Sierra Central, like many credit unions, was formed to serve our military personnel. Beale Credit Union opened in 1955 when fifteen members of the Air Force each invested one hundred dollars to form the credit union that would serve military and civilian personnel. Fifty-three years later Beale AFB is an integral part of the Sierra Central family.
The next step in our history took place in 1963 when the Shasta Cascade Credit Union was chartered in Redding, California. Its membership base included city, county, hospital and lumber industry employees.
Beale and Shasta Cascade merged in 1981 forming what is now known as the Sierra Central Credit Union. The core of our current financial institution had 25,841 members, $29 million in assets and a $22 million loan portfolio.
The newly formed credit union experienced a decade of rapid growth, merging with 22 other credit unions. Membership rose to 75,000 by 1991, assets increased to $182 million and the organization boasted a loan portfolio of $182 million.
Sierra Central converted to a Community Charter in 1994. The change allowed our financial institution to expand membership beyond its more restrictive employee group limitations.
Assets continued to grow during the next five years, reaching $242 million in 1999. Membership dropped to 65,609 during the same period. In late 1998 and early 1999 key staff members left the organization, creating a nine-month leadership void.
Late in 1999, the Board of Directors took the first step in what some still call a miraculous recovery, hiring Ron Sweeney as a consultant for the financial institution. Ron later became the Executive Vice President / CFO and most recently President. Ron came to Sierra Central from Travis Federal Credit Union. He came armed with 15 years of credit union experience, and solid finance and accounting credentials along with three years as a federal credit union examiner.
In January 2000 the Board of Directors, after an extensive national search, made another decision hiring, Great Western Bank / Washington Mutual Bank Manager, John Cassidy as Chief Executive Officer. Cassidy was a leader with 20 years of successful banking, marketing, community involvement and sales experience throughout Sierra Central’s natural geographic footprint. He hit the floor running and has not stopped yet!
Cassidy’s and Sweeney’s first move was to begin building a new leadership team. They identified several key internal staff and recruited new team members from within the banking industry. The dynamic team they built provided the leadership needed to almost double the financial institution’s asset base from $242 million to $420 million by 2006.
By the end of 2014, Sierra Central’s membership base was at 61,000. Member deposits had grown to $645 million, and our loan portfolio had grown to $495 million.
Through 2014, assets had almost tripled from $242 million in 2000 to $738 million – more than halfway to our $1 billion goal.
Our commitment is to continue being the Best of Banking Where You Live and Work!