Board & CEO

Elevate

The latest news report, the panel of pundits, this think-tank, those industry analysts. You’ve seen them. On TV, in the paper, with their blogs. They point to tough times for Canada’s economy and tougher times for the financial sector.

You can’t fault them for the negative outlook. There’s a lot to be nervous about these days, even for financial institutions. The volatility of the loonie. An at-best tepid economy. Bearish markets. Overseas uncertainties. Historically low margins. Add to that the emergence of market-grabbing fintechs, fast multiplying regulatory demands, and rapidly changing consumer expectations. It’s enough to make any banker want to stay in bed and wish it all away.

But the true challenge for First West, if we’re completely honest, isn’t so much our circumstances or the pressures we face that are beyond our control but rather how we elevate ourselves above the noise and circumstance to see clearly enough to respond to these things.

And so that is how we are entering 2016—with a belief that the future, this day, each moment, holds promise and opportunity to aim even higher for our members, for our communities and for this organization we’ve been building for 70 years.

Shawn Neumann

Shawn Neumann

Board Chair

Launi Skinner

Launi Skinner

CEO

portrait: Shawn Neumann

Shawn Neumann

Board Chair

portrait: James McKenzie

James McKenzie

Vice-Chair

portrait: Mark Aston

Mark Aston

Director

portrait: Wayne Becker

Wayne Becker

Director

portrait: Quentin Bruns

Quentin Bruns

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

Leadership Team

portrait: Launi Skinner

Launi Skinner

Chief Executive Officer

portrait: Jackie Baron

Jackie Baron

Senior VP, Governance & Corporate Strategy

portrait: Shelley Besse

Shelley Besse

Chief Operating Officer

portrait: Loree Gray

Loree Gray

Senior VP, Insurance

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: Lee Rhodes

Lee Rhodes

Senior VP, People Services

portrait: Bill Snell

Bill Snell

Chief Risk Officer

portrait: Tom Webster

Tom Webster

Chief Financial Officer

Presidents

portrait: Randy Bertsch

Randy Bertsch

President, Island Savings

portrait: David Lanphear

David Lanphear

President, Envision Financial

portrait: Paulette Rennie

Paulette Rennie

President, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial

 

Regional Reports

  • President's Message from David Lanphear

    I’m proud of what our team accomplished in 2015. We made significant strides forward in becoming more accessible to members and providing them with expert advice and financial products and services that fit their needs. We launched new products, made improvements to several services, and opened another innovative branch that embodies a fresh approach to banking, while making important upgrades to some of our existing branches.

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

  • One of the highlights of the year was the opening of our Cloverdale branch in Surrey, one of the fastest-growing communities in B.C. This new location in Brick Yard Station continues the updated, modern approach to banking we introduced at our Garrison Village branch in Chilliwack in 2014. We’ve replaced the traditional wicket queues and tellers with a banking representative who welcomes members to the branch and serves all of their banking, borrowing and investing needs. The result is a convenient one-stop experience. But there’s more: this new branch concept brings even more ease to the banking experience. All staff in the branch are equipped for mobile service, meeting members wherever it’s most convenient for them.

    In 2016 we’ll continue to advance our new approach to banking, bringing further convenience and accessibility to members throughout our branch network. We’ll also strive to elevate the trusted experience we deliver by partnering with our members and clients to provide exemplary advice, service and products that fit their needs and stages of life.

    None of our success would be possible without each of you who does business with Envision Financial. I’m grateful that you continue to choose us for your banking, investment and insurance needs. You are the reason we open our doors every morning and strive to get better and better every day. Thank you.

    Signature of David Lanphear

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

  • Members

    At Envision Financial, we strive to be a trusted advisor and partner who is truly committed to making a positive difference in the financial lives of our members. From market-leading products and services that simplify banking, to new locations to make banking more convenient and accessible, to the expert advice we provide every day, we’re focused on making every single interaction with you positive, memorable and remarkable.

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

  • Raising the Bar

    From its base in Chilliwack, Bar None Metalworks specializes in offering structural steel installation, steel fabrication and miscellaneous metal products throughout the Lower Mainland. Since its formation in 2000, Bar None has become well known for its ability to deliver projects on time with an unwavering commitment to quality and safety. Its 25,000 square-foot plant operates a fully staffed fabrication workshop capable of producing up to 2,000 metric tons of fabricated structural steel per year.

    If you’ve spent much time in the Lower Mainland, chances are you have been in a Bar None project without knowing it. Bar None’s work includes medical and professional office buildings, big-box retail stores, shopping centres, educational and recreational facilities, churches, theatres, and industrial and special-use projects.

    General Manager Jonathon (JD) Dugdale spent years in the specialty manufacturing sector, but he’s also the “big picture guy.” JD also spent several years in the banking industry and has a MBA to boot, so he knows a thing or two about what to expect from a financial institution.

    “When I went looking for a financial partner, I spent a lot of time trying to explain what we do and how it was going to be profitable,” says JD. “There wasn’t much opportunity to share the knowledge and passion of my partners and our vision for the company.”

    Envision Financial knows that there is more to a financial relationship than the facts and figures and it takes a real time commitment to understand what makes a business successful.

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

  • “When it came time to make some financing decisions, it was amazing to have Envision’s vice-president of credit visit our facility and see what we do firsthand. The team spent hours asking us questions about our business to get a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges ahead, along with sitting down face-to-face, getting to know all of the owners.”

    Bar None’s future success rests on continued growth and prosperity in the Lower Mainland, and dealing with a financial institution that shares this commitment is invaluable.

    “Envision operates locally and makes their decisions locally. They understand our business and the strong relationship we have with our account management team provides the consistency and stability we need for our business. Our confidence in their team allows us to focus on growing our business and giving back to our community.”

    By the Numbers

    • 87% 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% of clients would most likely recommend our insurance services to a friend or family member
    • 3,763 net new members joined Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
    • 82% of credit union members state we are better than other companies they regularly use for products and services
    • 1,000 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

    • Unveiled our new, modern concept branch in Surrey’s Cloverdale neighbourhood, where members can try new banking technologies and consult our money experts on all their banking, borrowing and investment needs
    • Launched our new Simple Stability Mortgage™ for budget-savvy homebuyers who want our lowest rate for the entire term
    • Trialed the DASHBAND™ wearable payment accessory for people who need a convenient payment method to fit their lifestyle
    • Helped members get a jump start on saving for next year’s TFSA contributions by offering the TFSA Early Bird Account for the second straight year
    • Renovated our Sardis and Willoughby branches to provide a better in-branch experience for our members
    • Added nine additional foreign exchange ATMs to our branch network to provide members with easier access to U.S. cash

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

  • Community

    Envision Financial is proud to be recognized as a strong community partner and good neighbour. Our goal is to make a meaningful difference in the local communities we serve. 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 2015, we were proud to invest more than $1.5 million in donations, grants, education awards, program support and gifts-in-kind and contribute thousands of employee volunteer hours.

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

  • Alouette Addictions Services gets a hand-up from unique community program

    In 2015, Alouette Addictions Services got to see firsthand the benefits of a new community-building program created through a partnership between Envision Financial and Douglas College. The Envision Financial Douglas College Community Building program provides local non-profit organizations the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of Douglas College marketing students to carry out research, uncover opportunities and create strategies to overcome current challenges facing the agencies. The program exposes students to the growing social sector and gives them hands-on learning experiences that will ultimately benefit the community.

    “Many non-profit agencies are stretched thin and don’t have the time or expertise to research and develop new programs or marketing campaigns,” says Susan Byrom, senior manager of community investment at First West Credit Union. “This program fills that need while providing enriched learning opportunities for the students. We want to make a meaningful difference in our local communities and this program allows us to do just that.”

    The way Annika Polegato sees it, the program not only provided welcome resources but also created new, refreshing perspectives for her and the team at Alouette Addictions Services.

