Take Action: Credit Unions

A Call to Action from Redwood Credit Union President & CEO Brett Martinez

As a Member and owner of Redwood Credit Union (RCU), your voice is vital on issues related to your Credit Union, our industry and on financial matters that can affect you and your fellow Members. As our nation begins to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Congress is considering legislation that will significantly impact credit unions, and you can help.

  • In recent years, credit unions have excelled at providing much-needed financing to local small businesses. In your community, Redwood Credit Union was recently ranked the #1 SBA lender in the greater North Bay.
  • Currently, credit unions are restricted in the amount of business loans we can make. Meanwhile, many large and mid-sized banks have not extended credit lines or enhanced their business lending—even after receiving taxpayer funds to do so.
  • Congress has introduced two key pieces of legislation to increase the existing lending cap. If Congress passes this legislation, RCU and other credit unions will lend to more small businesses, aid in job creation, and help improve our local economies.

The vote by Congress is likely to occur soon, so please take a moment now to let your Representatives know you support this legislation that would lift the business lending cap on credit unions. Ensuring your voice is heard is easy — simply visit: www.connectforthecause.com, an advocacy network hosted by credit unions, for credit unions. This site will allow you to quickly send a prewritten letter or email to your Member of Congress and Senators, asking for their positive vote.

Please join with me by taking a stand for your Credit Union and letting Congress know you support our efforts to help businesses and to aid in rebuilding both our local and the American economies. Thank you for your support of Redwood Credit Union!

Best Regards,

CEO Message

Brett Martinez

President & CEO


Jonathan Middlebrook April 9, 2010 at 9:47 am

Here are two questions: Since credit unions presumably do not have the enormous salary and dividend costs of BigBanco, why do cu’s pay such low interest rates on savings accounts? Oughtn’t we ‘depositor owners’ get tangible reward for our local virtue?–Run with it, Mr. Martinez!

    Greetings, Mr. Middlebrook,

    My name is Andy Ramos and I serve you as the Senior Vice President of Member Service at Redwood Credit Union. I’d like to answer your questions regarding how credit unions pay dividends on savings accounts as well as your inquiry regarding rewards for Member owners.

    As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions’ business model is to return value to Members. We achieve this by taking the revenue we generate, and not only give it back to Members in the form of competitive deposit rates, but also by providing free or discounted products and services, such as lower loan rates, and lower and fewer fees than you would typically find at for-profit institutions. So we expand value across a variety of products and services designed to meet all of your financial needs. Because the key to the cooperative model is people working together, the more you participate (by using your CU for all of your financial services), the more value you and your fellow Members receive from your membership.

    There are many ways to maximize the value you receive from your credit union, and we encourage all credit union Members to speak directly with a representative at their cooperative to learn how they can best achieve their financial goals and dreams. We are here to serve you.

    Warm regards,

    Andy Ramos
    Senior Vice President of Member Services
    Redwood Credit Union
    Mailing: PO Box 6104, Santa Rosa, CA 95406-0104
    Physical: 3033 Cleveland Avenue, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
    Direct: 1 (707) 576-5196 / Toll-Free: 1 (800) 479-7928 / Fax: 1 (707) 541-2801
    Web: http://www.redwoodcu.org

Thanks for your position on small business. I have sent an email to my Members of Congress and Senators and asked for their positive vote.
I have some questions:
Credit card companies make a large amount of money that instantly leaves the county. Is it possible to issue local credit cards and administer them, keeping the money and jobs here?
In the case of home loans, who administers them? Are they sold? I would rather make my payments to a local CU or bank that, once again, kept the money and jobs here.

Hello, Mr. Laybourn –

On behalf of Redwood Credit Union (RCU), I’d first like to thank you for your support of favorable legislation for key issues affecting credit unions. Your voice is vital in helping credit unions to educate our government representatives on these issues so that we can continue to serve the best interests of our Members and communities.

I recognize your interest in keeping funds local when selecting a financial institution, and wanted to give you a little more information on how credit unions do exactly that. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions’ operating model is based on serving the financial needs of specific communities. So when you move your financial relationship to a credit union, not only are you supporting local jobs, but your funds are also helping to strengthen the cooperative so that you and others in your local community can benefit from better rates on loans and deposits, lower and fewer fees, and expanded services, such as free credit counseling, financial education and access to a nationwide network of 28,000 fee-free ATMs.

Credit card programs vary from institution to institution, but in Redwood Credit Union’s case, we administer our own credit card program, and, just as with other consumer loans, the money stays local and benefits the Members of the cooperative, and our rates and terms are designed with our Members’ best interests in mind. In fact, RCU’s credit card program is on the “Dean’s List” of fair and ethical credit card programs at http://www.creditcardconnection.org, which is a consumer protection site endorsed by Suze Orman.

Many credit unions have the ability to portfolio their own mortgage loans so those often stay local as well. RCU portfolios many of our mortgage loans, but in some cases it benefits the cooperative more for us to sell them to Fannie Mae — however, even in these cases, we still retain all of the servicing so that you are always dealing directly with Redwood Credit Union and enjoying the trusted, local service you expect throughout the life of your loan.

In addition to keeping jobs and money local, credit unions are also committed to supporting the communities they serve, and Redwood Credit Union is actively involved in our communities through sponsorships, donations and fundraising, and participation in local non-profit events. Some of the events we support in Mendocino County include the Mendocino County Human Race, the Ukiah Chili Cook-Off, the United Way Day of Caring, Point Arena’s 4th of July celebration, the Ukiah Valley Christmas Tree Effort, Action Network’s Project Santa, South Coast Seniors and more.

I hope this helps to clarify how credit unions help our local economies and communities, and if you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me directly. And thank you again for your support of credit union small business lending legislation, which will allow us to better serve small businesses in our local communities.

Best regards,

Andy Ramos
Senior Vice President of Member Services
Redwood Credit Union
Mailing: PO Box 6104, Santa Rosa, CA 95406-0104
Physical: 3033 Cleveland Avenue, Suite 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Direct: 1 (707) 576-5196 / Toll-Free: 1 (800) 479-7928 / Fax: 1 (707) 541-2801
Web: http://www.redwoodcu.org