Board & CEO

Imagine what’s next

It started with an idea. An idea so compelling that when shared, it became a passion.

This passion inspired action, inspired change, inspired a movement.

This is the story of First West—the story of how an idea, which was founded on the desire to make credit unions far more relevant for Canadians, would in only five short years successfully reinvent the credit union model in Canada.

Today, First West’s growth has made it one of the leading co-operative financial institutions not just in B.C., but across the country. It’s all thanks to the thousands and thousands of Canadians who have joined us over the past five years.

You see, at a time when average Canadian families and businesses seem to face so many barriers, naysayers and challenges, they’re truly looking for someone who’s for them—someone who’s on their side. And that’s what they find every day in Enderby, in Penticton, in Chilliwack, in Duncan and everywhere else they find one of our team members—people who partner with families to overcome the barriers of owning a home for the first time, who say yes to British Columbians about no- and ultra-low fee accounts, and who partner with business owners to overcome the challenges of starting or expanding their business. Whether it’s at Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings or Enderby & District Financial, families and businesses are finding simple banking solutions and concrete advice from people who care and believe in them and want to imagine an even better future alongside them.

As you’ll read further in this report, when you imagine what’s possible and what can be done—as we at First West do—rather than what can’t be done, the result is something incredible, transformational.

Shawn Neumann

Shawn Neumann

Board Chair

Launi Skinner

Launi Skinner

CEO

portrait: Shawn Neumann

Shawn Neumann

Board Chair

portrait: Stewart Ladyman

Stewart Ladyman

Vice-Chair

portrait: Mark Aston

Mark Aston *

Director

portrait: Wayne Becker

Wayne Becker

Director

portrait: Quentin Bruns

Quentin Bruns

Director

portrait: Michael Brydon

Michael Brydon

Director

portrait: Terry Enns

Terry Enns

Director

portrait: Richard Hill

Richard Hill *

Director

portrait: Henry Jansen

Henry Jansen

Director

portrait: Peter Scherle

Peter Scherle

Director

portrait: Jim Thomson

Jim Thomson

Director

portrait: Ken Voth

Ken Voth

Director

* Appointed to the First West Board January 1, 2015.

portrait: Jackie Baron

Jackie Baron

Senior VP, Governance & Corporate Strategy

portrait: Randy Bertsch

Randy Bertsch *

President, Island Savings

portrait: Shelley Besse

Shelley Besse

President, Envision Financial

portrait: Loree Gray

Loree Gray

Senior VP, Operations

portrait: Darrell Jaggers

Darrell Jaggers

Chief Information Officer

portrait: Jim Lamond

Jim Lamond

Senior VP, Credit

portrait: Bryan Mavrow

Bryan Mavrow

Senior VP, Marketing & Communications

portrait: Paulette Rennie

Paulette Rennie

President, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial

portrait: Lee Rhodes

Lee Rhodes

Senior VP, People Services

portrait: Launi Skinner

Launi Skinner

Chief Executive Officer

portrait: Bill Snell

Bill Snell *

Chief Risk Officer

portrait: Tom Webster

Tom Webster

Chief Financial Officer

* Appointed to the First West Leadership Team January 1, 2015.

 

Regional Reports

  • President's Message from Shelley Besse

    When I look back on 2014, it stands out as a year in which we made great strides in making banking simpler and more accessible for our members. We launched new products, opened a new branch and evolved our approach to serving our members. I know that our work last year has set a solid foundation for our future, and when I look ahead, I see so much promise and potential.

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the opening of our Garrison Village branch and insurance office in Chilliwack. This new location is a departure from the traditional ways of banking—there are no wicket queues, no tellers and no designated, desk-centred offices. Instead, meeting spaces are designed to make the flow of business more open and relational. Perhaps the most important change is our approach to growing the business. Business development is no longer the responsibility of just one or two roles, but of every employee in the branch. When a member walks into our new branch, the person who greets them now serves all of their banking, borrowing and investing needs, creating a unique, comprehensive service experience. Recognizing that our members value flexibility, all staff at our Garrison Village location are fully mobile and can conduct business where it’s most convenient for our members, whether that be in the branch, at their home or in their neighbourhood coffee shop.

    In 2015, we will open another new branch based on this model in the Brick Yard Station area of Cloverdale, providing even greater accessibility to our members and introducing our services to one of the fastest growing communities in B.C.

    And speaking of the neighbourhood coffee shop—businesses are a vital part of the local economy and we love to see them succeed. To help support business and commercial members even more, we invested in the skills and expertise of our business banking advisors in 2014. Our business and commercial banking team is well-equipped to provide members with expert advice for the challenges of a competitive marketplace.

    Last year was a year of firsts. First West Credit Union was the first credit union in B.C. to launch Interac® Online payments and the first to launch Interac® Flash. We introduced these new products and services to provide our members with more banking options. Let me tell you a little about these two products:

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

    • Interac® Online payments are a convenient way to shop online and pay for purchases through an account using online banking.
    • Interac® Flash allows members to pay for everyday purchases instantly from their savings or chequing account simply by tapping their Flash-enabled MemberCard on a supporting payment terminal—no PIN required. We are currently piloting Interac® Flash cards at our Willoughby and High Street branches and expect the cards to be available across all Envision Financial locations into 2016.

    We were also proud to introduce the TFSA Early Bird Account to members in the Envision region. This new product allows members who have already maximized their yearly TFSA contribution to start saving for next year’s contribution while receiving a great interest rate.

    At all locations, our entire team’s approach to serving our members evolved last year. We call our new approach “advisory-based service,” where we provide our members and clients exemplary advice, services and products aligned to their needs and life stages. Our changes have really resonated with our members who have come to rely on our team as trusted and knowledgeable advisors who are working alongside them to reach their goals.

    As I say every year, the success of the past year is due solely to the exceptional advice and service our committed staff provide and to the loyalty and support of our members. I am so grateful to be part of such an amazing team and proud to serve such dedicated members. Thank you!

    Shelley Besse

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Members

    In 2014, we continued to focus on keeping banking simple for our members. This included adding new locations, offering new and unique products and providing additional tools to access our services. We want to offer our members choice so they can bank when they want, in the way that is most convenient for them.

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Helping make futures bright

    When a new day school in New Westminster needed a mortgage for its first location, Envision Financial was there to help. After more than a decade of strong growth, the Urban Academy is now undertaking an ambitious expansion project and Envision is supporting them every step of the way.

    “Our goal is to provide students—from junior kindergarten to grade 12—with rigorous academic program instruction and depth in the fine arts with the intention of creating global citizens who go on to be a force for change in their communities,” says Urban Academy’s Head of School Cheryle Beaumont.