    “The biggest benefit to us was how it helped us see our agency through new eyes,” says Polegato, executive director of the non-profit addiction and substance abuse outpatient agency in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. “It’s critical for us to be able to adapt to changing needs—the students asked new questions and brought ideas that encouraged us to see ourselves differently, to see potential and new ways of doing business.”

    To Polegato’s delight, the support from Envision Financial has continued to escalate.

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

  • “We’re thankful to have benefited from the program, but we’re even more touched by the support we’ve received from Envision Financial outside the community-building program,” she says. In October, as part of First West’s annual Make A Difference Days, members of Envision Financial’s leadership team made over 150 homemade, individually packaged meals to ensure the agency’s clients didn’t go without a hot meal.

    “We’ve seen that Envision Financial is truly committed to making a difference in the lives of our clients and our community. Our staff and our clients are grateful for their ongoing support.”

    Community Investment: By the Numbers

    • More than $1.5 million donated to worthy causes and organizations in our local communities
    • More than $28,600 of in-kind contributions to charitable partners
    • 6,775 total hours volunteered by staff in the Envision Financial region supporting community partners throughout our region
    • $121,373 raised and 14,072 pounds of food collected for The Full Cupboard and 11 local food banks
    • Staff volunteered 984.5 hours holding 82 fundraising events and activities for The Full Cupboard in the Envision Financial region
    • 929 gifts collected, $4,198 raised and 3,515 pounds of food donated through The Full Cupboard holiday program
    • 845 hours of volunteerism with 24 projects in ten Envision Financial communities for our Make a Difference Days program
    • 60 free concerts for local residents through the Envision Financial Twilight Concert Series, Envision Financial Coffee House Concert Series and Envision Financial Concert in the Park Series

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

    • More than 50 classrooms in seven districts and over 1,200 students participated with Envision Financial’s PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs® program in which students donate 10% of earned profit to a non-profit organization of their choice; since 2012, over $26,000 has been donated to local charities throughout our region
    • $312,000 raised for Envision Financial Run for Water; 50 local and area schools a participated in the Envision a Better World: Learn, Create, Run educational curriculum
    • More than $17,140 donated to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in our annual campaign bringing our total giving since 2007 to $266,616
    • $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
    • $45,029 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.

  • 2015 Community Partners

    Throughout the year, Envision Financial supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations in our communities. In 2015, our community partners included:

    • Abbotsford Arts Council
    • Abbotsford Community Foundation
    • Abbotsford Community Services Society
    • Abbotsford Food Bank/Christmas Bureau
    • Abbotsford Hospice Society
    • Alouette Addiction Services
    • BC Children's Hospital Foundation
    • BC Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund
    • Beach Grove Golf Club
    • Canadian Cancer Society
    • Canuck Place
    • Chilliwack and District Senior Resources Society
    • Chilliwack Arts and Cultural Centre Society
    • Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society
    • Chilliwack Community Services/Christmas Bureau
    • Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation
    • Delta Hospital Foundation
    • Deltassist
    • Douglas College Foundation
    • Food Banks BC
    • Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation – Chilliwack
    • Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society
    • Friends in Need Food Bank
    • Hope Area Transition Society
    • Hope Brigade Days
    • Hope Community Services Society
    • Junior Achievement
    • Kitimat Concert Series
    • Kitimat Food Bank
    • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
    • Langley Christmas Bureau
    • Langley Environmental Partners Society
    • Langley Montessori School
    • Langley School District Foundation

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

    • Maples Discovery Gardens Co-op
    • Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Art Council
    • Mission Community Services Society/Christmas Bureau
    • Mission Heritage Association
    • Mission Hospice Society
    • Peninsula Community Foundation
    • PowerPlay 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
    • Share Family & Community Services Society
    • Sikh Academy
    • Sources Food Bank
    • Sources Langley Food Bank
    • South Delta Food Bank
    • The Sparkle Project
    • St. Joseph’s Food Bank
    • Success By 6
    • Surrey Board of Trade, Junior Achievement of BC Youth Leaders of Today
    • Surrey Food Bank
    • Surrey International Children’s Festival
    • Surrey School District
    • United Way of the Fraser Valley
    • University of the Fraser Valley
    • Volunteer Abbotsford
    • Yarrow Volunteer Society

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

    As I reflect on the past 12 months, I can’t help but think 2015 will go down in the Valley First region history books as the Year of Conversions.

    In June, we completed the huge task of upgrading to a new banking platform. We then followed this up in November by converting our insurance teams to a new, state-of-the-art, broker management system. These two major projects were certainly focal points for our team this year and took a significant amount of time, expertise and commitment to accomplish successfully.

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

  • If you’re a member and you’re only hearing about these upgrades for the first time, then we’ve done our job well. It was our goal to minimize member and client impact as much as possible. And while we finished these projects almost flawlessly, I draw even more satisfaction knowing we did so without skipping a beat in our member service delivery.

    Of course, we don’t just change systems for the sake of change. Our upgrades have given us the foundation to be even better in the coming years and really elevate our service. We remain committed to making banking and insurance as simple and as accessible as possible for members and clients while providing expert service, products and advice when, where and how you want them.

    We’re now looking forward to 2016 and bringing an even stronger focus to our relationship with you and taking the way we provide service to a higher level. After all, it’s you who make Valley First the proud division of First West Credit Union that it is today.

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

    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

    Across Canada, all credit unions are faced with the same challenge. Growing membership in the face of some of the fiercest competition our industry has ever seen. Over the last three years, First West Credit Union has welcomed close to 10,000 new members—more than 3,000 a year—to its Valley First division. These growing membership figures tell a simple story: People love doing business with us and they’re sharing that passion with others. It’s easy to see why.

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

  • Strong, local partnerships: The not-so-secret ingredient to business success

    Who doesn’t love cake? The more important question many cake lovers in the Okanagan ask themselves is, “Can I get a Whisk cake?”

    Since arriving on the scene in 2010, Kelowna’s Whisk Cake Co. has fast become one of the most well-known names in British Columbia’s cake baking business. In just a few short years it has received many accolades, including the coveted Best Wedding Cake in BC award. While they’re known for their wedding cakes, Whisk owner operators Jon and Tanya Garratt specialize in cakes for all occasions. The team also shares the love of cakes and cake-making through its cake classes.

    But, there’s more to creating a successful cake business than simply baking a great cake. As Whisk’s intricate, award-winning, edible masterpieces show, attention to detail are critical to Garratt's success. Having the right banking partner is also a must.

    Whisk’s Jon Garratt says he was attracted to Valley First by the competitive rates, customer service and community involvement.

    “Valley First has a strong community feel and community focus with great outreach to members. The service and simple things our business banking advisor has done for us really make Valley First stand out.”

    Becoming successful doesn’t just happen. It also requires business savvy.

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

  • “You’ve got to know your numbers inside and out,” says Garratt. “When you can save $100 a month in bank fees, that goes a long way. We all work hard so it’s nice to have that extra money in the back pocket.”

    Along with strong partnerships, Valley First Business Banking Advisor Craig Phillips says the Whisk team also bring passion to their business.

    “Tanya, Jon and everyone at Whisk love what they do,” says Phillips. “This goes a long way. They’re also very modest about their success. The cakes are great, but the team has a clear vision, the business knowledge and the talent to create the perfect recipe for a successful business. It’s terrific to be able to partner with them and watch their business grow.”

