Redwood Credit Union’s Commitment to the Community


Published On: June 06, 2024
Five adults with Redwood Credit Union standing in front of a stairwell including Ron Felder, EVP/ CFO; Tony Hildesheim, EVP/ Chief Admin. Officer; Mishel Kaufman. EVP/COO; Brett Martinez, Pres/CEO; Michelle Anderson, EVP/Chief Lending Officer
(L-R) Top Row: Ron Felder, EVP/ CFO; Tony Hildesheim, EVP/ Chief Admin. Officer // (L-R) Bottom Row: Mishel Kaufman. EVP/COO; Brett Martinez, Pres/CEO; Michelle Anderson, EVP/Chief Lending Officer // Photo by Bob McClenahan

A credit union is a financial institution focusing on service, not profit. With its philosophy of “people helping people,” Redwood Credit Union (RCU) is a wonderful illustration of that edict. With over $8.5 billion in assets, RCU is North Bay’s largest credit union and local financial institution in Napa County. Their 950 employees serve more than 465,000 members throughout Napa, Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, Mendocino, Lake, Contra Costa, and Solano counties by elevating the financial well-being of those communities, one person at a time through good times and bad. Honored as one of America’s Best Credit Unions by Newsweek based on financial strength and member feedback, RCU also focuses on creating social impact through its financial services and community commitment.

Since 1950, RCU has helped people reach their goals and dreams. In 2007, RCU proudly opened its first Napa location on First Street, marking the beginning of a deep connection with the community. Currently, 180+ employees work at RCU Napa locations, and, having recently opened an 8.5-acre administrative campus and branch on Devlin Road at the intersection of Highways 12 and 29, RCU intends to hire an additional 600 employees, which eventually will make it one of the largest employers in the county.

As a full-service, not-for-profit financial cooperative, RCU strives to provide the most convenient and complete banking experience possible by offering a full array of products and services for consumers and businesses. These services include checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, commercial and SBA lending, wealth management and investment services, and more. RCU also operates a full-service insurance agency for consumers and businesses and a full-service auto dealership through RCU Services Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RCU. Yet RCU strives to be more than just a financial institution. Whether through innovative financial products or active engagement, RCU is dedicated to supporting the well-being and prosperity of Napa County and beyond. Its mission is to passionately serve the best interests of its members, team members, and communities.

two women kneeling on floor adjusting a bicycle

More than 850 RCU team members, including Nohely Macias and Kalynn Lytle, gathered in October 2023 to build 400 bikes at the semi-annual Day of Impact.  Photo by Will Bucquoy courtesy of Redwood Credit Union


“Over the past three years, we’ve experienced 40% membership growth in Napa County,” said Brett Martinez, RCU’s President and CEO. “Our growth here is a testament to the trust we’ve earned from our members, and in turn, that growth has helped us deepen our support for the larger community. As an organization we look at tangible, sustainable solutions to improve financial well-being with our products and services as well as with our commitment to our local nonprofit partners. Our dedication to Napa is further demonstrated by the recent opening of our new 8.5-acre campus. This new campus not only accommodates our growing team but gives us ample space to ensure we can meet our members’ personalized needs.”

The campus includes a community room that seats up to 500 people and is available to local nonprofits. The site’s new Grove Cafe is also the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch. It is open to the public and provides healthy and delicious meals at affordable prices.

RCU’s commitment to serving and investing in its communities is illustrated in the various programs it supports. In 2023, RCU provided more than $4 million in community support to more than 340 local nonprofits and community organizations through sponsorships, grants and matching campaigns, employee giving, and volunteer hours. Partnering with the Napa Valley Community Foundation RCU has addressed community needs by accelerating the adoption of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). This resulted in an ADU construction loan product that is getting nationwide attention. Additionally, RCU recently sponsored a “Day of Impact,” at which 850 RCU employees came together on a federal holiday (when financial institutions are closed) to build and donate 418 bikes for kids in need. RCU’s nonprofit partners, including American Canyon Community & Parks Foundation and Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center in Napa County, selected the children (ages 5-10) to receive the bikes based on who would benefit most.

