Community First Credit Union of Santa Rosa selects new CEO

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Scott Johnson, a senior official at a Los Angeles County credit union, has been chosen as the new CEO of Community First Credit Union.

Johnson, 54, most recently served as Director of Revenue and Director of Strategy at Unify Financial Credit Union in Torrance. He will replace Todd Sheffield, who will step down on June 30 after leading the 60,000-member cooperative based in Santa Rosa for nearly 20 years.

“We chose Scott, a former CIO, for his applied knowledge of technology, but also because of his strong fit with our corporate culture and the local communities we serve,” said Carolyn Welch, chair of the board of directors of the credit union, in a report.

In an interview, Johnson said he appreciates how Sheffield has established a solid foundation under his tenure for the nonprofit, especially after its merger almost four years ago with Mendo Lake Credit Union. Under Sheffield’s leadership, Community First has grown its assets from $ 91 million in 2001 to $ 664 million today.

“I’m just looking to come and work with the great team there and continue to strengthen the relationships we have with our members in these communities,” Johnson said. He added that he wants to be an advocate for the industry in explaining the benefits of membership, especially for those who currently do not have a relationship with a bank or credit union.

Community First Credit Union also has 11 branches on the north coast in some rural areas that the big banks have left. “I think a credit union is uniquely positioned to be able to make inroads into these markets… especially with underserved people,” Johnson said. Prior to working in the credit union industry, Johnson was CTO of the Corporate division of Pacific Life Insurance.

“It has to start with a foundation of trust that the institution is really there for their economic well-being and not the other way around. I’m not sure the big banks are seen that way, ”he added.

Johnson said one area to explore in the future is real estate mortgages, particularly with buyers trying to get a down payment in the Bay Area area with high housing costs. He noted that some FinTech vendors are developing products to make life easier for first-time home buyers and he would explore such partnerships to see if that would be feasible for Community First. “We would definitely like to watch those who move forward,” he said.

Community First also recently launched its “420 accounts” which serve commercial cannabis customers with banking services.

You can reach editor Bill Swindell at 707-521-5233 or [email protected] On Twitter @BillSwindell.


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