    By the Numbers

    • 85% of credit union members who do personal banking under the Valley First banner would most likely recommend us to a friend or family member
    • 90% of clients would most likely recommend our insurance services to a friend or family member
    • 3,418 net new members joined Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union
    • 82% of our credit union members state we are better than other companies they regularly use for products and services
    • 631 members referred a friend or family member through our Referral Perks program

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

  • Member Highlights

    • Completed conversions to a new banking system and state-of-the-art insurance broker management system that will boost efficiency in service and position us well for the banking and insurance advancements of the future
    • Launched our new StepUp® term deposits
    • Helped members get a jump start on saving for next year's TFSA contribution by launching the Early Bird Account™
    • Piloted the DASHBAND™ wearable payment accessory for people who need a convenient payment method to fit their lifestyle
    • Expanded our business banking advisor team in the Central and North Okanagan
    • Increasing our ability to provide wealth solutions to members by licensing even more personal bankers
    • Completed our Orchard Plaza renovation making it our largest retail-only branch, with a modern, high-tech experience featuring a full array of retail banking and wealth management services
    • Partnered with business members to deliver more community programs and reach more residents across our trade areas
    • Provided more small business members a greater voice by featuring them in our ongoing business member profile series
    • Strengthened sports tourism in the Okanagan by remaining title sponsors of the Valley First Challenge Penticton Canada event

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

  • Community

    From corporate sponsorships to presenting local events to Blue Blitzing our regional residents, Valley First loves being part of the community. We take great pride in supporting countless initiatives and helping many organizations right here in the communities in which we live, work and play. We know what it means to be a good neighbour. That’s why we’re ever-present across our region, ensuring we’re helping to build strong and prosperous communities throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys.

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

  • Community partnerships drive local social innovation

    At Valley First, being a community supporter means more than just writing cheques. It means taking the next step in community investment and finding the right opportunities and partnerships that allow us to make a real difference in the communities we serve.

    In 2015, we were proud to renew our presenting sponsorship of the social innovation competition known as ChangeUP. Dubbed the “Social Dragons’ Den,” the ChangeUP event sees local organizations pitch their social projects to a live audience. Unlike the traditional Dragons’ Den, the winning idea isn’t the one with the most business merit, but the one that has the potential to deliver the biggest social impact.

    The brainchild of Kelowna-based Okanagan Changemakers—a volunteer organization dedicated to driving innovative and sustainable social change—the 2015 ChangeUP event attracted 21 applications from various organizations, six of which went on to compete for cash and in-kind services required to bring their ideas to life or develop them further. The winning pitch came from Kelowna’s Soil Mate for its web-based application that connects people with healthy, sustainable food options in their communities.

    For Valley First, it’s tremendous to see our partnerships adding to a higher level of social change.

    As a volunteer organization, Okanagan Changemakers knows events like ChangeUP and the programs they uncover are often impossible to deliver without support from the business community.

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

  • “As a small group of volunteers, Okanagan Changemakers relies on like-minded organizations like Valley First to help us create a broad community of changemakers,” says Okanagan Changemakers’ Mary-Jane Slavin. “Valley First’s extensive reach in the Okanagan and its commitment to community investment aligns perfectly with Changemakers’ mission to be catalysts for change. We are very grateful for their support.”

    Valley First’s Drew Geldart says that partnering with organizations focused on social change and community building allows Valley First to make an even bigger impact. Unlike a one-time donation, fostering a true partnership yields results now and into the future.

    “Valley First is a proud supporter of non-profit and charitable organizations throughout the communities it serves,” he says. “It was great to be a part of ChangeUP as it was a real opportunity to support future leaders in the community who are striving for positive social change.”

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

  • Community Investment: By the Numbers

    • $956,978 donated to worthy causes and organizations in our local communities
    • 810 hours of employee time donated through Valley First’s employee volunteerism program
    • $233,347 raised and 2,769 pounds of food collected for Feed the Valley and our 11 local food banks
    • More than $7,173 of in-kind contributions to charitable partners
    • $23,500 contributed to students’ post-secondary education through the Valley First Education Award program
    • $30,000 pledged to local charities and community organizations by employees as part of our Employee Giving campaign
    • $5,977 donated to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in our annual campaign, bringing our total giving since 2007 to more than $43,787
    • Our Make a Difference Days program contributed over 236 volunteer hours to 14 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
    • PowerPlay Young Entrepreneur® program in Kamloops, West Kelowna and Kelowna, with more than 100 students participating
    • More than 50 staff volunteered and participated in the Valley First Challenge Penticton triathlon
    • Contributed $10,000 to the capital campaign of Lake Country Food Assistance Society

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

  • 2015 Community Partners

    • Armstrong Food Bank/Boys & Girls Club
    • BC Book Prizes
    • BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
    • Be an Angel Foundation
    • Bell Media
    • Books for Babies
    • Canadian Cancer Society
    • Central Okanagan Community Food Bank
    • Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association
    • Community Foundation of the South Okanagan
    • Downtown Penticton Business Association
    • Envictus
    • Farm Bag Fundraiser
    • FarmFolk CityFolk
    • Food Banks BC
    • Fresh Outlook Foundation
    • Global Okanagan
    • Kamloops Boys & Girls Club
    • Kamloops Brain Injury Society
    • Kamloops Food Bank
    • Kelowna United Football Club
    • KVR Middle School Breakfast Program
    • Lumby & District Health Services
    • Lumby Food Bank
    • Lumby Seniors Meals on Wheels
    • Okanagan Boys & Girls Club
    • Okanagan Changemakers
    • 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 Resources Society
    • Penticton Meals on Wheels
    • Penticton Peach Festival Society
    • Penticton Vees Hockey Club
    • Penticton-Okanagan Rotary Club
    • Princeton Family Services Society
    • Princeton Food Bank (operated by Baptist Church of Princeton)
    • Princeton Leaders for Literacy
    • Royal Inland Hospital Foundation
    • Seventh Day Adventist Church Food Bank (Cawston and area)
    • Similkameen Country
    • Soil Mate
    • 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 Food Bank
    • YMCA of Okanagan


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

    London Benchmarking Group

    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

    Three years have passed since Enderby & District Financial became part of First West and it’s plain to see that their enthusiasm for supporting both their members and the local community is stronger than ever.

    Enderby & District Financial has been an integral part of the community for nearly 70 years. A lot has changed since it first opened its doors, but Enderby & District Financial continues to adapt to the changing needs of members and to advances in financial services. In 2015, we added to our offering of financial products and services, as well as completed an upgrade to our banking system technology that will enable us to devliver exceptional member service well into the future.

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

  • Changing with the times is an essential part of what we do, but knowledgeable, friendly service is something that never gets left behind. We also never change for the sake of change. For us to introduce something new it has to do one of two things: make things simpler for members or make things simpler for our employees.

    Providing financial services is only part of the Enderby & District Financial story. Playing an active role in the development of the local community is something we have done since 1947—and 2015 was certainly no exception.

    In particular, I would like to point out that the community endowment established when Enderby & District Financial joined First West back in 2013 is now making important investments in Enderby and district communities through grant funding for local organizations and initiatives. This year the total amount of grant money distributed from the Enderby Financial Community Endowment was more than $21,000.

    After another successful year in the long history of Enderby & District Financial, I’d like to extend a special thank you to the team at Enderby and all the First West Credit Union members who do business with them. We’ve come a long way and marking another successful year is a reflection of your continued patronage. Thank you for your support and here’s to another exciting year together in 2016.

    Paulette Rennie

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

  • Members

    The results of Enderby & District Financial joining First West Credit Union can be seen in both the way we do business and the way we take care of our local community. We can take advantage of a vast pool of talent and expertise from specialists across the entire organization and use it to further expand our lending, investment and business banking options. The Enderby community also continues to benefit from this relationship with help from our community endowment and our other community investment initiatives. We’ve achieved so much together in such a short time, and we’re going to take it even higher in 2016.

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

  • Stepping up when members need it most

    For almost 30 years, the Riverfront Pub on the shores of the Shuswap River has been an institution for locals and visitors alike. Chance Temple took over the business 10 years ago and, although he can smile easily now, keeping the beer flowing during those 10 years hasn’t been without incident.

    “I bought the business from my dad in 2005. He owned the pub since 1998 and had always relied on Enderby & District Financial for his banking needs,” says Temple. “I had dealt with several other financial institutions in the past and it always felt pretty impersonal. I was living in Kelowna and although I had just arrived in the area, the Enderby team made me feel like a local from the first day I walked in the door.”

    Three years after taking over the Riverfront, Temple almost saw his dream disappear when a massive fire completely destroyed the building in 2008.

