Redwood Credit Union (RCU), one of the largest local financial institutions in the North Bay with nearly $3 billion in assets, announced today exceptional year-end 2015 results, including strong financial performance and growth, enhanced service offerings and technology, excellent service and employee ratings, and increased community and environmental contributions.
“2015 was an incredible year for Redwood Credit Union across the board,” says Brett Martinez, RCU’s president and CEO. “Our strong financial position and exceptional growth continue to fuel our ability to innovate and better serve consumers, businesses and our communities.”
Founded in 1950, RCU is the second largest financial institution in Sonoma County, third largest in the North Bay, and 11th largest credit union in California, of approximately 350. Nationally, RCU ranks 63rd, of approximately 6,000 credit unions. In 2015, the credit union saw significant growth in the following categories:
RCU’s 2015 success was acknowledged through numerous awards and recognitions. In its Credit Union Industry HealthScore analysis, Glatt Consulting ranked RCU “Healthiest Credit Union in the U.S.” with a first place ranking amongst U.S. credit unions for financial and operational strength and growth. Other accolades include “Best Credit Union” and “Best Company to Do Business With” by readers of NorthBay biz magazine, as well as “Best Place to Work” for the 10th consecutive year by the North Bay Business Journal. GoBankingRates.com, a leading independent provider of financial institution rates, named the Credit Union’s Visa card among the nation’s “Top 10 Best.” And most recently, RCU was included among only 100 financial institutions in the country in Consumer Reports for outstanding customer service, communication, fees, and fewest consumer complaints.
RCU continues to be an industry leader in service, and consistently ranks among the top credit unions in its peer group for the Member Loyalty Survey. This nationally recognized survey tracks how likely people are to refer people to use a product or service. RCU has consistently ranked among the leaders for branch, call center, new member, new product, and remote/online services since it began using the survey metric in 2009.
Another significant accomplishment in 2015 was the installation of a 2,036-panel rooftop solar array at its Santa Rosa administrative offices. Providing up to 61 percent of the location’s annual electrical energy requirements, the solar panels are the latest environmental upgrade to the LEED-certified facility. In recognition of RCU’s ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainable practices, the Credit Union received the North Bay Leadership Councils’ 2015 Paint the Community Green award for excellence in environmental stewardship.
“Demonstrating our commitment to Members, employees, community and the environment is simply who Redwood Credit Union is and what we believe in,” says Mr. Martinez. “For us it’s about doing the right thing—and it’s rewarding to see how others benefit and respond to our efforts.”
Redwood Credit Union also implemented numerous technology improvements in 2015, including a modernized branch design, launched with the remodel of RCU’s branch in Rohnert Park. The new design includes in-branch interactive tablets, digital signs and video, an engaging children’s area, and enhanced consulting areas for assisting consumers and business owners with home, business and other financing; budgeting and debt consolidation; insurance and investments. RCU plans to implement the new branch design throughout its network over the next several years.
The Credit Union was also among the first in the North Bay in 2015 to offer Apple Pay, a mobile wallet application. To provide a higher level of protection against card fraud, RCU introduced the EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa) chip card for both credit and debit, currently being issued to all cardholders through spring. EMV chip technology provides an additional layer of identity and account security when used at compatible point-of-sale terminals.
Improvements to online and mobile banking continued as their applications grew in popularity. In 2015, mobile check deposits grew by 53 percent, as Members enjoyed the convenience of depositing checks from their mobile devices. Enhancements to online banking include improved functionality, design, and security alerts, while mobile banking advancements included improved accessibility, menu performance, and design, as well as mobile bill pay and one-click credit card preapprovals.
In 2015, RCU also acquired a full-service insurance agency, SST Insurance Brokers. This enables RCU Insurance Services, which is part of RCU’s wholly-owned subsidiary, to improve insurance offerings and services while streamlining processes. Immediate gains were realized, as RCU Insurance Services saw a revenue increase of 125 percent in 2015. The other arm of RCU’s wholly-owned subsidiary, RCU Auto Services, also experienced significant growth last year, with increased demand for convenient auto buying services from consumers—resulting in increased revenue of 25 percent.
In addition to supporting a wide range of nonprofit and community groups and efforts last year, in 2015 the Credit Union played a key role in fundraising for Lake County fire victims. Thanks to the generosity of over 12,000 donors, Redwood Credit Union’s Lake County Fire Victim’s Relief Fund raised nearly $2.5 million in just 12 weeks, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to fire victims and relief efforts. The fund was created by the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, Inc. in partnership with Redwood Credit Union and the Press Democrat, and in conjunction with Senator Mike McGuire. The Credit Union also offered a number of specialized loans and other financial assistance programs to help fire victims in need.
“We care deeply about our local communities and our hearts go out to the Lake County fire victims,” said Mr. Martinez. “We are determined to help those in need so they can get back on their feet as quickly as possible. The generosity of thousands of donors helped us do that.”
RCU’s strong commitment to its communities was also evident by the generous efforts of its employees and officials who volunteered more than 3,200 hours at over 700 nonprofit and community events in 2015. Throughout the year, RCU and its employees helped generate more than $4 million to support the community, including over $100,000 to United Way. “Listening to our Members and understanding their needs drives us to respond by continually enhancing and expanding our services,” says Martinez. “People’s banking habits are changing rapidly, and we’re quickly adapting by providing innovative solutions to simplify our Members’ lives, and help them succeed.
About Redwood Credit Union
Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, investment and financial planning services and more. The Credit Union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through their wholly-owned subsidiary. RCU currently has $2.8 billion in assets and serves over 255,000 Members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide and convenient, free online and mobile banking. For more information, please call 1 (800) 479-7928 or visit www.redwoodcu.org.