Technology Credit Union (Tech CU) is a financial institution dedicated to delivering technology and personal expertise that inspires, educates and empowers its members to succeed financially. Founded in 1960 by the employees of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Semiconductor Division with a few thousand dollars and a couple of accounts, Tech CU is now one of the Bay Area’s largest credit unions. We sat down with Todd Harris, President and CEO, to discuss the company and its initiatives in our latest Partner Spotlight.
What makes Tech CU different from other credit unions?
We were “born” out of Fairchild Semiconductor as a way to meet the financial needs of their employees. Fairchild was the company that created the first SUCCESSFUL mass produced chips, and truly helped create the Silicon Valley that we live in today. We take a lot of pride as an organization that we were founded by some of the same people that started the first boom for Silicon Valley, including Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore.
We really feel that these deep roots and common connections give us an edge that separate us from our competitors. We have had a front row seat to some of the world’s most incredible innovations — we understand the tech community because we too, have lived it.
How do you target your audience as a unique credit union in the tech sector?
We focus a great deal on our digital channels. Tech CU has a top-notch mobile app and a great online banking system. Our members don’t always want to come into our physical branches, so we focus on delivering our convenience via those channels.
How do you see Tech CU getting more involved in the SF Bay Area communities?
On the individual front, as a result of being in the San Francisco market, we’re developing a “Tenants in Common Lending” program. This is a way for people in a building with several units to buy into it together. We have learned through employees interacting with members that due to the cost of housing, there is demand for this product. Only a couple of other institutions in the area offer this.
We’re also the first credit union in the nation to develop an asset-based lending program, which is geared towards small companies and startups.
Lastly, we’re actively involved in the community through volunteer work and monetary donations. Since 2007, Tech CU has invested nearly $1.3 million in Bay Area communities. This money goes towards supporting local organizations in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), workforce development, financial literacy, affordable housing, and health and wellness.
How has being a member of the SF Chamber helped Tech CU?
We’re relatively new to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, but it’s been great having networking opportunities along with the ability to communicate with other local business owners to get a feel for what they need in a financial institution. Being a member has also helped us become more informed on some of the lobbying and political aspects that the Chamber works on, so we can become more involved in the community.
Where do you see Tech CU growing in the future?
Our company’s name sets a certain expectation that we’re going to continue to be tech savvy. We not only do this well, but we want to do this exceptionally well. We will continue to use fintechs as our benchmark for how the customer experience works, including ease-of-use. Going forward, we will position ourselves to be the fintech company with federally-insured deposits, combining the best of fintech and credit unions into one institution.