Earlier this spring, we lost the last of the founding members of RCU—Elaine Bossa. While her passing saddens us deeply, we are forever grateful for Elaine’s more than 70 years of service, her ongoing support of the credit union movement, and her commitment to our philosophy of “people helping people.” In her honor, I would like to share a story about the history of RCU, and the legacy Elaine leaves behind.
In the late 1940s, Elaine and six of her co-workers at the County of Sonoma had the idea to create a credit union so they could help each other get affordable loans and have a safe place to save money. On January 19, 1950, they signed the paperwork to create Sonoma County Employees Credit Union. Elaine was RCU’s very first Member—her savings passbook was #1.
Elaine and her colleagues knew a credit union was the best choice for county employees to build their credit and enhance their financial wellbeing. According to Elaine, she and the “credit committee” would meet and review applications after work. Over time, as more and more county employees joined and word got out, others in the community wanted to be part of the credit union, too. In 1982, Sonoma County Employees Credit Union was renamed Redwood Credit Union and expanded its services to the entire community. The goal was for as many people as possible to benefit from the credit union’s affordable banking services.
Over the years, Elaine watched her credit union evolve and grow from seven Members to more than 413,000 Members across the North Bay. However, one thing never changed and that’s our strong adherence to the principles Elaine and her colleagues built the credit union on—RCU is Member-owned which is a different type of banking experience. Not only do you benefit from great rates and better service, but your money stays local so others in your community can enjoy the benefits, too.
Elaine always came to our annual membership meetings, and we made a point of honoring her for the role she played as a founding Member as well as for being one of our best advocates. She will forever be remembered for her many years of service at RCU, and the legacy she left behind. We are committed to honoring that legacy by continuing to provide affordable loans, banking services, and support to our communities long into the future.