group of people with red bedals around necks holding an award

Michelle Anderson (left), Chief Lending Officer for RCU, commemorated the service of youth volunteers at the 2023 Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership’s Heart of Napa Awards. // Photo courtesy of CVNL Napa


“Part of what motivates us is making our communities stronger, not only for our members but for our team members, who live in the communities we serve, and for the families they go home to each night,” added Martinez. “We proudly partner with local nonprofits and contribute through volunteerism, sponsorships, board leadership, and grant-making and matching. Serving locally means showing up and inspiring hope through good times and bad. It’s about identifying partnerships and facilitating collaboration and innovation. It fosters a sense of pride and belonging and enhances the unique culture of the region we all serve. It’s a differentiator.”

RCU partners with nonprofits, schools, and service organizations to provide financial education. In 2023, this included 112 financial education events, which served more than 4,000 attendees, from high school age to retirees. One example was the “Bite of Reality” financial education program aimed at teens. This interactive simulation mimics the responsibilities of life with a job, credit score, family, budgeting, and the challenge of high-pressure salespeople. The skills learned at these events give students an invaluable early start on becoming financially literate. RCU also has extensive financial education resources available through its website.

RCU holds annual “Shred-a-Thons” inviting the public to bring their documents and e-waste to free shredding and recycling events. They hosted five such events this past year, recycling more than 130,000 pounds of shredded paper and diverting nearly 36,000 pounds of e-waste from landfills while helping community members protect themselves from fraud and identity theft. This year’s Napa Shred event will occur on Saturday, August 17, from 9 a.m. to noon at RCU’s new Napa campus at 480 Devlin Road.

group of women at table at school career day

RCU team members Catherine Tapia, Diana Lawson, Dana Jensen, and Nina Schlatter shared knowledge with 1200 students at Career Day, hosted by the Napa County Office of Education. // Photo courtesy of Redwood Credit Union


“Redwood Credit Union responds time and time again to the needs of Napa Valley students through philanthropic support of nonprofit organizations across our county,” said Jennifer Stewart, Executive Director of Napa Valley Education Foundation. “We’ve proudly partnered with RCU for many years, allowing our schools to expand mental health services and supports. As students and families experienced trauma and loss during fires and the pandemic, healing came through services funded in partnership with RCU.”

RCU also supports these Napa Community organizations: Community Action Napa Valley (CANV), which operates vital programs like the Napa Food Bank and Meals on Wheels, serving Napa County’s low-income residents and providing essential nutrition and food supplies; the Napa Valley Education Foundation (NVEF); the UpValley Resource Center, which empowers low-income families and older adults to achieve financial stability through free tax preparation services and personalized financial coaching; the American Canyon Parks Foundation which plans to introduce a Watershed Explorers program to support STEM learning for middle school students, aiming to enhance academic performance and provide hands-on learning experiences, particularly beneficial amid declining math scores post-pandemic; Mentis Behavioral Health, providing essential therapy sessions for community members facing mental health challenges; NEWS Women & Family Shelter which specializes in providing comprehensive support to survivors of domestic violence, focusing on rapid housing assistance and trauma-informed care to promote recovery and well-being; Puertas Abiertas, which focuses on financial education and inclusion for the Latinx community, aiming to address cultural barriers and promote financial security and well-being through workshops and personalized support; Napa Valley Support Services, which works to transition to eco-friendly yard equipment, aligning with global sustainability efforts and enhancing job skills training for program participants; Boys and Girls Club of Napa Valley which emphasizes the importance of academic engagement outside of school hours, offering workforce development programs to prepare teens for success in higher education and employment opportunities, with a focus on mentorship and career exploration.

“Our ongoing commitment to the Napa community is driven by the belief that how we deliver financial services makes a positive difference in people’s lives in true, measurable, and real ways,” said Martinez. “That’s our social impact. We strive to be more than just a financial institution. Whether it’s natural disasters, a pandemic, a recession, or a government shutdown, one thing I tell my team, especially when times get tough, is that instead of running away from the issue, we run toward it and do everything in our power to find solutions and offer assistance as financial first responders. We show up and are here to help our members achieve their goals and dreams.”