    Educating 160 students in two locations, the Urban Academy is outgrowing its current facilities and plans to start construction on its new building project in spring 2015. Once complete, the new facility will have capacity for 450 students in a single location—still small enough to maintain the school’s community atmosphere, but large enough to add more programs and resources. The expansion is slated to open its doors Sept. 2016.

    “Our partners at Envision Financial have worked very hard at wrapping their heads around what we’re trying to do here. They have met with us in person many times to understand our needs,” says Beaumont. “Envision Financial has been instrumental in helping us secure the funding for the school’s expansion and realize our growth plans.”

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • By the numbers

    • 87 per cent of credit union members who do personal banking under the Envision Financial banner would most likely recommend us to a friend or family member
    • 88 per cent of clients would most likely recommend our insurance services to a friend or family member
    • 3,577 net new members joined Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
    • 81 per cent of credit union members state we are better than other companies they regularly use for products and services
    • 673 members referred a friend or family member through our Referral Perks program

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Member Highlights

    • Garrison Village branch and insurance office opened in Chilliwack; this new branch is an open, interactive space where members can come in and try out new technology advancements, talk to us about a mortgage or investment, purchase insurance and much more
    • Announced a new branch will open in Brick Yard Station in Cloverdale in 2015
    • Based on member feedback, statements were redesigned to make banking simpler for members
    • Launched Interac® Online, bringing members the convenience of paying for online purchases directly from their account
    • Helped members get a jump start on saving for next year's TFSA contribution by launching TFSA Early Bird Account
    • Foreign exchange ATM introduced at Garrison Village branch to provide members with easier access to US cash

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Community

    Envision Financial is proud to be recognized as a leader in our local communities and as a caring and compassionate neighbor. Our goal is to make a meaningful difference in the communities where we operate. We create good things with our community partners by leveraging all aspects of our business in our partnerships—financial donations, employee engagement and member involvement. In 2014, we were proud to invest more than $1.4 million in donations, grants, education awards and gifts-in-kind, and to contribute thousands of employee volunteer hours.

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Douglas College Community Capacity Building program

    When Envision Financial opened up shop in Coquitlam in 2005, it began looking for ways it could have a meaningful impact in the local community. Douglas College quickly emerged as a great community partner and over the past 10 years, the two have developed a close relationship.

    “Our partnership with Envision Financial began in 2005 with sponsorship of a Christmas festival and has matured into a community education outreach program that enriches communities throughout Metro Vancouver,” says Hazel Postma, Douglas College’s Associate Vice-President, Advancement & External Relations. “Our relationship has deepened over the years, moving from providing pleasure to thousands of people each year at the festival, to giving dozens of students awards for academic excellence through the Envision Financial Scholarship, through to growing the capacity of non-profits to do marketing, event planning, social media and outreach.”

    "This partnership is truly a win-win for the students and for the nonprofits,” says Christina Cawkell, faculty member of the marketing department at Douglas College. “The students get to apply their learning in real world situations and the non-profits end up with useful marketing collateral they otherwise couldn't afford. It’s exciting to see how the students engage with the projects beyond the classroom. Envision Financial's involvement adds another dimension to the learning environment which makes that capacity building a reality."

    Over the years, the non-profits that have benefitted from the program include the Surrey Food Bank, Eagle Ridge Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, Coquitlam Foundation, and most recently, Alouette Addiction Services and the Abbotsford Community Foundation.

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • “The Abbotsford Community Foundation is grateful to Envision Financial and Douglas College for selecting us to participate in this exciting program that gives students the opportunity to put their skills to work in the real world,” says Susan McAlevy, Executive Director of the Abbotsford Community Foundation. “As a non-profit with a limited operating budget we will benefit from their creativity and expertise. The results will help us provide more support for the charities serving our community and allow us to build on our tradition of supporting students.”

    Community Investment: By the Numbers

    • More than $1.4 million donated to worthy causes and organizations in our local communities
    • More than $102,000 of in-kind contributions to charitable partners
    • 4,504 total hours volunteered by staff in the Envision Financial region supporting community partners throughout our region
    • $139,592 raised and 11,982 pounds of food collected for The Full Cupboard and our 11 local food banks
    • Staff volunteered 555 hours holding 100 fundraising events for The Full Cupboard in the Envision Financial region
    • 1,251 gifts collected and 4,600 pounds of food donated through The Full Cupboard Holiday program
    • Over 855 hours of volunteerism with 22 projects in nine Envision Financial communities for Our Make a Difference Days program
    • 54 free concerts for local residents through the Envision Twilight Concert Series, Envision Coffee House Concert Series and Envision Concert in the Park Series

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

    • More than 45 classrooms in 10 districts and 3000 students participated with Envision Financial’s PowerPlay Strategies Young Entrepreneur® program in which students donate 10% of earned profit to a non-profit organization of their choice; Since 2012, over $14,000 has been donated to local charities throughout our region
    • $253,512 raised for Envision Financial Run for Water; 31 local and area schools and over 10,000 students participated in the Envision a Better World: Learn, Create, Run educational curriculum
    • More than $35,000 donated to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in our annual campaign bringing our total giving since 2007 to $249,473
    • $27,000 contributed to students’ post-secondary education through the Envision Financial Education Award program
    • 20 secondary students received mentoring from employees in the Envision Financial region
    • $63,622 pledged to local charities and community organizations by employees as part of our employee giving campaign

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • 2014 Community Partners

    Throughout the year, Envision Financial supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations in our communities. In 2014, our community partners included:

    • Abbotsford Arts Council
    • Abbotsford Community Services Society
    • Abbotsford Food Bank/Christmas Bureau
    • Abbotsford Hospice Society
    • BC Children's Hospital Foundation
    • BC Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund
    • BC Teen Challenge
    • Beach Grove Golf Club
    • Canadian Cancer Society
    • Canuck Place
    • CARE Transit
    • Chilliwack and District Senior Resources Society
    • Chilliwack Arts and Cultural Centre Society
    • Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society
    • Chilliwack Community Services/Christmas Bureau
    • Delta Hospital Foundation
    • Deltassist
    • Douglas College Foundation
    • Ducks Unlimited
    • Food Banks BC
    • Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation - Chilliwack
    • Friends in Need Food Bank
    • Hope Brigade Days
    • Hope Community Services Society
    • Kitimat Concert Series
    • Kitimat Food Bank
    • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
    • Ladner Village Quilt Walk & Classic Car Show
    • Langley Christmas Bureau
    • Langley Environmental Partners Society
    • Langley Montessori School
    • Langley School District Foundation
    • Maple Ridge Concert Band
    • Maples Discovery Gardens Co-op

    Envision Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

    • Mission Community Services Society/Christmas Bureau
    • Mission Heritage Association
    • Newton Community Festival
    • Peninsula Community Foundation
    • PowerPlay Strategies Young Entrepreneurs®
    • Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation
    • Run for Water Foundation
    • Salvation Army, Care and Share Centre
    • Salvation Army, Caring Place
    • Salvation Army, Gateway of Hope
    • Salvation Army, White Rock
    • Seniors Come Share Society
    • Share Family & Community Services Society
    • Sikh Academy
    • Sources Food Bank
    • Sources Langley Food Bank
    • South Delta Food Bank
    • St. Joseph’s Food Bank
    • Success By 6
    • Surrey Board of Trade
    • Surrey Food Bank
    • Surrey International Children’s Festival
    • Surrey School District
    • United Way of the Fraser Valley
    • University of the Fraser Valley
    • Virtue Foundation
    • Yarrow Volunteer Society
    • YWCA Metro Vancouver

    Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, is a proud participant of London Benchmark Group (Canada), a growing group of companies committed to maximizing the value of their community investment—for community partners and for the business. Our community investment results are based on London Benchmark Group (Canada) valuation principles.

