CoastHills Credit Union to add branches from Ventura to Santa Cruz

By Julie Lynem, The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 15--CoastHills Credit Union is expanding beyond the borders of San Luis Obispo County and parts of Santa Barbara County.

Over the next five years, the credit union, with assets in excess of $750 million, plans to increase its number of branches to 22 in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. The credit union currently serves more than 57,000 members in 11 branches, plus a full-service call center. The credit union also has 123 shared credit union branches in the five-county area, as well as access to more than 300 ATM's.

The expansion, which received voter support from credit union members as well as its board of directors, is the result of the institution converting to a state-chartered credit union from a federal one in July, according to a press release issued Wednesday. Before the switch, CoastHills was limited to San Luis Obispo County and the northern half of Santa Barbara County.

Credit unions and banks can be chartered by the state or federal government. Under a state charter, credit unions must abide by its state's laws and regulations and have greater access to state legislators who may better understand local issues affecting them. As well, the Field of Membership laws, which allow for the mixing and matching of communities and Select Employee Groups for state-chartered credit unions, are more flexible, and that gives these institutions more of an opportunity to expand membership and services.

CoastHills' member deposits will continue to be federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund with $250,000 in coverage for each member.

Credit union officials say they are excited about extending CoastHills' reach. CoastHills plans to start immediately offering opportunities for auto, mortgage and business lending.

"We're going to hit the ground running," said Jeff York, CoastHills' president and chief executive officer. "I'm confident that the families and businesses in all five counties will learn very quickly that our products and services are outstanding, our rates are extremely competitive and our vision to make a difference in our neighbors' lives will stay consistent."


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