The History of Bay Federal Credit Union

The original office from 1963


8 teachers believed in people helping people and applied for a credit union charter. On November 8, 1957, the Santa Cruz County Teachers Federal Credit Union was born. The first loan was used to purchase a baby crib for $50.


The first official Santa Cruz County Teachers Federal Credit Union office was opened at 2034 N. Pacific Ave, in Santa Cruz.

We changed our name to Santa Cruz County Schools Credit Union.

The employee based Credit Unions of Lipton and Santa Cruz City merged with SCCSCU. The Credit Union changed its name to Bay Federal Credit Union.

Colshire Credit Union became part of Bay Federal.

We expanded our field of membership to include Chambers of Commerce.

We grew to $63 million in assets and over 20,000 members.

Dominican Hospital Employees Credit Union became part of Bay Federal.


The current location of our Freedom branch in Watsonville opened.

The current location of our Freedom Branch in 1994


Main branch in Capitola on Clares Street



Our corporate offices and main branch opened in Capitola on Clares Street. Carrie Birkhofer became our President and CEO after serving 6 years as EVP/Chief Financial Officer.

Wrigley Employees Credit Union became part of our Credit Union. A milestone of 100 million in assets was reached.

We were granted a community charter allowing all people who live, work, worship, volunteer and attend school in Santa Cruz County to join the Credit Union.

Our Scotts Valley branch on Mt. Hermon Road opened.

Our Santa Cruz branch on River Street opened. The Credit Union surpassed $182 million in assets and 34,000 members.

Our Watsonville Branch opened in the Overlook Shopping Center.


We reached $350 million in assets and 34,000 members. Our community charter was expanded to include Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito Counties. This was the first year that 100% of our employees volunteered in the community.

We implemented a Youth Financial Education program and reached $508 million in assets with 51,000 members.

Our Aptos Branch opened on Post Office Drive.

Community benefit


The First Lady's Medal of Service Award


We began offering Business Services to our members.

We remodeled our River Street branch and started offering free financial counseling services through Balance Financial Fitness.


We provided over 600 members with loan modifications and financial counseling to help them keep their homes and loans. We were also awarded the first ever Governor and First Lady’s Medal of Service Award as the State of California’s Small Business Volunteer Program of the Year.

We replaced all of our ATMs with new, state-of-the-art image-enabled ATMs.

For the 10th consecutive year, 100% of our employees volunteered their time and raised money in the community. Assets reached $700 million, and over 55,000 members in the tri-county area.

Santa Cruz County Employees Credit Union became part of Bay Federal Credit Union.


We unveiled a new, cutting-edge online banking platform, BayFedOnline, and a BayFed Mobile app to enable members to complete transactions from anywhere.

We reached over 3,000 community members with our Financial Education program.

We adopted EMV-enabled chip cards and upgraded our card systems to integrate Mobile Wallet technology. We also reached $935 million in assets for the first time.

Bay Federal announces new partnership with Landed to help Santa Cruz Educators purchase a home. We are also named one of “2018 Best Credit Unions to work for” by the Credit Union Journal, and our CEO, Carrie Birkhofer, is selected as Woman of the Year by the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce.

We reached a milestone in assets of $1 billion dollars, received the 5-Star superior rating by Bauer Financial Group, and successfully merged Coast-Tel Federal Credit Union into Bay Federal Credit Union. We are also named the "2019 Best Credit Union to Work For" by Credit Union Journal, a jump from thirteenth place last year to first place.

BayFed Online


Bay Federal Credit Union demonstrated its ability to pivot and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. In response to the ongoing pandemic and devastating wildfires, we sprang into action to expand services and created new ways to support our membership in need. This included emergency loans, payment deferrals, and participating in the Federal Paycheck Protection Program to help our small business owners.

Membership surpasses 82,000.  Bay Federal Credit Union was awarded $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the Community Development Financial Institution  (CFDI) Rapid Response Program to deploy loans quickly to those affected most by the pandemic Salinas Branch moved to the all-new, innovative banking location in the Harden Ranch Plaza. 

Member loans exceed $1 billion. Bay Federal Credit Union receives multiple publication reader awards for “Best Credit Union.” 

Winner Readers Choice Santa Cruz Sentinel 2022

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