70 years of Accomplishments
It all started with Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, a German mayor who conceived the idea of cooperative self-help. In observing the suffering of farmers who were often in the grip of loan sharks, he was inspired in 1864 to found the first cooperative lending bank, in effect the first rural credit union.
To the United States…
The first credit union in the United States was in Manchester, New Hampshire and was founded in 1909 by French-speaking immigrants from Canada, aided by Alphonse Desjardins and Edward Filene. The name of the credit union was St. Mary's Cooperative Credit Association. Attorney Joseph Boivin managed the credit union as a volunteer, out of his home in the evenings. (Credit unions are still run by volunteer boards.)
To Santa Rosa, California…
In 1950, employees of the County of Sonoma in California came together to form a credit union. They primarily wanted to provide bridge loans to each other to make ends meet between paychecks. The articles of incorporation were signed in January of 1950 and the charter was received on February 21st of that same year, officially creating the Sonoma County Employees Credit Union.
On September 14, 1982, the Sonoma County Employees Credit Union was renamed Redwood Credit Union to reflect the growing demand for services throughout the Redwood Empire.
In 1981, a small group of visionary California credit unions combined resources to create the CO-OP Network. At that time, proprietary bank ATMs would not serve credit unions or their members. Through this cooperative financial entity, one of the first independent ATM networks was organized for the credit union community. Today, the CO-OP ATM network gives Members access to 30,000 ATMs, more than what’s available to customers of even the largest bank.
As of 2018, we have 68,000 credit unions in the world and just about everyone can join. In the case of Redwood Credit Union, if you live or work in San Francisco or the North Bay, you can bank with RCU. It’s more convenient than you may think—all those ATMs, plus mobile and online banking, so you can bank and get money just about anywhere!
If you’re worried that credit unions are too small to protect your accounts, have no fear. Credit union deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA—the same amount the FDIC insures at banks.
RCU has personalized solutions for your financial needs, whatever they may be.
Credit unions are truly for everyone, and that’s why we’re celebrating 70 years of people helping people!