Checking Accounts Up 92.4% –– Membership Up 98.6% –– $4 Million in New Deposits
By: David Williams
Dec. 5, 2011
Community First Credit Union, a 50-year-old financial cooperative based in Sonoma County, smashed its monthly records for gains in checking accounts, deposits and new Members.
In November, the Santa Rosa-based credit union opened 329 new checking accounts, gained $4,032,768 in deposits and welcomed 435 newcomers to the Member-owned cooperative.
The records set in November smashed the old records, which were established only in October. Checking accounts, perhaps the “stickiest” product in the banking industry, rose 92.4% from October and were a whopping 406.1% better than the November a year ago. New members to the cooperative rose 98.6% from the previous month and 239.8% from the previous year.
“It was the perfect storm for our credit union,” said Todd Sheffield, CEO of Community First. “Between the attention initiated by Facebook’s National Bank Transfer Day, and the news accounts of the big Wall Street banks illegally foreclosing on veterans, losing lawsuits due to deceiving investors and charges by state attorneys general of doctoring loan documents, people where fed up enough to act, and to act locally,” added Sheffield.
In addition to being the first financial institution to introduce “smart” offices to California, Community First was the first to introduce envelope-less, instant-receipt ATMs to Sonoma County, and the first locally owned financial institution to offer mobile banking via all smartphone platforms.
Community First has provided banking services to Sonoma County residents for 50 years. It has two full service branches in central and west Santa Rosa, “smart offices” in Guerneville, Healdsburg and Sebastopol. It was founded by seven Sonoma County teachers in 1961, but converted to a “Community Charter” in 1999 that allows any resident or student in Sonoma, Marin or Mendocino county to be a Member. The financial cooperative has 13,000 Members, $125 million in assets and posted record net revenues of $1,446,901 at year’s end 2010.