Riverside Continues Sizzling Growth; Members Up 14%

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Riverside County's Credit Union continued its red-hot growth in the first quarter of 2004, especially in the critical area of share draft accounts.

As of March 31, the number of share draft accounts was up 17% from the end of the first quarter 2003, Riverside County's CU's management said. Share draft deposits were up 29% for the same period. In addition, the credit union increased its membership by more than 14% to nearly 94,000 members, and assets grew 15.9% to $592.4 million.

Gerry Agnes, RCCU's chief operating officer, said the credit union has no problem getting members to sign up for checking accounts.

"They are our lead product and a core product for our members," he said. "So when we have membership growth that is strong, they are coming in, opening checking accounts and getting debit cards."

Riverside County's CU has operated under a community charter since 1998. Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, attends school or worships in Riverside and San Diego counties, plus the residents of selected cities in Orange and San Bernardino counties. According to Agnes, the credit union has benefited from the confluence of several factors.

"Our growth has been dramatic for six years now, partly because we are in a region that is one of the fastest-growing in the country," he said. "We have stellar brand awareness in the community, thanks to our print media, billboard and radio advertising. Plus, our staff is out in the community. We spend more volunteer hours in the community than any other organization around. We manage a host of SEGs, so we also are out doing a lot of business development. That complements our advertising efforts."

"To build awareness of the credit union in the community, it takes that environment, combined with management that expects a lot of itself," he added.

RCCU's growth is reflected in its expanding number of branches. It opened two branches in 2002, one this year, and plans two for 2005.

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