    In 2010, Envision Financial became a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Envision Community pic Envision Community pic Envision Community pic Envision Community pic Envision Community pic Envision Community pic Envision Community pic Envision Community pic Envision Community pic
  • President's Message from Paulette Rennie

    If the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is true, 2014 was a real blast for Valley First.

    In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of year, we worked hard from January to December making sure our branch and insurance locations, hours and teams were best set to make banking and insurance as simple and as accessible as possible for our members and clients. Our goal for the year was straightforward: to provide expert service, products and advice when, where and how you want them.

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Before the end of June, we’d merged our Peachland branch with Vintage Hills, moved our UBC Okanagan operations to our Rutland branch and consolidated our Glenmore location with Orchard Plaza to form what will soon become our flagship retail hub. We’d also extended operating hours across our network, opening earlier throughout the week, introducing 8 p.m. closing time on Thursday and bringing Saturday service to the majority of our branches.

    Early in the year we also started planning our Vernon branch and insurance office relocation. Although our branch on 34th Street served us well for close to 20 years, we knew we could make a bigger impact in the Vernon community and on Nov. 3, 2014, we re-opened in Fruit Union Plaza. This stunning new branch is in a high-visibility, high-traffic area and has been designed to enable us to combine member service and technology.

    Last year also marked a significant step forward in service delivery to our business banking members. We added four business banking advisors to our team and equipped them to work outside of the traditional office environment. This growing team gives us mobility and presence in the community, allowing us to be more flexible in serving our business members.

    The response from our members about these changes, which represent just a few highlights from 2014, has been overwhelmingly positive. I’d like to personally thank our great team for bringing these changes to life and also our members, who have embraced them so strongly.

    I say it every year, but I truly believe the success of Valley First comes down to two things: the commitment of our dedicated employees and the loyalty and support of our members and clients.

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Thank you all, once again, for being part of creating our future and guiding us to the end of another incredibly full and successful year.

    Paulette Rennie

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Members

    Since the great recession of 2008, the script for the financial industry has remained largely unchanged and best described with just one word: uncertainty. At Valley First, our script is slightly different. While we pay close attention to our environment, we pay even closer attention to our members. We strive to make certain that every member interaction is positive and memorable, while ensuring banking and insurance services are as simple and accessible as possible.

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Bad Tattoo: Vision and partnership key to creating success

    With its solid line-up of craft beers and creative rock-oven pizzas, Bad Tattoo has quickly established itself as one of Penticton’s busiest hotspots. This quick success is a good news story for Bad Tattoo, its partners and supporters, and the local business scene.

    Lee Agur, Bad Tattoo’s manager, believes the key to Bad Tattoo’s success is its uniqueness.

    “We have an eccentric name, amazing building, cool locally designed labels, rock-oven pizzas and, most importantly, excellent craft beer,” says Agur. “We love what we do and we’re excited and proud of what we have built. Our excitement is infectious. People immediately recognize this and it makes them excited and proud and turns them into natural ambassadors of Bad Tattoo Brewing.”

    Although the success of Bad Tattoo’s first few months can make launching a new business sound simple, the reality is far from the truth. Bad Tattoo co-owner Martin Lewis acknowledges how hard it is to establish a new business venture and says opening the doors at one of Penticton’s newest eateries was a collaborative effort made possible through the hard work of many people.

    “With Bad Tattoo, we wanted to build a destination brewery that would give customers a place to come and try our craft beer and build brand recognition so that they could find them in the market,” says Lewis. “This could not have happened without strong partners like Valley First and the City of Penticton, who recognized and supported our vision. Valley First was quick to support and help nurture this project. The people are down to earth and understand business, removing red tape and believing in the people behind the project, not just the numbers.”

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • On helping bring Bad Tattoo to life, the banking experts from Valley First say Bad Tattoo had obviously done its homework.

    “An all too common mistake from an inexperienced business person is a lack of business planning,” says Heather O’Coin, a Valley First business banking advisor. “The Bad Tattoo crew had a clear view of where they wanted to go and how they were going to get there. This makes our job as a financing partner much easier. Business planning is critical to the success of any business.”

    By the numbers

    • 89 per cent of credit union members who do personal banking under the Valley First banner would most likely recommend us to a friend or family member
    • 87 per cent of clients would most likely recommend our insurance services to a friend or family member
    • 2,909 net new members joined Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union
    • 82 per cent of our credit union members state we are better than other companies they regularly use for products and services

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Member Highlights

    • Extended our opening hours across all our branch and insurance locations to give members and clients greater access to products, services and advice
    • Enhanced our ability to provide wealth solutions to members by newly licensing 16 personal bankers
    • Delivered more business banking solutions and expanded our business banking team across the region
    • Relocated and transformed our Vernon branch and insurance office into a terrific new location that will ultimately combine member service with technology
    • Continued our growth in the Kamloops and Kelowna markets as we celebrated the Valley First Place and RiverBend one-year anniversaries
    • Gave members access to stronger branch teams and more on-site expertise by completing the Central Okanagan branch consolidation project
    • Strengthened sports tourism in the Okanagan by becoming title sponsors of the Valley First Challenge Penticton Canada event
    • Gave arts and culture a place to grow through the naming sponsorship of the Valley First Community Theatre in Penticton

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Community

    Valley First loves being part of our communities. Since 1947, we’ve been ever-present at scores of local events, supported countless community initiatives and helped many organizations bring significant economic and social benefits to the region. Through the thousands of dollars in donations, grants, education awards, and gifts-in-kind, we’ve built a strong reputation as a caring community partner and trusted neighbour.

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Student consultants shape food bank strategy

    Activities such as client research, marketing and strategic planning are essential to the success of any business. However, the emergence of new channels, particularly digital marketing and social media, have made these activities more complex for even the largest companies.

