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North Bay Business Journal

Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 5:06 pm

Redwood Credit Union marks another record year

CEO says results reflects improving balance sheets

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    Redwood Credit UnionSANTA ROSA — Redwood Credit Union announced a second consecutive year of record results in 2013, notable in particular for new loan requests from individuals and businesses and fewer borrowers falling behind on their payments, according to the credit union’s chief executive.

    Brett Martinez

    Brett Martinez

    Those trends were an extension of a turnaround that accelerated in 2012, following the credit union’s increased efforts to improve the financial literacy of its members at the height of the recession.

    “It really is the same story, but it’s continuing,” said Brett Martinez, president and CEO. “People are in a much better position. We played a role in that.”

    The credit union saw total assets grow 8.3 percent, to $2.28 billion, in 2013, and ended the year ranked as the 11th-largest credit union in California.

    Net worth increased to 10.35 percent of assets, at $235.6 million. Loans increased by 10.2 percent, to $1.61 billion.

    The number of real estate loans outstanding, including first mortgages, increased by 4.2 percent, while the more than $1 billion in real estate loans at year-end was up by 13.9 percent.

    The institution made 843 business loans in 2013 — up 6 percent — and saw its overall business loan balance rise 11.7 percent, to over $213 million. It was the largest amount of business loan growth since the credit union began offering those services in 2006.

    “Both businesses and consumers have reset their finances,” Mr. Martinez said. “It’s a combination of refinancing existing debt and investing in the future.”

    That improvement in members’ financial condition has allowed the credit union to further reduce its loan losses, with charged-off loans in 2013 down 52 percent at $11.7 million.

    The institution added remote check deposit functionality to its smartphone application in May, with 105,000 remote deposits totaling 10 percent of total deposits by year-end. Those technology improvements have also extended to Redwood Credit Union’s website, which this year began allowing Web-based loan requests and approvals.

    The credit union is expecting to unveil a Web-based system for enrolling new members in the first part of this year, Mr. Martinez said.

    “You will be able to go online, open an account, fund an account, apply for a loan and get approval — all online,” allowing more time for complex interactions at the branch level, he said.

    The 63-year-old Redwood Credit Union had 230,000 members at year-end, up from around 224,000 at the end of 2012. The institution noted the award of a top 5-Star rating from Bauer Financial services in 2013, along with an “Excellent” rating from Weiss Ratings.

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