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Guerneville Office Opens!

Community First Expands to Guerneville

–– Five Months After Opening Sebastopol's First-Ever Credit Union  ––


Community First Credit Union, a 12,000-Member financial cooperative chartered to serve residents in Sonoma County, has opened a new office in Guerneville.  The co-op refurbished a 100-year-old building to fashion its second “smart office” in West County.  A “smart” office incorporates an ATM that can take deposits of loose cash and checks without envelopes, and is coupled with an on-site loan officer, financial concierge and iMacs and iPads with which to conduct business.  

Community First has been refurbishing the building at 16200 Main Street (at corner of Main and Armstrong Woods Road) for the past four months.  It once housed a saloon, a couple of restaurants and most recently Russian River Video.  Community First re-utilized the existing fireplace and added barn-style doors to pay homage to the roots of George Guerne’s mill town.  Once the drop ceiling was removed, it revealed the potential to restore the open-beam ceiling to its original splendor, which the credit union readily completed.  Although the office is now open Monday through Friday, 8:30a to 5:30p, an official grand opening is slated for April 22, shortly after all exterior work is to be completed.

Staffing the Guerneville office are two life-long Guerneville residents:  Beth Rudometkin is the on-site real estate loan officer, and Julie DeCarly is the on-site financial concierge who helps Members with their transactions.   

The financial cooperative’s first “smart” office opened in Sebastopol in November 2010.  Since its opening, Community First’s Sebastopol office has been responsible for nearly one-third of the co-op’s membership gains and more than one-third of its checking account gains.  “We felt confident that Sebastopol was ready for its first-ever credit union,” said Todd Sheffield, President and CEO of Community First.  “We feel the same way about Guerneville,” he added.

In addition to being the first financial institution to introduce “smart” offices to California, Community First was the first to introduce envelope-less, instant-receipt ATMs to Sonoma County, and is the only locally owned financial institution at this time to offer mobile banking.

Community First has provided banking services to Sonoma County residents for 50 years.  It has two full service branches in central and west Santa Rosa, “smart offices” in Sebastopol and Guerneville, and loan offices in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa.  It was founded by Sonoma County teachers in 1961, but converted to a “Community Charter” in 1999 that allows any resident or student in Sonoma County to be a Member.  The financial cooperative has 12,051 Members, $120 million in assets and posted record net revenues of $1,446,901 at year’s end 2010.  



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