    For non-profit groups and community organizations that operate on a limited budget, this complexity is no small problem. While there is a strong need to connect with the community for support and to broadcast their services, the simple fact is many community groups don’t have the budget or resources to seize the opportunity afforded by new channels.

    To address this problem, Valley First forged a unique directed studies program with Thompson Rivers University (TRU) that sees marketing support provided to local non-profits at no cost.

    The directed studies program provides the savvy and skills of a fourth-year TRU student-led team to a non-profit organization and assists them with their marketing efforts. Valley First committed $10,000 in scholarship funds to the TRU Foundation for students who successfully complete the academic requirements of the program.

    In addition to helping non-profit groups take advantage of the latest marketing strategies to achieve their goals, the program also provides soon-to-graduate students with some very valuable hands-on business experience to put on their resume. Students spent the fall of 2014 with the Kamloops Food Bank, bringing forward innovative plans and recommendations to foster volunteer growth and community awareness for the food bank.

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • “Students are using their classroom knowledge to address the challenges faced by a non-profit organization. These hands-on projects enable students to see the practical value of their classroom learning,” says Anne Lavack, professor of marketing in TRU’s School of Business & Economics. “Having business student volunteers undertake high quality projects for a non-profit organization provides real benefits for the entire community.”

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • 2014 Community Investment – By the Numbers

    • More than $850,000 donated to worthy causes and organizations in our local communities
    • 592 hours of employee time donated through Valley First’s employee volunteerism program
    • More than $273,400 raised and more than 6,000 pounds of food collected for Feed the Valley and our 11 local food banks
    • More than $31,000 of in-kind contributions to charitable partners
    • More than $1,500 collected and 689 pounds of food donated through Feed the Valley Holiday program
    • $32,000 contributed to students’ post-secondary education through the Valley First Education Award program
    • $44,483 pledged to local charities and community organizations by employees as part of our Employee Giving campaign
    • $22,476 donated to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in our annual campaign, bringing our total giving since 2007 to more than $37,800
    • Our Make a Difference Days program contributed over 239 volunteer hours to 15 projects in seven Valley First communities
    • 20 free concerts for local residents through the Valley First Music in the Park series in Armstrong, Kelowna’s Legacy Park series and Oliver’s Concert in the Park series
    • Launched PowerPlay Strategies Young Entrepreneur® program in Kamloops, West Kelowna and Kelowna, with over 120 students participating
    • More than 50 staff volunteered and participated in the Valley First Challenge Penticton
    • Contributed $10,000 to the capital campaign of Kamloops Community YMCA-YWCA

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • 2014 Community Partners

    • Armstrong Food Bank/Boys & Girls Club
    • BC Book Prizes
    • BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
    • BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund
    • Be an Angel
    • Bell Media
    • Business Gives Back Charity Auction
    • Canadian Cancer Society
    • Canadian Red Cross
    • Central Okanagan Hospice Association
    • Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association
    • Community Foundation of the South Okanagan
    • Critteraid, Penticton
    • Downtown Penticton Business Association
    • Farm Bag Fundraiser
    • Food Banks BC
    • Friends of Raise a Reader
    • Fresh Outlook Foundation
    • Global Okanagan
    • Good News Bears
    • Kamloops Boys & Girls Club
    • Kamloops Brain Injury Society
    • Kamloops Food Bank & Outreach Society
    • Kamloops Seniors Outreach Centre
    • Kelowna Community Food Bank Society
    • Kelowna Gospel Mission Women’s Recovery House
    • KVR Middle School Breakfast Program
    • Lumby & District Health Services
    • Lumby Food Bank
    • Lumby Seniors Meals on Wheels
    • Okanagan Boys & Girls Club
    • Okanagan College Foundation
    • Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society
    • Oliver Arts Council
    • Oliver Food Bank
    • Peachland Food Bank

    Valley First is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

    • Penticton & District Community Resource Centre
    • Penticton Meals on Wheels
    • Penticton Peach Festival Society
    • Penticton Vees Hockey Club
    • Penticton-Okanagan Rotary Club
    • Princeton Crisis Assistance Society
    • Princeton Family Services Society
    • Princeton Leaders for Literacy
    • Easter Seals, Extreme Makeover event
    • Royal Inland Hospital Foundation
    • Seventh Day Adventist Church Food Bank (Cawston and area)
    • Similkameen Country
    • Soup Sisters
    • South Okanagan Women in Need Society
    • Success by 6
    • SUN FM Radio
    • Survivorship Dragon Boat
    • The Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank
    • Thompson Rivers University (TRU)
    • University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO)
    • United Way
    • Vernon (and Enderby) Food Bank
    • Westside Community Food Bank
    • YMCA of Okanagan

    Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, is a proud participant of London Benchmark Group (Canada), a growing group of companies committed to maximizing the value of their community investment—for community partners and for the business. Our community investment results are based on London Benchmark Group (Canada) valuation principles.

    In 2010, Valley First became a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic Valley First Community pic
  • President's Message from Paulette Rennie

    Nestled at the top of the Okanagan, our Enderby & District Financial team is becoming an increasingly important and stronger part of the First West Credit Union network. They continue to embrace change and adapt to new ways of doing things, all while providing members with exceptional service.

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Last year, I shared that I was truly excited to welcome the Enderby team into the First West Credit Union network of brands. It’s now been close to two years since they officially joined First West and I have to say I’m truly happy with the way they’ve become part of the team.

    The Enderby team has seen a significant amount of change since they joined First West—leadership changes, new processes and procedures, and new branch hours—but they’ve continued to positively adapt and perform at the highest level. Whenever I visit the branch, I’m inspired by the team’s resilience as they continue to support our members and the community with the same level of enthusiasm they’ve always had, despite the numerous changes they’ve seen.

    Of course, we don’t just change things for the sake of change. Each time we’ve introduced a new product, process or application, we’ve done so for one of two reasons: either to make things simpler for our members or to make things simpler for our employees. We’ve seen the success of this approach reflected in the growth of our membership and the increasingly positive feedback from members.

    When Enderby & District Financial joined First West Credit Union, one of the questions I was regularly asked was, “What will happen to our community support?” At the time, I was confidently able to say, community support will remain an integral part of Enderby & District Financial. Though there were many highlights on the community calendar this year, I want to draw attention to one in particular.

    In 2014, we distributed the first grants from the Enderby & District Financial Community Endowment. Close to $19,000 was presented to four well-deserving community organizations. I know these funds will make a big impact in Enderby and just as importantly this support will deepen our relationship with the community. You can read more about these community endowment grants in our community highlights.

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • To close, I’d like to extend a special thank you to all the First West Credit Union members who do business through Enderby & District Financial and to our Enderby team. We’ve achieved a lot together over the last two years—thank you for helping us be so successful. Here’s to another exciting year together in 2015.

