Feb. 14, 2017
Santa Rosa, Calif. –– Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 –– Financial cooperative Community First Credit Union eclipsed the $200 million mark in assets for the first time in its 56-year history, and set records in vehicle loans and net revenue for the year ending Dec. 31, 2016.
Deposits (shares, in credit union parlance) ended the year at a record high $181.3 million, up 8.4% from the prior year. On the lending side of the ledger, vehicle loans were up significantly, 12.3%, to $44.6 million. However, total loan production, at $93.7 million, was 4.8% lower from the previous year, mostly due to a fall off in real estate purchase loans, which were depressed by the lack of inventory of homes for sale in Sonoma County.
Community First has now made more than $1 billion in local loans since its founding in 1961.
The financial cooperative’s loan portfolio –– loans that it keeps locally as investments –– increased 7.9% for the year, and now stands at a record $149.3 million.
The financial cooperative finished the year with a record net revenue of $1.77 million, beating last year’s previous best of $1.72 million. “Even though we are a not-for-profit cooperative, net revenue is important to our members, as it gives us the ability to add local ATMs or branches and technology that makes banking via smartphone or tablet more convenient,” said Todd Sheffield, CEO of Community First.
The not-for-profit financial cooperative finished 2016 with 19,190 local members, which is up from 17,846 members a year earlier.
Community First has made significant inroads in attracting new members with signature products such as its Local Advantage PLUS checking, which pays users 5% on a portion of every purchase made, 5¢ per debit swipe after 12 in a month, interest on the account’s balance, and provides automatic discounts at scores of local merchants who participate in the Go Local Rewards program.
Moreover, as the former Sonoma County Schools Credit Union, it also has special programs for students: zero-interest, zero-fee agriculture loan, a savings account that pays students up to 7.07%, and a special loan (in conjunction with SCOE) for intern teachers. Also, the credit union has conducted nearly 200 in-class financial literacy presentations to local schools over the past several years.
Community First is a not-for-profit financial cooperative founded by seven Sonoma County teachers in 1961. It now has 19,190 local members, $203.8 million in assets and has provided $1,030,595,096 for local home and car loans since its inception. It is the first locally based financial institution of any kind in the North Bay to introduce paperless, “smart” ATMs, instant-issue ATM cards, and mobile banking from any smartphone. Through its cooperative ATM network, members can use their ATM card free at 34,600 locations: credit unions, Costco, 7-Eleven and Walgreens, which is 100% more ATMs than the biggest bank in America.