A cooperative spin on local marketing

A California credit union partners with local businesses and earns positive guilt by association.

Lots of credit unions offer emergency loans, but not many include power outages among the reasons a member might need quick, interest-free help.

That’s the case at Community First Credit Union ($715.7, Santa Rosa, CA), which serves a northern California community beset by more than its fair share of challenges, including wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes, and power outages.

“We have a standing deal to offer any member $1,200 on the spot — zero interest, zero fees, one year to pay back — who has been impacted by a fire, flood, or PG&E power outage because they might need to immediately buy food or clothes or pay rent,” says David Williams, the credit union’s chief marketing and HR officer.

The credit union’s wine-country home base of Sonoma County is also near San Francisco, and housing affordability as well as the generally expensive cost-of-living is a challenge for many residents and businesses, too. Community First’s response is to meet members where they are with products and services that serve their needs while working to sustain the community.


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