    Paulette Rennie

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Members

    When you stop and think of it, there are a lot of industry-leading offerings that have resulted from Enderby & District Financial joining First West Credit Union. In addition to our Unlimited Chequing For Business® account and Simply Free Account™, we’ve also been able to take advantage of the talent and expertise available from specialists across the entire organization and use it to further expand our lending, investment and insurance options. Even our community has benefitted from this relationship with the distribution of the inaugural batch of funds from our community endowment in 2014. We’ve achieved so much together in such a short time, just imagine what we’ll achieve next.

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • A full range of financial services to support changing needs

    Sandra Volpatti can’t recall how long she’s been a credit union member in Enderby. Sandra and husband Reno operated a dairy farm in the area for many years and there was never any decision to be made when it came to choosing a financial institution.

    “I couldn’t tell you when I opened my first account. Enderby & District Financial have always been such a part of our community that it is hard to imagine going anywhere else. The credit union was there to help when Reno’s parents purchased the farm in 1963 and have provided the advice, support and services to get our family through more than 50 years of farming. Now that we are semi-retired, they are right here to guide us through this stage of our lives as well.”

    Volpatti grew up in Enderby and has seen a lot of changes to the community over the years. The town has grown up around her and there are more options available these days, but her children—and now her grandchildren—are still choosing Enderby & District Financial.

    “It doesn’t feel like I’m at the bank when I’m there. I get all the services and professional advice I need with a friendly, personal touch that really sets them apart. Not many people would describe going to the bank as comfortable, but that’s exactly how I feel when I walk in the door of my credit union.”

    After selling their cattle and easing into retirement about five years ago, the Volpattis’ needs have shifted away from the business of farming to managing their retirement.

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • “We were dairy farmers all of our lives so when it came time to retire, dealing with a myriad of financial options and getting some sound, trusted advice was something we really needed. The credit union was there with investment products and advice we needed, as well as making sure we didn’t miss out on any of the advantages of RRSPs and TFSAs.”

    Understanding member needs and having that personal connection also helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

    “We aren’t very good at reading all the different notices we get regarding deadlines and any changes we need to make to our investments, but it’s not something I have to worry about because we always get a friendly phone call whenever we really need to do something.“

    By the numbers

    • 89 per cent of credit union members who do personal banking under the Enderby & District Financial banner would most likely recommend us to a friend or family member
    • 36 net new members joined Enderby & District Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
    • 83 per cent of credit union members at the Enderby branch state we are better than other companies they regularly use for products and services
  • Member Highlights

    • Offering a full range of investment options and advice for members, from informative investment cafes to term deposit vehicles
    • Full-service mortgage consulting, including what to bring to your first appointment to fast-track approvals to insurance advice
    • Delivering expert financial advice from regional experts via state-of-the-art video conferencing
    • Putting more money in the pockets of our members with the introduction of our high-interest savings account and our New Member incentive
    • Giving back to our community with 200 pounds of food and $6,896 for the Vernon and Enderby Salvation Army food banks from our Feed the Valley campaign
    • Keeping members connected with free Wi-Fi in branch and new mobile banking calculators

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Community

    Enderby & District Financial has been a part of the community for 67 years. Keeping our roots firmly planted in the local soil is something that has never changed, but we have changed the way we work. Staying and acting local while being able to work big as part of First West is benefiting members, employees and our community.

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Endowment begins to bear fruit

    Prior to our merger with First West, we established the $500,000 Enderby Financial Community Endowment within the First West Foundation in 2013. This endowment was set up to provide an annual source of funds to be allocated to worthy community projects in Enderby now and into the future, continuing our commitment to help build the communities we serve.

    We were very pleased to see the first distribution of grant money—nearly $19,000— make its way to four very deserving community groups.

    The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre is a community-based salmon hatchery and environmental education centre that was established in Enderby almost 30 years ago. Thanks in part to a grant from the endowment, they were able to host five weeks of fall field trips and experiential outdoor educational opportunities for local school children and visitors to the site.

    The NexusBC Community Resource Centre has been helping North Okanagan residents since 1988 with a variety of programs for jobseekers, immigrants and seniors. Endowment funding has allowed them to establish a pilot program of workshops to improve computer literacy for seniors.

    The Family Place of the Enderby and District Community Resource Centre offers program for families raising pre-school aged children. Endowment support has led to the launch of a program aimed at reducing isolation, increasing parenting and nutritional skills, and providing education on healthy early- childhood development.

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • The Enderby Preschool Society is a non-profit childcare organization. Grant funding has enabled them to provide free snacks and meals for at-risk children aged 5-10 years during their After School Kid’s Program.

    Community Investment: By the Numbers

    • Nearly $55,500 invested back into Enderby and neighbouring communities
    • More than $750 contributed to non-profit partners as employee volunteerism during working hours
    • $6,896 raised and 200 pounds of food collected for Feed the Valley and Enderby & District Community Resource Centre
    • 300 pounds of food, $540 and 47 gifts donated through Feed the Valley Holiday program
    • More than 150 children and families attended our annual Youth Day festivities
    • $7,500 contributed to student’s post-secondary education through the Enderby & District Financial Education Award program
    • More than 60 A.L. Fortune Secondary students participated in our financial literacy program, Financial Fitness
    • $433 pledged to local charities and community organizations by employees as part of our Employee Giving campaign

    Enderby & District Financial is proud to be a division of First West Credit Union.

  • 2014 Community Partners

    Throughout the year, Enderby & District Financial supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations. In 2014, our community partners included:

    • A.L. Fortune Secondary School
    • BC Cancer Agency
    • BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
    • Canadian Cancer Society
    • Canadian Co-operative Association
    • CUCBC Youth Program
    • Enderby & District Arts Council
    • Enderby & District Chamber of Commerce
    • Enderby & District Community Resource Centre
    • Enderby & District Lions Club
    • Enderby Funtastic
    • Enderby Minor Fastball League
    • Grindrod Elementary School
    • Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon
    • Kingfisher Interpretive Centre
    • M.V. Beattie Elementary School
    • Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 98
    • Santa's Workshop
    • Shriners of BC & Yukon
    • Snowarama
    • Splatsin Teaching Centre
    • Starlight Drive-In
    • Variety Club

    Enderby & District Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, is a proud participant of London Benchmark Group (Canada), a growing group of companies committed to maximizing the value of their community investment—for community partners and for the business. Our community investment results are based on LBG Canada valuation principles.

    In 2013, Enderby & District Financial became a division of First West Credit Union.

  • Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic Enderby Community pic
  • Welcoming Island Savings

    On January 1, 2015, First West Credit Union welcomed Island Savings as the newest division in our network of regional brands after receiving a “yes” merger vote from Island Savings members in November 2014.