    “Insurance came up a little short and I put in all the savings I had, but I was still a little shy of what I needed,” he says. “I had a dream, a partially completed building and very little else to offer. Enderby & District Financial stepped up and allowed us to finish the building and get the coolers filled so we could open the doors.”

    The fire is now a part of their history and the pub continues to be both a gathering place and strong supporter of the local community.

    “We sponsor a lot of community events and charitable causes and being able to work with an organization that thinks the same way really separates them from other financial institutions,” says Temple.

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

  • He points out that Enderby & District Financial managed the account for his pub’s 2015 Rock Creek forest fire fundraiser, which ended up collecting $9,000 for the fire ravaged community.

    “I know what it’s like to lose everything to fire and this was a cause close to my heart. It was just one more example of Enderby & District Financial stepping up when I needed a hand.”

    By the Numbers

    • 85% 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
    • 87% of credit union members at the Enderby branch state we are better than other companies they regularly use for products and services

    Member Highlights

    • MFDA certification of four team members boosted our team’s wealth management service to members
    • Collected 675 pounds of food and $2,781 for the Feed Enderby and District Food Bank
    • Raised more than 200 pounds of food and more than $1,000 for Enderby’s Food Action Committee through the second annual Starlight Drive-In – Feed the Valley movie night
    • Helped Kingfisher Interpretive Centre advance environmental education through a $2,500 donation

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

  • Community

    Enderby & District Financial has been providing financial services for almost seven decades and has always been at the forefront in adapting to changing trends and technology. Despite all the changes in the way we work, our commitment to the local community has remained a constant since day one. Whether it’s gathering donations for the local food bank or sponsoring the Music by the River concert events, our footprints can be seen all over the Enderby region. 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 funds provide a lasting legacy

    The Enderby Financial Community Endowment was established in 2013 to provide funding for worthy community projects in Enderby and build a lasting legacy of our commitment to serving the Enderby community. We are excited to report that the amount of funds granted in 2015 rose by 15 per cent year-over-year to more than $21,000. These funds have now been distributed to five very deserving community organizations.

    Our support for the fall field trips at the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre continued for another year. This community-based salmon hatchery and environmental education centre was established more than 30 years ago. Thanks in part to a grant from the endowment, the centre was able to host their annual fall field trips and experiential outdoor educational program for local school children.

    The battle against hunger wages on across B.C. The Enderby Preschool Society, SD83 – A.L. Fortune Secondary School and the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan are all doing their part to win the fight. With endowment grant funding, they are able to operate several programs, including:

    • free snacks and meals for at-risk children during the after school kid’s program,
    • an elective course in local food strategies; and
    • a program that teaches children how to prepare simple healthy snacks and meals, where food comes from, and how to make healthy choices.

    Endowment funding has also helped the Family Support Program of the Enderby and District Community Resource Centre secure a social worker to support families in crisis or distress in our community with intense parenting support, referrals, crisis intervention, short-term counselling and life skills at no cost.

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

  • Community Investment: By the Numbers

    • Nearly $87,169 invested back into Enderby and neighbouring communities
    • $1,350 contributed to Success by 6
    • $2,781 raised and 675 pounds of food collected for the Feed Enderby and District Food Bank
    • More than $176 contributed to non-profit partners through employee volunteerism during working hours
    • More than 200 attended our annual Starlight Drive-In – Feed the Valley movie night
    • $7,500 contributed to students' post-secondary education through the Enderby & District Financial Education Award program
    • $700 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.

  • 2015 Community Partners

    Throughout the year, Enderby & District Financial supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations. In 2015, 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 and 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 Benchmarking Group (Canada), a growing group of companies committed to maximizing the value of their community investment—for community partners and for business. Our community investment results are based on London Benchmarking Group (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

    2015 was full of things to celebrate for Island Savings.

    It was a year of record-breaking membership growth, of unprecedented deposit and lending business and of more support for the non-profit groups that serve our Islands than ever before. As the first year of Island Savings' new chapter with First West Credit Union, 2015 was a year of truly productive change that brought real value to our members, employees and communities—a success story that has laid the groundwork for even better things in 2016 as we head into our 65th year of serving members across our Islands.

  • The Island Savings team hit the ground running on January 1, doubling our annual investment campaign goals by the end of February 2015 while preparing to launch both the Simply Free Account™ and the Unlimited Chequing for Business® low-fee product—promised benefits of our merger—three months ahead of schedule on April 1.

    But joining First West is about so much more than best-in-class products. We gained the financial strength to serve the unique needs of growing Island businesses, investing even more back into our local economies as a result. And we gained more administrative support so that our branch-based employees could focus their time entirely on providing expert advice to our members. This personalized service experience is the root of our cooperative values. It’s what makes us different from banks and the reason we’re able to make a meaningful difference in the financial lives of the Islanders we serve. In 2015, service improvements included a new member onboarding program, the launch of our Financial Snapshot survey to insurance clients and the rollout of ‘Ask-An-Expert’ technology across our branch network. In 2016, we’ll take our service promise a step further by improving our members’ borrowing experience and building an in-depth advisory strategy that touches every line of business.

    So to all of you who do business with Island Savings, thank you again for trusting us with your ‘yes’ vote in 2014 to make our merger with First West possible. Thank you for keeping your money local by bringing even more of your business into our branches. And thank you for helping shape our future. It is your trust, loyalty and dedication that makes the ongoing success of Island Savings’ possible.

    Thank you for an incredible year.

    Randy Bertsch

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

  • Members

    Simple, collaborative and remarkable service experiences are at the heart of every decision Island Savings makes. Although best-in-market products are an important part of our business, it’s our commitment to providing unique-to-you solutions that brings real value for each one of our members.

    As a result, we saw 2015 as a year of continuous improvement. We took a hard look at what was possible for both personal and business members and then created tools to support our advice-based service approach and to improve member access to our products and services across our lines of business.

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

  • Malahat First Nation: Passion for financial literacy led to an innovative partnership

    Island Savings’ relationship with the Malahat First Nation began with a mutual passion to improve financial literacy across the Cowichan Valley. After ongoing support for the Malahat Kwunew Kwasun Cultural Resource Centre’s fundraising efforts over the past several years, Mill Bay branch manager Michelle Lancaster was asked to lead a workshop on basic budgeting for about 30 participants in the Malahat Nation’s Life Skills program earlier this year.

    “I was so honoured to be asked to participate in this vital program,” says Lancaster. “By focusing on personal leadership, the Life Skills initiative has helped decrease the Nation’s dependency on social assistance by more than 60%.”

    “I’m so impressed with the journey the Malahat people are on and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to support their group in any way that I can.”

    The Malahat First Nation has since become a member at our Mill Bay branch, seeking local advice on banking services, financing and structure during a year of major change and opportunity for this group.

    "Our partners at Island Savings have provided the Nation with solid advice on our financial stewardship and have also taken time to invest in the lives of our citizens,” says Lawrence Lewis, CEO of the Malahat First Nation. “Through healthy and strong relationships, Island Savings staff have participated in the Nation’s LifeSkills program, working with our citizens on financial literacy, planning budgets and managing money—core skills necessary for being successful in life.”

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

  • “As the Malahat Nation continues on its journey of nation building we look forward to Island Savings walking beside us.”

