CAPITOLA, Calif. (11/10/08)--Bay FCU encouraged its members and California’s Santa Cruz County community to “think local” during a meeting the credit union hosted Oct. 16. The Capitola, Calif.-based credit union is a member of the Think Local First--Santa Cruz network of local businesses and community organizations that promotes economic vitality in Santa Cruz County. “I believe it’s our collective goal to make a real difference in our local community and to help each other achieve success,” Bay FCU President/CEO Carrie Birkhofer told meeting attendees. “It’s the simple concept of local people helping local people to thrive, which is the mission of Bay FCU.” At the meeting, Birkhofer shared the history of Bay FCU, which was founded in 1957 by a group of local teachers. The credit union serves more than 65,000 members and 500 businesses--and provides financial and volunteer support to local nonprofit organizations and schools. Birkhofer also participated in a two-hour radio program Oct. 15 to discuss the importance of banking locally. Think Local First was established in 2007. Membership is close to 200, and the group raises community awareness through local print and radio ad campaigns. For every $100 spent at a local business, $45 circulates within the community--compared with $13 from a non-local business, according to the credit union. Bay FCU has more than $650 million in assets.