  • Here for members

    Established in 1951, Island Savings is a full-service financial institution with branches from Victoria to Nanaimo to Salt Spring Island. Not only is Island Savings the fastest-growing financial institution based on Vancouver Island, but they are also renowned for having the Islands’ most recommended banking experience. Anchored by a strong financial expert role in the neighbourhoods it serves, Island Savings is committed to delivering remarkable banking experiences every time, guaranteed.

    Making Island lives even better

    What’s more, Island Savings is committed to impacting the financial and economic well-being of members, employees and communities. Every year, Island Savings gives more than $500,000 back to the community. Through innovative programs like their Waves of Kindness and GIFT—which provides leadership, sponsorship, financial, and in-kind support to community groups—Island Savings helps improve families’ quality of life and build strong communities. Island Savings also partners with external charitable and community-based organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence and Success by Six. Their community impact will only continue to grow with the new $2 million Island Savings Community Endowment, established within the First West Foundation.

    While enriching their communities, Island Savings has also enjoyed a long-standing reputation as a top employer in the province. For five years running, Island Savings has ranked as one of Aon Hewitt's top 50 employers in Canada.

  • A perfect fit

    We’re thrilled to have Island Savings as our newest regional brand. Deeply embedded in everything they do is the “Island way of life,” a dedication to acting and investing locally, unparalleled service and unwavering commitment to community. We’re proud to say none of that will change, but will only get better as we imagine what’s next for Island Savings as part of First West Credit Union.

  • Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic Island Savings Community pic
With more than 50 branches,
we're the most expansive credit
union network in B.C.
 

Employees

  • photo of Colleen Koop

    “First West encourages me to take ownership and be a leader—and that changes the way I work and affects our members in turn. I can’t wait to see how First West continues to set itself apart from its peers and pioneers new solutions in the financial frontier.”

    Colleen Koop

    Personal Account Manager

    Envision Financial’s Town Centre branch

  • photo of Jaydon Boughen

    “As the banking sector has become less dynamic, it’s great to see how First West is able to grow while sticking close to the values our members have come to expect. I’m excited by the direction we’re headed in and all the opportunities it will bring to employees, members and communities.”

    Jaydon Boughen

    Money Expert

    Envision Financial’s Garrison Village branch

  • photo of Jeni King

    “It’s awesome that we’ve been able to increase our community impact as part of First West—and it will only get better from here. As Enderby & District Financial continues to grow, we’ll see more and more given back to support community-focused organizations in our town and district.”

    Jeni King

    Personal Banking Officer

    Enderby & District Financial

  • photo of Kelley Bossert

    “Our new technology, products and services have made it easy for people to choose us. Over the coming years, First West will continue to innovate to meet all of our members’ personal, business, insurance and investment needs.”

    Kelley Bossert

    Regional Manager, Commercial Banking

    Valley First's Kamloops branch

  • photo of Martin Hough

    “I’m excited about First West’s brand model and the possibility of entering new markets and new locations, providing employees with endless possibilities for development. I’m also looking forward to seeing us continue to invigorate our industry and bring more value to our members.”

    Martin Hough

    Senior Personal Banking Officer

    Valley First’s Princeton branch

  • photo of Dominic Vogel

    “Having worked in other fields, I can say that the way First West embraces innovation, especially in an industry where creativity is sometimes stifled, is nothing short of astonishing. It’s gratifying to work for an organization that’s focused on delivering even more innovative and empowering products and services for our members.”

    Dominic Vogel

    IT Security Analyst

    First West Shared Services, Langley

  • photo of Dorothy Sidhu

    “One of the reasons I’m proud to be a member and employee of First West is our deep support in so many local communities. First West encourages us to get involved and volunteer, so I’m looking forward to us extending our reach to help more communities in the coming years.”

    Dorothy Sidhu

    Senior Advisor, Learning and Development

    First West Shared Services, Langley

facts
 

Financials

Deposits from members increased
5.5%, or $299 million, to $5.7 billion.
Loans to members increased
3.0%, or $160 million, to $5.6 billion.
Total assets increased
6.3%, or $388 million, to $6.5 billion.
Income before tax decreased
3.6%, or $1.5 million, to $39.4 million.
Membership grew by
3.7%, or 6,522 members
bringing our total net new members to nearly 26,000 since 2010.

First West paid dividends of $1.5 million to members, bringing total dividends paid to $6.8 million since 2010.

More than $1.8 million was invested in building healthier communities, bringing our total to $8.1 million since 2010.

16 new products, services and improvements launched in 2014, including TFSA Early Bird Account Deposit, enhancements to our mobile banking apps for iPhone and Android devices, the opening of our branch in Chilliwack's Garrison Village and the relocation of our Vernon branch to a more accessible location.

Scorecard

scorecard
  • Retail Banking

    2014 Highlights

    • Retail lending growth up $28 million, or 0.7%, to $3.9 billion
    • Retail deposits growth up $62 million, or 1.9%, to $3.4 billion
    • MasterCard sales of 117% of target and revenue of $1.8 million
    • Mutual fund asset sales and revenue: generated significant sales results, up $202 million
    • In June, opened our new concept branch, Garrison Village, representing a new way of doing banking; in the first six months of operation we added over 540 net new members, achieved 180% of non-interest income target and 170% of insurance revenue target
    • Relocated our Vernon branch to a high-visibility, high-traffic location to enhance service and access
    • Combined our Peachland operations with our Vintage Hills location, merged UBC Okanagan branch with our Rutland branch and consolidated the Glenmore branch with our Orchard Plaza location for improved service
    • Continued building the knowledge and expertise of our banking staff with lending and wealth management training and certification

    5 years of First West retail banking

    Through keeping banking simple with innovative products and services and professional, proactive advice and service, First West continues to make a difference in the financial lives of its members.

  • Outlook for 2015

    We expect B.C.’s economy to gain strength in 2015 with interest rates remaining low. Retail lending is expected to grow by 3.0% in 2015 versus a forecast of 1.6% in 2014.*

    In 2015, we will diversify our sources of revenue as traditional streams face ongoing challenges of compressed margins in a flat interest rate environment. Continuing to build the advisory nature of our business will be key to driving growth through sources of non-interest income that remain unaffected by interest rates fluctuations. Our advisory approach will be essential to proactively identifying opportunities to assist members with all areas of their financial lives, including wealth management, insurance and credit solutions.

    Our advisory approach will deepen collaboration with our teams in business banking, insurance and wealth management lines of business. Working together more closely will enable us to identify opportunities to proactively provide the expert advice and assistance to help members meet their financial needs. Co-operation between our retail and business banking teams will also yield greater opportunities for deposit gathering.

