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Redwood Credit Union (RCU) is a local community credit union serving anyone living or working in California's North Bay and San Francisco. Founded in 1950, the full-service credit union offers personal and business banking products.

RCU has $2.7 billion in assets and is the 64th largest of approximately 6,300 credit unions throughout the United States. Serving more than 250,000 members, RCU operates 16 branch locations, and 30,000 fee-free ATMs.

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The Good

  • The credit union difference
  • Broad range of terms
  • Lower interest rates

"The Credit Union Difference"

In what RCU calls "The Credit Union Difference," the not-for-profit institution takes pride in its dedicated focus on service, not profit. Unlike banks, credit unions are member-owned and run by volunteer boards. Resultantly, many credit unions like RCU have a strong commitment to the philosophy of "people helping people." The United States government federally insures credit union deposits, and the institutions do not pay taxes on profits.

Broad Range of Terms and Amounts

RCU offers SBA 7(a) loans for business owners who need funds for tenant improvements, debt refinances, equipment, working capital, acquisition, partnership buyout, commercial real estate and more. This loan comes with terms from 7-25 years and loan amounts ranging from $50,000 to $5 million.

Lower Interest Rates

Most credit unions are able to provide lower-than-average interest rates, and RCU is no exception. According to a representative of the company, the maximum interest rate for SBA loans is currently at 9.75 percent, and the rate is often much lower depending on collateral and terms. Additionally, RCU's business loan application does not require a fee and there is no early payoff penalty.

The Bad

  • Limited eligibility
  • Limited perks

Limited Eligibility

As with all credit unions, membership has its hurdles. In the case of RCU, eligibility is limited to geographic location-specifically to only two states. RCU is only available in California and Oregon. Most of the companies on our list are available almost nationwide. This really limits who can benefit from RCU's services.

Don't Expect Bells and Whistles

Because larger banks have so much more resources at their disposal, they're able to provide customer "perks" in the form of rewards, bonuses, and advanced technology. Credit unions don't typically have this luxury. If this is what matters to you, RCU might not be the best choice.

The Bottom Line

The pros of borrowing from RCU far outweigh the cons, and the cons listed are natural pains that come with joining any credit union. If you are comfortable banking with a credit union and happen to live in California's North Bay area, Redwood Credit Union is worth checking out for your business funding needs.

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