    By the Numbers

    • 2,297 net new members joined Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, in 2015
    • 87% of credit union members who do personal banking under the Island Savings banner say their experience in-branch is outstanding or very good. The same number holds for our business banking members, which puts us well ahead of the industry standards of 70%
    • 88% of Island Savings’ insurance clients also rank their in-branch experience as outstanding or very good—compared to the industry benchmark of 67%
    • 86% of wealth management members doing business through Island Savings would likely recommend their financial advisor to friends and family

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

  • Member Highlights

    • Launched best-in-class demand products for personal and business banking members three months ahead of schedule
    • Launched the Early Bird Account™, a unique new deposit product that gives members a high-interest head start on annual TFSA contributions
    • Trialed the DASHBAND™ wearable payment accessory for people who need a convenient payment method to fit their lifestyle
    • Launched our new StepUp® term deposits
    • Rolled out Ask-An-Expert technology across our branch network to serve members from multiple lines of business in a single appointment
    • Funded vital $10 million commercial lending deals in several communities, including Salt Spring, Victoria and the Cowichan Valley,
    • Awarded ‘Best Business’ honours by both the WestShore and Salt Spring Island Chambers of Commerce in October 2015
    • Improved the in-branch experience at our Woodgrove location with thoughtful renovations
    • Introduced MemberDirect for Business, an enhanced version of online banking with improved functionality for larger Island businesses
    • Introduced high-touch onboarding program for new members across branch network
    • Implemented a new business insurance strategy that improved the mobility of our insurance specialists to better serve commercial clients

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

  • Community

    We only thrive if the communities that we serve flourish too, and so investing in the neighbourhoods where we live, work and play is one of Island Savings’ core values. The thousands of dollars we grant and donate each year—coupled with the thousands of hours our employees volunteer at community events—promotes social development and economic sustainability, two vital areas that ensure the long-term success of our members. For 65 years we’ve proudly supported Island communities with time, money and expertise, earning our reputation as a trusted neighbour and a caring community partner.

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

  • Lean experts help Big Brothers Big Sisters streamline match-making process

    After seeing the benefits of greater efficiency and less waste, Island Savings began paying its new Lean training forward early in 2015.

    Rita Cooper, a Lean greenbelt from Island Savings, and Ryan Visscher, a Lean blackbelt from First West’s Langley office, spent a week in January with Big Brothers Big Sisters’ (BBBS) Victoria chapter to help staff reduce the time it currently takes to match a child with a volunteer mentor—an administrative issue that the non-profit had tangled with for nearly five years. As an efficiency-finding program meant to streamlines processes, reduce waste and empower employees, Lean seemed like a great starting point for this BBBS chapter.

    “It took us some time to determine that—lucky for us—volunteer recruitment is not our issue,” says Rhonda Brown, executive director with BBBS Victoria. “It’s process that’s our challenge.”

    “Trying to balance customer service with child safety meant that most children are waiting to be paired with a Big for more than a year.”

    Keeping the goal of safe and quick matching in mind, the partners held a week-long Lean workshop to unravel the organization’s current volunteer intake method and uncover the truly important parts of the process—including a realistic look at what the chapter’s staff could impact.

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

  • “We sorted habits out from practices that really make sense, laughing at the ‘no-brainers’ to create a number of quick-win solutions,” says Brown.

    And the result of this heartfelt work? A local chapter that feels empowered to ask critical questions and improve their processes; a streamlined intake method that may ripple out to Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters across the country; and an even stronger bond between Island Savings and a dynamic community partner that our region has been learning from for years.

    On the Islands, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ partnership with Island Savings has funded the organization’s In-School Mentoring Program, which helps children develop positive relationships, self-esteem and academic success. And what Big Brothers Big Sisters has taught us in return about service mentorship and acting local is truly invaluable. We’ve learned that a little time (and advice) between people who trust each other will make a real difference in the lives of children in the neighbourhoods each chapter serves. And we’ve learned that continuous improvement is really all about love for the work we do, the people we serve and the communities we live in.

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

  • Community Investment: By the Numbers

    • $617,853 donated to worthy causes and organizations in our local communities
    • $47,959 of in-kind contributions to charitable partners
    • 53 community organizations received a combined total of $50,000 in financial support for local initiatives benefitting Island families through our Growing Island Families Together (GIFT) local giving program
    • More than 4,943 hours volunteered by Island Savings staff supporting community partners throughout our region
    • 602 hours of volunteerism with 20 non-profit agencies for our Make a Difference Days program on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island
    • 64 events attended by our Community Crew’s Youth Ambassadors, contributing 1,510 hours to non-profit and charitable organizations across the region
    • 8 staff members served as Big Brothers Big Sisters In-School mentors providing a role model and friendship to elementary school students for one hour every week during the school year
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in the Island Savings region were able to reduce their waitlists and grow their In-School Mentoring program with 47 new adult or teen mentors

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

    • 43 Island Savings Discover Theatre workshops were presented free of charge to more than 900 elementary and high school students throughout the Island Savings region through our partnership with the Chemainus Theatre Festival Society
    • The Island Savings SportStart grant provided more than 420 children with free physical literacy workshops and sessions through our partnership with PISE. Support of their Teacher Mentorship program expanded into 10 elementary schools benefiting an additional 2,100 students
    • $31,575 raised for the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island—benefiting children with disabilities and health challenges—through the Bayview Place Island Savings Open
    • $3,055 donated to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in our annual campaign
    • $17,800 contributed to students’ post-secondary education through partnerships with Vancouver Island University, Camosun College and the University of Victoria
    • More than $27,821 pledged to local charities and community organizations by employees through our annual United Way employee giving campaign, monthly GIFT Jeans Days and in-branch fundraisers.

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

  • 2015 Community Partners

    Each year, Island Savings supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations in our communities. In 2015, our community partners included:

    • Aboriginal Success By 6
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Vancouver Island
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Victoria
    • Chemainus Theatre Festival Society
    • Cowichan Success By 6
    • Nanaimo Foundation: Nanaimo’s Vital Signs Report
    • Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence
    • Port Theatre Society
    • South Vancouver Island Early Years Partnership
    • Vancouver Island University
    • Victoria Conservatory of Music
    • Victoria Foundation: Victoria’s Vital Signs Report & Vital Loans program

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

  • Through the Island Savings Growing Island Families Together (GIFT) local giving program, an additional 124 community organizations received financial and/or in kind support through employee giving and engagement practices:

    • 49th Parallel Grocery
    • Altrusa International Nanaimo
    • BC Childhood Cancer Parents Association
    • BC Forest Discovery Centre
    • BC Lions Society for Children
    • Beacon Community Services
    • Bipolar Disorder Society of BC
    • Boys & Girls Club Services of Greater Victoria
    • Brentwood Revitalization Committee
    • Camosun College
    • Campus View Elementary School PAC
    • Canadian Mental Health Association
    • Cedar Elementary School PAC
    • Cedar Scouts
    • Chemainus Crofton Community Schools' Association
    • Chemainus Elementary Community School
    • Chemainus Harvest House Food Bank
    • Chemainus Summer Fest Committee
    • Chemainus Theatre Festival Society
    • Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society
    • Chief & Friends Foundation
    • Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island
    • Clements Centre Society
    • Cobble Hill Community Learning Centre
    • Community Association of Oak Bay
    • Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Association
    • Cowichan Exhibition Society
    • Cowichan Farmer’s Market

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

    • Cowichan Independent Living Society
    • Cowichan Land Trust Society
    • Cowichan Neighborhood House Association
    • Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association
    • Cowichan Lake Community Services
    • Cowichan Maritime Society
    • Cowichan Exhibition Society
    • Cowichan Music Festival
    • Cowichan Watershed Association
    • Cowichan Wheels Society
    • Cowichan Women Against Violence Society
    • Cowichan Wooden Boat Society
    • Cowichan Valley Basket Society
    • Cowichan Valley Hospice
    • Cowichan Valley Hospital Foundation
    • Cowichan Valley Soccer Association
    • Cowichan Valley St. John Ambulance Youth Brigade
    • Crimson Coast Dance Society
    • Crofton Food Bank
    • District of North Saanich Parks & Recreation
    • Drinkwater Elementary School PAC
    • Duncan Business Improvement Area Society
    • Duncan Cowichan Festival Society
    • Evergreen Independent School PAC
    • Frank J Ney Elementary School PAC
    • Friends Uniting for Nature (FUN) Society
    • Fulford Harbour Child Care Society
    • Garden House Foundation
    • Goldstream Food Bank
    • Gorge Tillicum Community Association
    • Greater Victoria Festival Society
    • Island Pathways
    • Juvenile Diabetes Association
    • Kaleidoscope Theatre
    • KidSport Cowichan
    • Kinsmen Club of Ladysmith
    • Lady of the Lake Society
    • Ladysmith Family & Friends
    • Ladysmith Family Resources Centre
    • Ladysmith Primary School PAC