    This year we will invest in more tools and training for our staff to enable them to provide unparalleled professional financial advice and member experience as we continue to develop our advisory approach to financial services. First West’s Lean discipline will also contribute to improved processes, making banking easier for our members. In 2015, we expect to increase net membership by 3%, spearheaded by our industry-leading Simply Free Account™ and Unlimited Chequing for Business® account, as well as through various marketing campaigns and online marketing strategies.

    On January 1, 2015, Island Savings joined First West Credit Union. Throughout the year, we will work closely with our Island Savings retail banking teammates as they enhance their advisory approach to business. The introduction of our Simply Free Account™, in addition to a more intensive approach to membership growth and other strategies, will grow market share and share of wallet in the Island marketplace.

    *2015 Forecast includes Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union

  • Commercial Banking

    2014 Highlights

    • Grew commercial loans by $135.8 million
    • Deposit growth of $240.1 million
    • Entered business relationship with Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
    • Moved our business banking from strategy phase to tactical phase with investment in skills and expertise of 14 specialized business advisors
    • Supported agriculture research through sponsorship of the Demonstration Barn at University of the Fraser Valley’s state-of-the-art Agriculture Centre of Excellence

    5 years of First West Commercial Banking

    First West is making business banking simple while providing the innovative products and professional service our members demand.

  • Outlook for 2015

    We expect strong growth in real estate development throughout B.C. in 2015, especially in the Fraser Valley and Okanagan Valley communities. Commercial lending growth for 2015 is expected to be 9.2% vs. a forecast of 10.2% projected in 2014.*

    We have substantial expertise in funding construction and real estate development projects in our local communities and anticipate core growth of our lending portfolio to come from building projects.

    Last year, we launched our three-year plan focused on the small- and micro-business sector, which has traditionally been underserved by our competition. In 2015, we will continue focusing on these businesses and invest in this profitable segment by adding more staff, a specialized advisor training curriculum and support tools. We anticipate advancing our mobile delivery capabilities, enabling us to meet members and prospects in their places of business and in the communities we serve. This approach will allow us to grow our business one member at a time in a customized, high-touch way to develop deep, long-term relationships while allowing us to be more agile in identifying and responding to needs in the marketplace.

    Also enhancing our responsiveness to business members in 2015 will be the increase from $50,000 to $100,000 on the loan amount eligible for approval through our automated scoring system. Business members can also expect to benefit from specialized deposit advice as we introduce a Cash Management Deposit Services Advisor who will help members build their financial future and enable us to grow our deposit base.

    Overall, we will continue to deepen our relationships with members in all aspects of our business. There remains great opportunity to collaborate with our partner lines of business to provide more solutions to help our members succeed in all areas of their business operations and financial lives. This year will also see continued focus on attracting municipal and institutional business, including deposit gathering from large institutions and organizations as a means of increasing liquidity in support of loan growth.

    With the Island Savings commercial team joining First West in 2015, we look to collaborate with them as they continue the innovative work they began in 2014. Among other advancements, business members who do business through Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, can look forward to new products, such as the popular Unlimited Chequing for Business®, and to process improvements that will make banking transactions quicker and easier.

    *2015 forecast includes Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union

  • Insurance Services

    2014 Highlights

    • Exceeded contingent profit target by 20%, or $125,000
    • Core revenue lines increased by 1.26% and almost every key metric improved year over year
    • Smart Pay Premium financing revenue increased 22% year over year
    • More than 800 hours of capacity created through improvements to software, technology and processes, allowing our specialists to spend more time meeting members’ and clients’ needs
    • Streamlined the process for insurance policy changes, freeing up our specialists to spend more time serving members and clients

    5 years of First West Insurance

    First West Insurance continues to enhance flexibility and ease for our members and clients. Services like Smart Pay Premium—which simplifies car and home insurance financing—reflects our commitment to meeting members' and clients' ever-changing insurance needs.

  • Outlook for 2015

    First West Insurance will continue to focus on organic growth by selling insurance products and services to the credit union’s membership base. There is a significant opportunity for sales in this target market, owing to their established relationships with our other lines of business, especially our banking and wealth management businesses.

    To drive this growth, we will optimize our sales management practices to further develop our advisory-based sales culture that takes a proactive approach to serving the needs of our members and clients. Commercial insurance growth in 2015 will be driven largely by identifying sales opportunities through deepened collaboration with our business banking teams and an intensified focus on our relationships with our business members.

    In addition to driving organic growth and growth of commercial insurance, we will enhance operational efficiency as a core focus area. Part of this involves the project to convert to one First West-wide broker management system by early 2016. We will deploy substantial resources to the project in 2015 with the first phase of the three-phase project commencing in 2015. The new system will support First West Insurance’s growth efforts for years to come.

    In 2015, we will see the Island Savings insurance team become a part of our overall insurance business. The addition of 13 Island Savings insurance locations to the First West network will make us one of the top five insurance brokers in B.C. that has a truly cross-province presence. As Island Savings insurance locations join our network, we will look to optimize our business and leverage the increased scale Island Savings provides First West.

  • Wealth Management

    2014 Highlights

    • Grew wealth management revenues by 12.2%, or $1.0 million, to $9.7 million
    • Increased mutual fund assets under administration by 13.8%, or $202 million, to $1.67 billion
    • Envision Financial surpassed $1 billion in MFDA and IIROC assets, representing an increase of over 100% in five years; Valley First MFDA and IIROC assets approaching $400 million
    • Introduced OceanRock Investment Inc. investment products, including Meritas SRI funds, to our stable of products at all locations
    • Launched a new separately-managed accounts solution for high-net-worth members seeking discretionary portfolio management
    • Enhanced the knowledge and expertise of our sales team through training and certification

    5 years of First West Wealth Management

    We continue to enhance our ability to provide the wealth management advice and service our members need, so we can help them build and preserve their wealth and make sure their most important financial needs are taken care of.

  • Outlook for 2015

    In 2015, we will focus on our advisory approach to meeting our members’ financial needs. Using joint advisory meetings to enlist the advice of our experts, we will assist members with the broad range of financial needs they will encounter in various life stages, from building and accumulating wealth, all the way to transition of wealth. Meeting our members’ life and disability insurance needs remains one of our largest opportunities, making the hiring of additional life insurance specialists an important focus in 2015. To support our front line team in identifying opportunities and providing advisory services, we will continue to build their knowledge and expertise through training and coaching.

    Further supporting our advisory approach, we will provide more opportunities for our members to learn about our wealth offerings through financial planning events such as Investment Cafés and evening wealth management seminars. In partnership with Qtrade, we will also host three retirement planning events. We also plan to work more closely with local experts to offer seminars on topics like tax planning and estate planning.

    We will intensify the collaboration we began last year with our line of business partners in order to increase opportunities for introducing members to other lines of the credit union’s business.

