Since 1959 we have chosen to not behave like a Wall Street bank.
A bank is owned by stockholders. They are rarely customers, but buy stock and demand that its value increases. The primary role of a bank CEO is to raise stock price. The result? Customers get squeezed, shortcuts get taken, and fees become a profit center.
The role of the CEO at a not-for-profit financial cooperative is to create wealth for its Members and the communities it serves. Any would-be profits are pushed back to Members and the cooperative –– like next-gen ATMs, new online conveniences, supporting school kids and teachers, and additional branches.
Community First Credit Union was founded by seven LOCAL teachers who were denied home loans by banks (back in the day, teachers weren't paid in summer months, and bankers decided teachers weren't smart enough to save up for those months). Since that founding, our "field of Membership" was expanded to include anyone who was a resident of Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, or Sonoma County.
Big banks take local deposits and lend them wherever they get the best return - L.A., Houston, Dubai. Your locally earned dollar is likely to be exported out of your community.
At Community First Credit Union, your locally earned dollars must stay (our charter demands it) in the LOCAL economy. This helps your neighbors, police, parks, paramedics, schools –– in your back yard.
What's more, we've been specially designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and an Inclusiv credit union - which means we go above and beyond to serve our LOCAL communities. Check it out!
Community First is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), certified by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. This means that we specialize in providing credit and financial services to underserved populations in our LOCAL communities. We are the only bank or credit union in our five-county footprint with such a designation.
And there's more. We've also been recognized as an Inclusiv credit union. This special designation is given to a select group of credit unions who share a commitment to doing good for their LOCAL Hispanic community through financial services and asset-building opportunities. Like CDFI, Community First is the only locally based bank or credit union to have been acknowledged to proactively serve people of color.