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

    • Lake Cowichan Community Services
    • Lake Cowichan Summer Nights
      Committee
    • Lake Days Celebration Society
    • Mill Bay Merchants Society
    • Mount Prevost Elementary School PAC
    • Muscular Dystrophy Canada
    • Music in the Park Committee
    • Mustard Seed Food Bank
    • Nanaimo Child Development Centre
    • Nanaimo Community Gardens
    • Nanaimo Hospital Foundation
    • Nanaimo Loaves & Fishes Community
      Food Bank
    • NEED2 Suicide Prevention Education & Support
    • North Cedar Intermediate School
    • North Quadra Residence Association
    • North & South Saanich Agricultural Society
    • Oak Bay High School
    • Pacific Centre Family Services
    • Palsson Elementary School
    • Parkside Academy
    • Pender Island Child Care Society
    • Quadra/Cedar Hill Community Association
    • Robert Bateman Centre
    • Rutherford Elementary PAC
    • Saanich Neighbourhood Place
    • Salt Spring Arts Council
    • Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce
    • Salt Spring Island Community Food Bank
    • Salt Spring Preschool Society
    • Salt Spring Sea Capers
    • Salvation Army Cowichan Valley
    • Saunders Family Foundation
    • School District 79 – Learning Links
    • Shawnigan Cobble Hill Farmers Agricultural Society
    • Shelbourne Community Kitchen Society
    • Sidney Lions Food Bank
    • South Cowichan Community Policing Advisory Society
    • South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club
    • South Cowichan Seniors
    • Special Woodstock Committee
    • SportAssist
    • Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary
    • United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island

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

    • United Way Cowichan
    • University Greater Victoria
    • UVic Family Centre
    • Valley Fish & Game Club
    • Vancouver Island Symphony
    • Vancouver Island Exhibition Society (VIEX)
    • Victoria Child Abuse Prevention & Counseling Centre
    • Victoria Hospice
    • Victoria Hospital Foundation
    • Volunteer Victoria
    • Woodbank Primary School
    • Woodwynn Farms
    • Youth Excellence Society


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

    In 2015, Island Savings became a division 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 Sheila Rozenberg

    “I’m proud to be both a member and employee of First West because of the impact we have in our local communities. Not only do I love that we make a difference in members’ financial lives, but we’ve also made significant strides toward eliminating hunger in our community through Feed the Valley.”

    Sheila Rozenberg

    Personal Banking Officer

    Enderby & District Financial

  • photo of Geoff Bale

    “I love the challenge my job provides. First West is committed to innovation in the marketplace and I get the opportunity to help deliver that innovation to members and truly enhance their banking experience.”

    Geoff Bale

    Programmer Analyst

    First West Credit Union, Shared Services, Langley

  • photo of Luckie Sandhu

    “I love the relationship we have with members. Our focus on local decision-making ensures we can do things for members that larger financial institutions can’t do. Employees feel more instrumental in making a difference in members’ lives.”

    Luckie Sandhu

    Senior Advisor

    Personal Banking, Island Savings’ Mayfair branch

  • photo of Margaret Riess

    “With Island Savings a part of First West Credit Union, I’m excited about our capability to ‘work big’ and bring even more value into the marketplace for members, showcasing what we can offer compared to our competitors. The sky is the limit.”

    Margaret Riess

    Financial Advisor

    Island Savings’ Mill Bay branch

  • photo of Megan Tindall

    “First West has provided me tremendous career growth opportunities in the six years I have been here. Working on the project to implement First West’s new insurance broker management system has expanded my skill set exponentially and will revolutionize the way our insurance business operates.”

    Megan Tindall

    Insurance Broker

    Valley First Insurance, Vernon

  • photo of Susan Coulson

    “With our commitment to local decision-making, I can make a direct impact in the lives of members. For example, my team manages a program that helps members facing a financial hardship such as job loss or illness. Since its inception, we have helped over 800 members through challenging times. It’s so rewarding for me to be a part of that.”

    Susan Coulson

    Manager, Credit Recovery

    First West Credit Union, Shared Services, Langley

  • photo of Amar Sidhu

    “I get the privilege of working with business members from all walks of life in many different industries. There is no greater pleasure for me than knowing I had a part to play in assisting a business member with financing for their project or business and then seeing that business succeed and grow."

    Amar Sidhu

    Regional Manager, Commercial Banking

    Envision Financial’s Sunshine Hills branch

facts
 

Financials

On January 1, 2015, First West Credit Union acquired the assets of Island Savings Credit Union. The value of the assets, loans and deposits acquired were as follows (refer to Note 2 in the consolidated financial statements for more detail):

  • Total assets acquired were $1.5 billion.
  • Total loans acquired were $1.4 billion.
  • Total deposits acquired were $1.4 billion.

The following key performance measurements are based on the operating results of First West Credit Union for the year and do not include the increases as a result of the merger as listed above:

Total assets increased
$654.2 million, or 8.1%, to $8.7 billion.
Loans to members increased
$204.7 million, or 2.9%, to $7.2 billion.
Deposits from members increased
$523.9 million, or 7.4%, to $7.6 billion.
Income after tax decreased
$2.0 million, or 6.2%, to $30 million.
Comprehensive income increased
$6.4 million, or 17.9%%, to $42.1 million, from $35.7 million in 2014.
Membership grew by
3.9%, or 9,471 members, bringing our total net new members to nearly 35,000 since 2010.

First West paid dividends of $1.4 million to members, bringing total dividends paid to $8.1 million since 2010.

More than $2.2 million was invested in building healthier communities through our community giving activities, bringing our total to $10.3 million since 2010.

More than 20 new products, services and improvements launched in 2015, including the Simply Free Account™ and Unlimited Chequing for Business® at Island Savings, StepUp™ term deposits and TFSA Early Bird Account at Valley First and Island Savings, DASHBAND™ and major renovations at several locations along with the opening of our new-concept branch in Cloverdale’s Brick Yard Station.

Scorecard

scorecard
  • Retail Banking

    2015 Highlights

    • The merger with Island Savings added 16 new locations, bringing our branch network to 54 locations across B.C.
    • Retail deposits grew during the year by $105.5 million, or 2.4%, to $4.5 billion
    • Retail lending grew during the year by $78.9 million, or 1.6%, to $4.9 billion
    • Total retail loans are made up of $3.8 billion secured mortgages and $1.0 billion of secured personal loans
    • Mutual fund asset sales grew during the year by $91 million, or 14.7%, to $708.6 million
    • Introduced the Simply Free Account™ to members in the Island Savings region and welcomed 2,297 new members during the year
    • Successfully completed the conversion to a new banking platform for the Valley First division, which will allow the introduction of new services
    • Opened our new Cloverdale branch, showcasing a fresh, new-store concept and improved the member experience through renovations and technology upgrades at several locations, including Envision Financial’s Sardis and Willoughby branches, Valley First’s Orchard Plaza branch, and Island Savings’ Woodgrove branch

    “I love Envision Financial’s approach of welcoming and serving with a personal touch—sitting down and having coffee rather than standing in line and being treated like a number. The staff are amazing people, have such great energy and serve with excellence every time we go into the branch. I’m also very impressed with the products and services Envision Financial has to offer—the Simply Free Account™ with free chequing and free Interac® e-Transfer, and the financial planning advice were exactly what I was looking for and more. With how they treat members, their unique products, services and technology, Envision Financial is further ahead in so many ways.”


    Shannon McKenna
    First West Credit Union member with Envision Financial’s Cloverdale branch

  • Outlook for 2016

    In 2016, we will focus on increasing membership, deepening relationships with members, delivering exceptional experiences and growing our sources of revenue.

    While economic growth remains slow nationally, we expect B.C.’s economy to outperform the Canadian economy. Retail lending is expected to grow by 1.4% in 2016, while deposits are expected to grow by 5.1%. Mutual fund assets should see growth of 9.8%.

