Community First SETS NEW RECORDS in 2011
Checking Account Growth Up Record 27.6%
Membership Up Record 10.2%
Record Assets of $130.05 Million
Debit Card Usage Up 19.50%
Santa Rosa, Calif. –– 31 January 2012 – Community First Credit Union, a 51-year-old financial cooperative in Sonoma County, set a slew of records in 2011. New highs were set for checking accounts, new Members, total assets, new deposits, and debit card usage.
The financial cooperative was propelled in part due to a “mild improvement in the local economy and a renewed importance by consumers about the ethics and local stewardship of the financial institution with whom they bank,” said Todd Sheffield, President and CEO of Community First.
For the year, checking accounts rose a net 27.60%. Generally, credit unions and banks hope that as many as half of their customers might also have checking accounts. In the fourth quarter of 2011, a whopping 87.2% of new Members to Community First also opted for checking accounts. That is the highest average ever experienced by Community First, and can be largely attributed to the significant migration by customers of big national banks to local community banks and credit unions.
Net Membership rose from 11,924 at the beginning of the year to 13,142 at year’s end, an increase of 10.21%. Assets rose by $10,473,536 to a new record of $130,051,548. Deposits rose by similar amount: $9,898,781. Lastly, as the Wall Street banks began steering their customers away from debit cards and toward their branded credit cards, Community First saw debit card usage rise by 19.50% for the year.
Not everything was a new record, however. Loan production (by dollar volume) was down 10.68% in 2011. Although loan units were similar to the prior year, loan values were down. Since loans bring in the majority of revenues –– in this current ultra-low deposit rate environment –– net revenues were down substantially: +$492,628 in 2011 versus the cooperative’s all-time revenue record of +$1,446,901 in 2010.
About Community First
Community First has provided banking services to Sonoma County residents for 51 years. At year’s end 2011, the financial cooperative had 13,142 Members, $130,051,548 in assets and six offices –– all of which are in Sonoma County. Community First was the first financial institution of any kind to introduce envelope-less smart ATMs to Sonoma County, and the first locally-based concern to offer mobile banking from any smartphone. It was founded by seven Sonoma County teachers in 1961, and converted to a “Community Charter” in 1999 that allows any resident or student in Sonoma, Marin or Mendocino county to be a Member.