The Member Newsletter
May 2021
New leader named at credit union
Ashley Beach-Reid has been appointed chief operating officer of 1st Cooperative Federal Credit Union, effective June 1. She will lead the daily operations of the 50-year-old financial institution that serves members associated with electric cooperatives in all 46 counties of the state.

Current COO, Jo Ann Burnside, retires on June 4 following a nearly 20-year career with 1st Cooperative and 39 years in the credit union industry.

Beach-Reid (pictured) comes to 1st Cooperative from State Employee Credit Union in Maryland, Inc., where she has worked for almost 14 years in loan servicing, loan accounting and most recently as the senior manager for lending operations. SECU has $4 billion in assets and is Maryland’s largest credit union, serving members from Baltimore to Maryland’s eastern shore.

“1st Cooperative has enjoyed steady growth under the focused leadership of Jo Ann Burnside, and we want to continue that success with Ashley Beach-Reid,” said board Chairman Keith Avery. “We completed a broad search and interviewed candidates from South Carolina and across the Southeast. Ashley stood out as an energetic, experienced professional who is ready for another leadership role.”

1st Cooperative President Mike Couick saluted Jo Ann for her commitment to the credit union’s success over the past two decades, noting that assets had grown from $8.9 million in 2001, when she became COO, to $22 million today.

“The COO position is the staff leader of our credit union,” said Couick. “We’re pleased to have it headquartered with the state association of electric cooperatives, but my focus, as the association’s CEO, is on electric cooperative issues. As president of the credit union, I depend on the COO to make it successful. Jo Ann has certainly been a star in that role.”

Avery said the board sought a new COO who would build on the existing solid foundation and maximize service to the credit union’s field of membership.

Beach-Reid earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Salisbury University. She and her husband have two young children, the older of whom has already inquired about the possibility of getting a pet turtle in his new home town.

“Everyone in this family has their own priorities,” she said. “Mine is to help grow this wonderful financial institution while expanding its 21st century, gold-level service to members. It’s impressive to find a credit union with such member loyalty.”
Members saved big money during balance transfer special
Members saved almost $30,000 over the past three months as they transferred balances to Visa Platinum credit cards from 1st Cooperative Federal Credit Union.

“We had a member who was paying 26.99%. That’s an outrageous rate, especially when your credit union can do so much better,” said COO Jo Ann Burnside. “This is real money. It’s impressive every time we offer this special 6.99% transfer rate.”

Balances totaling almost $113,000 were transferred since February 1 from other cards to existing and new 1st Cooperative Visa cards.

The lowest rate being paid by a member who made a transfer was 10.45%. The special transfer rate ended on April 20, but even regular 1st Cooperative Visa Platinum rates can be as low as 8.5%.

“We wanted our members to have a great credit card that is free and easy to use, has lower interest rates and provides a generous awards program,” Burnside said. "The Visa Platinum delivers."

Credit union membership is open to electric cooperative employees, trustees and their family members, which includes spouses, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws. More information is available at
"1st is my first choice"
When DeShawn Simmons decided to buy a boat, he knew exactly where to turn for a loan.

"I already had an auto loan with 1st Cooperative, and I knew they always go the extra mile to make sure their members are satisfied," said DeShawn, field service tech for Berkeley Electric Cooperative. "They made my first boat purchase one of the smoothest transactions I've ever experienced. They'll continue to be my first choice when it comes to my banking needs."

If you're fishing for a new boat, and you're ready to finance, give 1st Cooperative a call at (803) 796-0234.

Pictured: DeShawn Simmons and his new boat financed through 1st Cooperative.
Say hello to Kristen
Kristen Zeigler
Kristen Zeigler is the new 1st Cooperative Federal Credit Union contact at Tri-County Electric Cooperative. She's also the human resources and benefits coordinator at the co-op.

"I joined the Tri-County team in January, and I'm excited to be a new member of the co-op family," said Kristen.

Kristen lives in Saint Matthews with her husband, Barrett, and their three fur babieshuskieswhich talk A LOT, she said.

"I'm looking forward to my future and a long career with Tri-County," said Kristen.

Tri-County Electric employees with questions about credit union services can go straight to Kristen for the answers, or they can visit 1st Co-op's website 24/7 at

Pictured: Kristen Zeigler, Tri-County Electric's new credit union contact.
Hearing is believing
John Middleton
When he's not making loans for members, 1st Cooperative's John Middleton is singing the credit union's praises.

Actually, he's not singinghe's just letting co-op employees know about all the great benefits of credit union membership.

"Every time I visit with a group of employees, someone new joins the credit union," John said. "Every single time. I guess that speaks for itself."

So far this year, John's visited with employees at Newberry Electric Cooperative (top photo) and first-year lineworkers at their training class in Cayce (bottom photo).

Where will John show up next? Ask your credit union contact today to schedule a visit.

Top photo: John Middleton visits with employees at Newberry Electric Cooperative.

Bottom photo: John speaks to the first-year lineworker class at the Hoyt Williams Training Center in West Columbia.