    Our trusted advisor member service approach will be at the forefront of our efforts when we engage with our members in 2016. We will continue to deepen the expertise of our staff through enhanced product and service knowledge training, with the aim of providing holisitic financial advice matched to the unique situations and life stages of each member. Continued collaboration with other First West lines of business will enable us to help our members take care of all their banking, borrowing, insuring and investing needs.

    In early 2016, we will launch Financial Snapshot at Envision Financial, Enderby & District Financial and Valley First. Financial Snapshot is a tool designed to help our advisors get a more comprehensive view of a member’s financial needs in order to create a tailored service experience. The introduction of this innovative financial tool follows on its success at Island Savings, where it was created. This is just one of many examples of the value created for members through deepened expertise that comes as a result of collaboration across First West’s divisions. While the addition of Island Savings to First West gave us the most expansive credit union network in the province, we expect that this kind of organization-wide collaboration will continue to bring additional benefits to all members, regardless of location, in 2016.

  • Commercial Banking

    2015 Highlights

    • Commercial deposits grew during the year by $421.1 million, or 15.8%, to $3.1 billion
    • Commercial lending grew during the year by $131.4 million, or 6.3%, to $2.2 billion
    • Total commercial lending is comprised of $2.0 billion of secured mortgages and $66.4 million of secured commercial loans
    • Introduced our industry-leading Unlimited Chequing for Business® account to Island Savings members and the Vancouver Island and Southern Gulf Islands marketplace, resulting in 294 new business banking memberships during the year
    • Expanded our business banking team and added cash management capability to improve service to non-profits, organizations and associations
    • Increased online engagement with our business through social media and website profiles showcasing our experts and our members’ businesses

    “The commercial banking team is a fabulous group of people to work with. They’re dedicated to investing the time it takes to know you and your business. The service and attention to detail is amazing—they make business banking easy.”


    Ryan Sahota
    Managing Founding Partner, Pacific Chartered Advisors LLP and First West Credit Union member with Envision Financial’s Abbotsford Village Branch

  • Outlook for 2016

    A low interest rate environment will continue to invigorate commercial banking in 2016. Low rates, paired with the strength of the real estate market, will contribute to growth in our multi-residential real estate portfolio. We also anticipate low rates to lead to growth in capital investment lending for small- to medium-businesses. Increased capital needs will also provide more opportunity for commercial banking to support our leasing line of business. Additionally, we see members with substantial equity in their real estate holdings taking advantage of low lending rates by continuing to hold these long-term investments with First West. We anticipate 2.3% growth in commercial deposits and 6.5% growth in commercial lending.

    In 2016, we will continue to focus on the small business sector. Perhaps more than any other type of financial services consumer, business owners need convenience that enables them to bank when they want, where they want. We also remain deeply committed to creating local economic benefit and will intensify our focus on underserved markets whose needs we are well-positioned to meet.

    To meet these needs and grow our business, we plan to invest in technology, processes and staff to make banking with First West even simpler. Account opening, credit processes, mobile services and enhanced online experiences are just a few of the areas identified for improvement. We will also execute new strategies designed to increase market share in specific demographics and to continue the development of our advice-based service model.

  • Insurance Services

    2015 Highlights

    First West Credit Union acquired Island Savings Insurance Services Ltd. as part of the Island Savings Credit Union merger. Island Savings Insurance was operated as a separate subsidiary in 2015 and amalgamated with First West Insurance Services Ltd. on Jan. 1, 2016, making it the fifth-largest insurance broker in B.C. The following results are from operation during 2015 and do not include the impacts of the merger.

    First West Insurance

    • Total revenue grew by $528,000, or 2.7%, to $20 million
    • 27 insurance locations serving British Columbians in the Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Kitimat
    • Core revenue lines increased by $344, 000, or 1.9% overall, and operating income increased by $196,000, or 4.2%
    • Smart Pay Premium financing revenue increased 14.2%
    • Completed first phase of enterprise-wide broker management system conversion, on time and on budget
    • Continued to streamline processes and centralize processes such as renewals, endorsements, and company payables, freeing up our specialists to spend more time serving clients

    Island Savings Insurance

    • Total revenue grew by $553,000, or 7.3%, to $8.2 million
    • 11 locations serving British Columbians on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands
    • Operating income increased $307 thousand, or 125.7%
  • Outlook for 2016

    In 2016 we will continue to enhance our advice-based service, which we have improved over the past couple of years. Focus on sales management and leadership will make opportunity for greater organic growth in the sale of insurance products and services to the credit union’s membership, as we help members ensure they have insurance products that fit their needs.

    Work will continue to elevate collaboration between First West Insurance and all other lines of business to build a seamless referral process. Advancements in this area will facilitate better conversations to educate our clients and members about a holistic approach to financial planning. This focus will continue to increase our share of our members’ and clients’ insurance needs in 2016.

    In addition to evolving our advisory sales culture, we will also continue to focus on operational efficiency as a core competency. The project to convert to one organization-wide insurance broker management system supports this priority and will improve operations and service, while better positioning us for long-term growth. By mid-2016, our entire line of business will be on a single platform and our attention will turn to sustainment and optimization to ensure the benefits of the investment are realized. In 2016 we expect to heighten client and member service by improving the level of administrative support for our sales and service teams through a newly developed ability to process transactions anywhere.

    In 2015 the Island Savings insurance business became a part of our overall insurance business, making First West Insurance Services one of the top five insurance brokers in B.C. With the amalgamation creating one legal entity having occurred on Jan. 1, 2016, we will create a new strategic plan for the combined business looking to address the challenges and opportunities in the marketplace, respond to changing consumer demands, position ourselves for the future and leverage the increased scale brought by Island Savings to optimize the business.

    “It’s a challenge to find companies and individuals that go beyond what is asked—that’s the essence of excellent customer service. This is where the staff at Valley First Insurance stand out from the rest. They anticipate your needs and then take the extra step to fulfill them.”


    Taraleigh Crooker
    First West Insurance client at the Valley First Peachtree insurance office

  • Wealth Management

    2015 Highlights

    • Wealth management revenues grew by $5.0 million, or 51.5%, to $14.7 million
    • Mutual fund assets under administration grew by $494 million, or 29.6%, to $2.2 billion
    • MFDA assets grew by $91 million, or 14.7%, to $712.6 million
    • IIROC assets grew by $28.7 million, or 2.1%, to $1.4 billion
    • Deepened the expertise of our wealth management teams in the Envision and Valley First regions by providing more than 400 hours of training
    • In the Island Savings region, all wealth advisors (MFDA and IIROC) were life insurance licensed in 2015, enhancing our accreditation and expertise, and improving our ability to provide comprehensive financial planning to members

    “The staff at Island Savings’ Mill Bay branch, especially its highly capable and very friendly advisory team, have always provided me with top quality service. The combination of personalized service and outstanding community engagement makes Island Savings special. Their support for the development of a green economy and introduction of fossil fuel-free investments is the icing on the cake.”


    Dr. Goetz Schuerholz, Conservation Ecologist
    First West Credit Union member with Island Savings’ Mill Bay branch

  • Outlook for 2016

    In 2016, we will remain focused on our advisory-based approach to helping our members with a broad range of financial services. Our members turn to us for a variety of financial needs they encounter at different stages in their life, from saving and accumulating wealth to the transfer of wealth between generations. Over the past year, we have deepened our teams’ expertise with greater training and accreditation to ensure we can meet our members’ spectrum of wealth management needs, and we will continue to make training a priority in the year ahead.

    In 2016, we will achieve compliance with CRM2 (Client Relationship Model) requirements. CRM2 is a federal regulatory initiative to help clarify investment performance and costs for investors. It started in 2014 and is being phased in over three years with the most significant change occurring in 2016, related to account and fee transparency. With this and other evolving trends in the financial industry in mind, ongoing training and support will be provided to ensure that our team can deliver on their value proposition, demonstrate knowledge and enhance their capability in core financial planning areas.

