Checking Accounts up 61%, Membership up 72% at Community First Credit Union
By: David Williams
Nov. 10, 2011
GoLocal member Community First Credit Union, a financial cooperative with 12,617 members in Sonoma County, opened more new checking accounts and welcomed more new Members in October than in any month in its 50-year history.
The 167 new checking accounts opened in October are a 52.7% increase above September and a 61.1% increase from October 2010, which was a record year for checking account growth for the Sonoma-based credit union. Moreover, 219 new Members joined Community First in October. This is an increase of 42.2% from the previous month and 72.4% better than October of last year.
“The increases we’ve seen in checking and members are a combination of us opening a new office in Healdsburg in September, implementing our free smartphone banking app, and the attention the various occupy movements have had, coupled with Bank of America’s clumsy plans to charge $5 a month to use its debit card,” said Todd Sheffield, CEO of Community First. “As people are increasingly concerned about their local economy and its ability to offer services for education, safety, parks and health, we have seen more Sonoma County residents desirous of keeping their money local –– whether for shopping, food, entertainment or banking,” 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 12,319 Members, $120 million in assets and posted record net revenues of $1,446,901 at year’s end 2010.