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About RCU

The credit union difference

Credit unions aren't about banking—we're about people. We're passionate about helping our Members improve their lives and making a difference in our community.


Credit unions are financial institutions focused on service, not profit. Credit unions offer the same financial products and services as banks, but at much greater value due to their cooperative structure.

Our shared principles

Credit unions follow a set of Cooperative Principles established by the Credit Union National Association and the National Credit Union Foundation. These principles differentiate credit unions’ cooperative business model from for-profit financial institutions.

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What Makes Credit Unions Different

Learn more about how credit unions differ from banks, and how you can benefit from becoming a credit union member!

Difference #1

Credit unions are not-for-profit.

Credit unions are cooperatives where each member is also an equal owner. While for-profit financial institutions exist to generate profits for a small number of private stockholders, credit unions return their earnings to members in the form of better rates, fewer and lower fees, and added services such as new branches and technology. By nature of the cooperative model, the funds you deposit at Redwood Credit Union stay in your community to help family, friends, and neighbors to finance a new car, get their first home loan, or even start their dream business.

Difference #2

Credit unions are Member-owned and governed by volunteer Boards.

Credit unions are owned by the members who have joined the credit union. Each member has equal ownership and an equal voice in electing a credit union’s volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of members who volunteer their time to set strategic direction and policies for the credit union.

Redwood Credit Union has 9 volunteer Board Members, as well as a 5-member volunteer Audit & Enterprise Risk Committee, appointed by the Board.

Difference #3

Credit unions have members and defined fields of membership.

Members of credit unions are consumers and business owners who join in order to benefit from its services. At Redwood Credit Union, membership requires just a savings deposit, and this gives you full access to all of our affordable financial products and services.

Credit unions can serve many people and businesses, but unlike banks that can serve anyone, credit unions can serve those within what’s called a “field of membership.” This can include specific communities or employees of a company. Redwood Credit Union is a community credit union serving anyone living or working in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Solano counties.

Difference #4

Credit union deposits are federally insured by the US government.

Deposits in most credit unions are insured to at least $250,000 by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), a US government agency. This means credit union deposits are insured to the same level of federal insurance offered by banks and is backed by the full faith of the US government. Deposits made at Redwood Credit Union are federally insured by NCUA.

Difference #5

Credit unions are full-service financial institutions.

Credit unions today are full service and offer a wide variety of affordable financial services for consumers and small business owners, including checking and savings accounts, auto and mortgage loans, credit cards, digital banking, and much more. Credit unions are known for offering exceptional value and trusted financial solutions, and for being responsible lenders and adhering to prudent investment strategies.

In addition to a traditional banking services, RCU also offers added services such as wealth management and financial planning1, a full-service insurance agency2, and a no-haggle auto sales center3 to provide a one-stop-shop for all your financial needs.

Difference #6

Credit unions pay taxes—just not on profits.

Income taxes are not assessed on a credit union’s profits because credit unions are not-for-profit institutions that reinvest any earnings back into the cooperative. Credit unions pay payroll, sales, and property taxes, and these funds primarily remain in the local community to provide vital services to residents and businesses.

    1. Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. The credit union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.
    2. Insurance products are not deposits of Redwood Credit Union and are not protected by the NCUA. They are not an obligation of or guaranteed by Redwood Credit Union and may be subject to risk. Any insurance required as a condition of an extension of credit by Redwood Credit Union need not be purchased from Redwood Credit Union and may be purchased from an agent or an insurance company of the member’s choice. RCU Insurance Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Redwood Credit Union. Business conducted with RCU Insurance Services is separate and distinct from any business conducted with Redwood Credit Union. License no. 0D91054. NPN no. 7612227.
    3. Auto sales provided by RCU Auto Services, RCU’s wholly-owned subsidiary.