollar credit union or executive level experience at a $250 million-dollar credit union or larger.  Qualified candidates must possess proven leadership qualities, understanding of SBA and mortgage lending, compliance and regulations impacting credit unions, a thorough understanding of financial management, and the ability to maintain and expand the membership base and financial products, and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Candidates must have a minimum of 5-7 years management experience in the financial services industry with credit union experience required. A bachelor’s degree in finance (or related fields) is preferred, although comparable work experience and specialized training will be considered. Candidate must be willing to relocate and work on-site at the main office in West Palm Beach.

Please send cover letter, resume, and salary history/requirements to no later than Friday, February 10, 2023. Guardians Credit Union is an equal opportunity employer.

John Deese


About Guardians Credit Union

Guardians Credit Union is a full-service financial institution headquartered in West Palm Beach. Organized in 1953, it operates as a not-for-profit cooperative that encourages thrift by providing loans at fair and reasonable rates, paying competitive dividends on savings products and implementing fewer service fees for overall account maintenance. It is owned and operated by its members, with a board of directors and other volunteer committees chosen and staffed by members. For more information about Guardians Credit Union, contact Patrick Shandorf at 561-686-4006 ext. 1143 or (561) 351-0143 (cell), or


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