Southern California’s Valley Strong Credit Union expands into Solano County

Southern California’s Valley Strong Credit Union expands into Solano County

Valley Strong Credit Union has announced plans to open a $10 million regional headquarters in Fairfield by mid-2024.

The Bakersfield-based credit union targeted Solano County after merging with Solano First Federal Credit Union at the end of 2021. The move included three branches in Solano County. Valley Strong plans to remodel two locations and relocate the third. That new branch is expected to be operational later this year.

Groundbreaking for its regional headquarters at 3660 Nelson Road near Texas Street took place on Dec. 13, 2022, on the site of a former Howard Johnson hotel.

Plans call for a 13,000-square-foot, two-story facility that will provide business banking, lending and wealth-management services. The building will sit on 1.6 acres of land purchased on Dec. 15, 2021, for $1 million, according to the Solano County Recorder-Clerk’s office.

According to Valley Strong Credit Union, it provides services to more than 293,000 members within 31 branches stretched over the Central Valley in California’s Solano, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare and Kings counties.

Assets were $4.2 billion. The goal is to reach $5 billion in assets by 2025, officials said.

The announcement follows a major Central Valley acquisition in the banking world when Novato-based Bank of Marin bought American River Bank located in the Sacramento region in April 2021 for $134 million.

And Dixon-based First Northern Bank’s parent acquired three Northern California branches spun off from the merger of Columbia Bancorp with Umpqua Holdings.

With its plan to employ another 50 staffers at the new regional offices and branch bringing its total count to 650, Valley Strong Credit Union’s plans were welcomed by county business officials.

“This is great — more jobs,” Solano Small Business Development Center Director Tim Murrill said, adding especially with years of pandemic-based perks and assistance “drying up” for business. He singled out the Paycheck Protection Program managed by the U.S. Small Business Administration that provided loans for keeping staff on their payrolls. The loan forgiveness part of that program expired last year, leaving companies to fend for themselves with traditional loans.

“We’re seeing that trend where businesses can’t wait around for another gift. What this means is that business that has taken advantage of that have to go back to the old days. They either need to earn the money or borrow it,” Murrill said.

Susan Wood covers law, cannabis, production, energy, transportation, agriculture as well as banking and finance. For 27 years, Susan has worked for a variety of publications including the North County Times, now a part of the Union Tribune in San Diego County, along with the Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe News. She graduated from Fullerton College. Reach her at 530-545-8662 or susan.wood@busjrnl.com

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