  • First West Capital

    2014 Highlights

    • 15 deals approved, representing more than $20 million in disbursed and committed funds
    • Of approved deals, four are beyond B.C.’s borders: three in Alberta, one in Ontario
    • Two mezzanine financing deals enabling innovative early-stage businesses to grow and enter new markets
    • Two transactions on Vancouver Island
    • Surpassed $75 million dollar milestone in total fundings since inception
    • Strengthened our presence in Alberta with the opening of an Edmonton office and the hiring of a Regional Director to develop business throughout Northern Alberta
    • Helped grow the businesses of three award-winning CEOs

    5 years of First West Capital

    First West Capital is a leading provider of alternative business financing and expertise that goes beyond the deal. Entering our fifth year of operation, we continue to help fuel the growth of innovative and entrepreneurial–minded businesses throughout Western Canada.

  • Outlook for 2015

    First West Capital will anchor its presence in the Western Canada marketplace by sourcing diversified and premium deal flow from quality partners. We will continue to help small- to mid-sized businesses grow by funding deals ranging from $500,000 to $10 million in support of acquisitions, buyouts, growth, refinancing and high-ratio real estate financing for purchases of owner occupied real estate. From our office in Edmonton and our planned location in Calgary, we will continue to deepen our portfolio and team in Alberta.

    The growth of the portfolio will be managed through robust due diligence and credit structuring, careful and regular loan monitoring, and prudent risk management.

    With Island Savings joining First West Credit Union in January 2015, we anticipate continued growth throughout Island business communities as we expand our collaboration with Island Savings’ commercial banking team and through the relationships and referral network we have already established on Vancouver Island with growth-focused Island-based businesses.

  • First West Leasing

    2014 Highlights

    • Increased new leased asset volumes by more than 50%
    • Enhanced our ability to lease from B.C. to Ontario and made it possible for dealers to submit leases online with the DealerTrack web portal
    • Launched an online solution that makes the leasing process even quicker for heavy truck and equipment leases
    • Deepened the expertise of the First West leasing team by hiring a Director of Business Development with 29 years of experience in auto, truck and equipment leasing and specialists with more than 60 years combined experience in equipment leasing and fleet leasing
    • Discontinued the CU Dealerlink automotive financing product to focus resources on a more profitable leasing product

    5 years of First West Leasing

    Year after year, First West Leasing makes it increasingly easy for our clients and members to find and lease the vehicles they want at competitive rates, while helping them understand and simplify their leasing arrangements, saving them money in the long run.

  • Outlook for 2015

    In 2015, we expect new lease volumes to grow again despite the increased competition in the marketplace. Our growth will come from fleet leasing, equipment leasing and leasing of nearly-new vehicles. We believe these areas have more room for expansion and less competition from vehicle manufacturers. Although auto sales in Canada are forecasted to decrease 0.5% in 2015, trucking industry profits will increase throughout 2015 and should maintain the demand for new truck sales, despite the weaker Canadian dollar increasing the purchase costs of new trucks.

    We will build upon the groundwork of dealer relationships established as a result of our increased concentration on leasing. We will have capabilities to lease across Canada, which will benefit customers that may have assets outside B.C. Along with this capability and our desire to have a national presence, we will actively expand our sales and marketing efforts into Alberta, with sights on increasing activity further to the east in the future. This expansion will allow us to more than double our portfolio size over the next three years.

    With Island Savings joining First West in 2015, there will be new opportunities for First West Leasing to serve First West Credit Union members on the Islands while strengthening existing relationships.

 

First West Foundation

  • $482k

    donated in 2014 to projects that enhance the resiliency of our communities

  • 91

    charitable organizations supported in 2014 by the First West Foundation

  • $2.9m

    collected in donations in 2014

  • 13

    permanent endowments
    (4 new established in 2014)

  • $13m

    in total assets at year-end 2014
    (33% increase over 2013)

The First West Foundation is a registered charity and the philanthropic arm of First West Credit Union. The Foundation stewards $13 million in endowment funds, has annual earnings and donations of more than $3 million and distributes its earnings in the form of grants to charities such as the YWCA and Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the communities served by First West Credit Union.

The First West Foundation’s vision is to build a sustainable charity that supports resilient and resourceful communities through effective grant making. We encourage philanthropic individuals and families to establish new endowments with the Foundation to create a lasting legacy for their communities.

In 2014, four new endowments were created within the Foundation. First, the Peter Bell Legacy Fund was created to support seniors’ programming in Enderby. Second, the Sally O’Sullivan Legacy fund will support the SOS Children’s Village BC. Third, the Rod Dewar Legacy fund was created to recognize Mr. Dewar’s contributions to Island Savings upon his retirement

from the credit union. Finally, our newest partner, Island Savings, established the Island Savings Community Endowment fund with a $2 million donation as a lasting legacy for communities served by Island Savings. For more information about the First West Foundation or to read the Foundation’s annual report, visit firstwestfoundation.ca.

Our Community

  • photo of Umoja Operation Compassion Society

    Recent immigrants and refugees learn English
    at Umoja Operation Compassion Society.

  • photo of Social service agency support personnel

    Social service agency support personnel participate in
    a yoga outreach to learn calming techniques.

  • photo of Langley Seniors Resources Centre

    Volunteers train to support clients of the Langley Seniors Resources Centre.

  • photo of YWCA Metro Vancouver “That’s Just Me” and “Boys for Real” programs

    Participants in the YWCA Metro Vancouver
    “That’s Just Me” and “Boys for Real” programs.

  • photo of Enderby Preschool Society

    Children at Enderby Preschool Society will benefit from a new health
    and nutrition program funded by the First West Foundation.

  • photo of KVR middle school

    Children at KVR middle school can enjoy breakfast every
    school day thanks to funding from First West Foundation.

  • photo of Penticton & District Community Resources Society

    Funding for Penticton & District Community Resources Society’s Nutritional Enhancement Project provides children with healthy after-school snacks.

  • photo of JA Kitchen Kids program

    John Allison School — Children learn about good nutrition and how to cook
    through the JA Kitchen Kids program funded by First West Foundation.

A Selection of Our Partners

Family Resource Centre YWCA Metro Vancouver Salvation Army Lookout Solutions to Homelessness Cyrus Centre Lower Similkameen Community Services Society Whitevalley Community Resources Centre Kingfisher Interpretive Centre United Way Enderby and District Community Resource Centre YMCA Ocanagan Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Socieity
 

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First West

View past annual reports

Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Investor. Securities and securities-related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Advisor. Qtrade Investor and Qtrade Advisor are divisions of Qtrade Securities Inc., member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Mutual funds and securities-related financial planning services are also offered through Qtrade Asset Management Inc., member MFDA.