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RCU & CAP Announce Partnership in Microbusiness Loans

Community Action Partnership SonomaSanta Rosa, CA | October 2, 2013 Redwood Credit Union (RCU) and Community Action Partnership (CAP) Sonoma have announced a strategic partnership to help fuel the business economy in Sonoma County by offering up to $1 million in loans to microbusinesses and startups. These microbusiness loans are the newest addition to the comprehensive small business and consumer loan programs offered by the Credit Union.

The new venture provides significant funding opportunities for graduates of CAP Sonoma’s microbusiness development program, which has graduated 30 people since its inception. CAP Sonoma provides financial education specifically designed for small business owners and individuals who are seeking to start or currently own microbusinesses. RCU has committed up to $1 million in loan financing to graduates of CAP’s microbusiness development program, to support the growth and expansion of microbusinesses in the community.

“We’re excited to partner with CAP Sonoma to support microbusinesses in Sonoma County by providing funding to graduates of their program, so they can start, build or expand their businesses,” said Anne Benjamin, RCU’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President. “RCU recognizes small and microbusinesses often have difficulty in obtaining the financing needed to initiate a business or expand. RCU is committed to our community and we believe funding the growth of microbusinesses is a positive way to impact these businesses as well as the economic growth and vitality of our county,” added Benjamin.

CAPs Sonoma’s microbusiness development program for small business owners and start up entrepreneurs includes comprehensive coursework through 15 classes offered in both English and Spanish. Based on an enhanced NxLevel curriculum, graduates must achieve at least 80% or greater on the final exam, have 80% attendance or greater, and have developed a business plan. CAP Sonoma has added personal financial literacy and business financing readiness modules to augment the existing NxLevel curriculum. The personal financial literacy course is based on the FDIC’s MoneySmart curriculum. CAP Sonoma has offered financial literacy classes since 2004, and has graduated over 200 students from its personal finance program.

CAP Sonoma’s microbusiness development program graduates are owners or entrepreneurs of a variety of different types of businesses including a landscaping company, cleaning services, a palette recycling company, bakeries and a wholesale clothing outlet.  “As part of our program, we help our students draft a business plan, secure a mentorship with an existing business owner, and prepare them to meet with a loan officer,” said Lannie Medina, Chief Development Officer of CAP Sonoma. “RCU’s extensive commitment to the success of the microloan program and our community overall has been inspirational and motivating,” said Medina.

RCU’s loan financing program is available to small business owners and entrepreneurs who successfully complete and graduate from CAP Sonoma’s financial education program. For more information about CAP Sonoma’s microbusiness development program, please call (707) 544-6911.

About Redwood Credit Union

Redwood Credit Union is a trusted, local community credit union founded in 1950, and for over 60 years has remained focused on people, not profits.  RCU is a full service financial institution, offering personal and business banking and lending products.  With over $2.2 billion in assets, RCU is the 64th largest of nearly 7,000 U.S. credit unions. Redwood Credit Union has 19 locations throughout the North Bay and San Francisco, fee-free access to 30,000 ATMs nationwide, and offers free online and mobile banking. Deposits are insured to $250,000 by NCUA (National Credit Union Association), a U.S. government agency. For more information, please visit www.redwoodcu.org or call (707) 545-4000 or 1 (800) 479-7928.

About Community Action Partnership Sonoma County

Community Action Partnership Sonoma, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, is dedicated to creating a safer, healthier and more prosperous county through proven programs in education, health services, and the Center for Economic Success—which includes rigorous microbusiness and financial literacy curriculum along with other asset building initiatives.  CAP Sonoma provides direct services and touches the lives of over 10,000 people in the county annually. Established in Sonoma County and operating for nearly 50 years, CAP Sonoma provides programs to help hardworking people get on their feet. CAP Sonoma can be reached by calling (707) 544-6911 or by visiting their website at www.capsonoma.org.

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