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!
In 2015 we moved into our New State of the Art Corporate Headquarters building located at 1351 Harter Parkway in Yuba City California. In addition to a new Yuba City Branch location, the new building allowed for our back-office operations to come together under the same roof. This provided us the opportunity work more efficiently and effectively.
In August of 2017 we built and relocated our Grass Valley branch to a more visible location. We opened a new branch location in Anderson California in November of 2016, expanding on our already prominent footprint in the Northern California region.
Early on, around 2005, we developed a rally cry of One Team, One Mission, One Billion, understanding that to survive and thrive as an organization we would need to grow to this asset size. In December of 2018 we were very excited when we hit that milestone marker and ended the year with $1 Billion in Assets.
We went through several years of disasters in our footprint region, starting with the Oroville Dam crisis in 2015, the 2016 Car Fire in Redding, the 2017 Wall Fire in Yuba and Butte County foothills, the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, the 2019 Mountain Fire in Shasta County and the 2020 North Complex Fire in the Yuba, Butte, Plumas County foothills and the Hog Fire in Susanville. Also, in 2020, our country was stricken with a virus that caused stay at home orders for the entire country. Children learned how to attend school remotely, and many businesses learned to operate with many of their employees working from home. We wore masks outside of our homes and social distanced from our family and friends for an entire year. Through these tumultuous times, Sierra Central implemented its disaster preparedness procedures and weathered each of the storms, with little or no interruption in service to our Members. We are very proud of this achievement as serving our Members is and always has been our primary goal.
Although 2020 was a hard year for everyone in the country, the Sierra Central Team worked hard and continued to grow and at the end of 2020 Sierra Central Credit Union sits at $1.3 Billion in Assets, with 20 Branch locations, adding a second location in Chico California, officially opening January 13, 2020 and a new location in Wheatland California, opening on August 17, 2020.
We are very excited about the future of Our Credit Union, stay tune for more to come….