    We will deepen collaboration with our business banking advisors to ensure our business members have financial and risk management plans in place to protect the continuity of their business interests in succession scenarios. Moreover, we will work closely with other lines of business to introduce our business members to insurance, banking and leasing opportunities, not only providing a holistic approach to addressing their financial needs, but also uncovering greater ways for them to save and invest for the future.

    Further supporting our advisory approach, and in partnership with Qtrade in the Envision and Valley First regions, we will provide opportunities for our members to learn about our wealth offerings through financial planning events such as Investment Cafés and evening wealth management seminars. In 2015, more than 600 members attended our various wealth management events. In the Island Savings region, through our partnership with Credential Financial and Genus Capital, we will develop and activate a Fossil Fuel-Free and Social Impact Investing Strategy. This strategy will focus on providing exclusive options to our high-net-worth members, both individual and institutional, who are seeking divestment from fossil fuels and those wanting to make the world better through social impact investing choices.

  • First West Capital

    2015 Highlights

    • 18 deals approved, representing $36 million in disbursements
    • 54% of transactions funded were outside of B.C.: 34% (Alberta), 19% (Manitoba), 1% (Ontario)
    • Continued diversification of the portfolio, with expansion and working capital financings representing approximately 70% of deals funded
    • 21% year-over-year increase in mezzanine transactions
    • Expanded presence in Alberta with the opening of our Calgary office and the hiring of a Regional Director, Southern Alberta
    • Grew the capacity of our team through the addition of two Associates, one each for our Vancouver and Edmonton offices

    “We haven’t had a moment of doubt over partnering with First West Capital. They were organized, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. Right from the start they worked closely with us to understand the business and believed that we could grow. The partnership was an excellent fit and they were able to provide the funds we required to achieve our goals.”


    George and Cristina Daklala
    Owners, Byblos Bakery

  • Outlook for 2016

    In 2016, First West Capital will continue to grow a sustainable and scalable market-leading alternative financing business, supported by strong business infrastructure and a team of talented experts. We will continue to help small- to mid-sized businesses grow by funding deals of $500,000 to $10 million for acquisitions, buyouts, growth, refinancing and high-ratio real estate financing for owner-occupied real estate. The growth of the portfolio will be managed through diversified and premium deal flow from quality partners, robust due diligence and credit structuring, careful and regular loan monitoring, and prudent risk management.

    We anticipate a growing number of businesses will undergo succession in 2016 and beyond as baby boomers approach retirement age. The near future will also see an increase in the number of businesses that possess intangible assets but lack traditional collateral, such as those in the technology, services, distribution and advanced manufacturing sectors. We are well-equipped to serve clients facing such situations. In Alberta, the falling price of oil and ensuing weakness in the commodity sector have created a need for alternative financing and more creative capital providers. These market conditions present an additional growth opportunity, but one that we will approach with discipline and prudence.

    First West Capital will continue to anchor its presence in Western Canada. In 2016, our geographic footprint will extend into Ontario. Plans include an office in Toronto and the hiring of a Regional Director and an Associate to establish and grow the business in that marketplace. This year will also see the rollout of business software enhancements to improve our client reporting and account monitoring.

    For more information on First West Capital, visit www.firstwestcapital.ca.

  • First West Leasing

    2015 Highlights

    • Lease revenue grew by $280 thousand, or 2.8%, to $10.1 million
    • Lease portfolio grew by $29.2 million, or 35.9%, to $110.5 million
    • Automobile lease portfolio grew by $6.0, or 10.2%, to $65.1 million
    • Equipment lease portfolio grew by $23.2, or 104.5%, to $45.4 million
    • Increased new lease volume by over 35% and over 1,000 leases
    • Established ability to lease across Canada, with the exception of Quebec
    • Added an Account Executive in Ontario to drive business with auto dealers
    • Developed expertise for working with leases at the end of term for better client service and retention
    • Made enhancements to the First West Leasing online portal to improve the client experience

    “We’ve been happy to partner with First West Leasing to assist us with financial solutions to help us with our growth and expansion. Their flexibility and service has been excellent and we appreciate their desire throughout the organization to learn our business and needs, in order to satisfy our requirements. It has been a pleasure dealing with everyone at First West.”


    Darryll Frost
    President and Founder
    Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd.

  • Outlook for 2016

    In 2015, we established First West Leasing as a strong and reputable corporate fleet and equipment supplier and look to increase this line of business to over $20 million in sales in 2016. The growth we saw in our dealer network last year for both auto and equipment will continue, increasing our volumes and allowing us to service new markets throughout the country. We will continue the work we began last year to make First West Leasing easier and faster to deal with, making us a go-to business partner. We anticipate increasing projected new lease volumes by over 20%, aided in part by being able to meet our clients’ needs more quickly. Efficiency in our service will be gained through an improved dealer delivery system for heavy trucks and equipment, e-billing for our corporate customers, easier online documentation for our fleet customers and the ability to register vehicles in Quebec for our national fleet customers.

    Our growth plans also include adding to our team an Account Executive in Alberta to market to new businesses and manage the business we are already seeing in the province. Last year, First West Leasing benefited through collaboration with other First West lines of business and we will continue to strengthen this avenue of opportunity in 2016.

 

First West Foundation

  • $578k

    distributed in 2015 to projects that enhance the resiliency of our communities

  • 99

    charitable organizations supported in 2015 by the First West Foundation

  • $476K

    collected in donations in 2015

  • 14

    permanent endowments
    (1 new established in 2015)

  • $14 Million

    in total assets at year-end 2015
    (7% increase over 2014)

The First West Foundation is a registered charity and First West Credit Union’s companion charity. The Foundation stewards over $14 million in endowment funds, has annual earnings and donations of more than $1 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 charities, as well as philanthropic individuals and families, to establish new endowments with the Foundation to create a lasting legacy for their communities.

In 2015, the SOS Children’s Village BC endowment fund was created to generate ongoing operational funding for the Society. The SOS Children’s Village provides homes, a supportive community, and programs to help foster children and youth in need grow into caring, self-reliant adults. For more information about the First West Foundation or to read the Foundation’s annual report, visit firstwestfoundation.ca.

Our Community

  • photo of Social service agency support personnel

    Foundation funding helps children learn about healthy food options, kitchen safety and important life skills in programs like Food Action Society of the North Okanagan's "Cook it. Try it. Like it!"

  • photo of Langley Seniors Resources Centre

    Clients of the Hope Care Transit Society enjoy a new wheelchair-ready van that provides accessible transportation services, thanks to funding from the First West Foundation.

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

    Enderby seniors learn basic computer literacy skills at the NexusBC Community Resource Centre.

  • photo of KVR middle school

    DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society’s Child and Youth Empowerment Camps provide holistic programming for children who have experienced trauma. These unique camps—funded by the First West Foundation—promote social skills development, recreational activities, expressive arts, personal safety and wellbeing.

  • photo of Penticton & District Community Resources Society

    Volunteers at the Upper Room Mission’s soup kitchen in Vernon build relationships with guests and encourage them to use the different resources available in the community.

  • photo of JA Kitchen Kids program

    Children and their families build health and wellbeing skills and knowledge through Enderby Preschool Society's year-round Kid's Club Health & Nutrition Program.

  • photo of Enderby Preschool Society

    Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society offers school children grades K-12 and visitors outdoor educational opportunities and hands-on experience through field trips focusing on the returning salmon in the Shuswap River.

  • photo of KVR middle school

    Youth build essential life skills in a safe and supportive environment through the Kateslem Youth Society, a prevention-based after-school program.

  • photo of Penticton & District Community Resources Society

    Children learn about nutrition and how to make pasta through the JA Kitchen Kids program at John Allison School in Princeton.

A Selection of Our Partners

YWCA Metro Vancouver Family Resource Centre 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
 

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First West

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Mutual funds are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc. and mutual funds and other securities are offered through Credential Securities Inc. Credential Securities Inc. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. ®Credential is a registered mark owned by Credential Financial Inc. and is used under licence.

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.