First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

March 27, 2014 15:35 ET

2013 Marked by Strong Net Income, Membership Growth: First West Credit Union

- Net income increased 42%, or $11.2 million, to $37.7 million

- Membership grew by more than 4%, or 6,836 members, bringing total growth to 19,000 net new members since 2010

- Total assets increased 4.1%, or $243million, to $6.1 billion

- Deposits increased 8.5%, or $427 million, to $5.4 billion

- Loans increased 4.9%, or $254 million, to $5.4 billion

- More than $1.6 million invested in building healthier communities, bringing our total to $6.3 million since 2010

- Added 22 new products and services in 2013

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 27, 2014) - First West Credit Union's 2013 results marked another year of strong performance with net income growth of 42%, deposit growth of more than 8%, loan growth of nearly 5% and net membership growth of 4%.

"I am tremendously proud of our employees for the results we achieved in 2013," says First West CEO Launi Skinner. "Our team focused on adding new members, delivering innovative products and services, and being trusted advisors. They also embraced Lean to eliminate low-value activities and focus on real value for our members. British Columbians have many choices when it comes to selecting a financial services provider, and I know our employees are grateful and inspired that people are choosing us."

First West CFO Tom Webster also credits the organization's diverse business model for the strong performance. "First West continues to invest in our non-retail banking lines of business-insurance, commercial banking, wealth management and equipment and auto leasing-because we know members and clients value the access to financial services beyond retail banking and borrowing that we provide. The diversification in our business is also instrumental in growing revenue in the compressed margin environment."

Download our 2013 financial statements here.

2013 business highlights:

Enderby & District Financial joins First West family

Following a unanimous member vote, Enderby & District Financial (formerly Enderby & District Credit Union) became First West's third local division. Partnership discussions began in 2012 when the leadership of Enderby & District Financial chose First West because of its financial strength, its competitive banking products, and the ability to retain its local brand, local leadership and community focus.

First West and Island Savings announce partnership plans

In December 2013, following months of due diligence, the boards of Island Savings and First West approved the business case that would see Island Savings join First West, pending regulatory and member approval. Through First West's unique partnership model, Island Savings would retain its local brand, local leadership, local decision-making and Island-centred community focus. The merger business case is currently before the Financial Institutions Commission of B.C.

First West invests in branch network

First West further enhanced its branch and insurance office network in 2013. In January, Valley First opened a boutique-style banking location in the Brocklehurst area of Kamloops. January also marked the grand reopening of Valley First Insurance at Village Green Mall in Vernon, featuring an updated design and layout. In March, Valley First opened its Rutland branch in Kelowna. The new footprint included the consolidation of Valley First's Rutland insurance office, making the new branch a full-service experience with insurance, retail and commercial banking, and wealth management services available at one location. March also saw the introduction of Valley First Insurance in Kamloops (formerly Simmons Black & Emsland Insurance). In November, Envision Financial opened its Highstreet branch in Abbotsford's new Highstreet mall.

Envision Financial is slated to open a new-concept branch in the Chilliwack community of Garrison Crossing in 2014. The 3,800 square foot location will provide full service, offering retail and commercial banking, wealth management and insurance services.

New products, new apps, improved websites

First West launched Home Sweet Bonus™ and After Grad Bonus™, two innovative new products that help members save for important life events. With the Home Sweet Bonus™ account, members who save a minimum $100 a month for three years and then take out a qualifying mortgage receive a $1,000 bonus. The After Grad Bonus™ account rewards members with a $1,000 bonus if they save a minimum $100 a month for their child's future until the child turns 18 years old.

The credit union continued to enhance online account opening in 2013. From anywhere, at anytime, online account opening is simple, taking only 10 minutes. First West also launched Deposit Anywhere™, with new mobile phone apps for iPhone and Android devices. Deposit Anywhere™ makes it easy for members to deposit cheques anywhere, at any time, using a mobile device.

First West also invested significantly in the redesign and enhancement of its local websites. The sites boast new and innovative features to help simplify the banking experience for members. Each has an updated look and feel that is more reflective of its brand, and offers better functionality and improved features that streamline access to products and services. Also included is an easy-to-search, and straightforward tips and advice section.

First West programs support local food banks in fight against hunger

First West employees are passionately committed to helping alleviate hunger in the communities they serve. In 2013, Feed the Valley, Valley First's signature cause, raised $102,816 and 8,642 pounds of food for a grand total of $616,082 and 56,619 pounds of food since it formation. In 2010, Valley First set the ambitious goal of raising $100,000 a year over the next ten years-a total of $1 million for local food banks. In less than three-and-half years, Valley First passed the halfway mark toward achieving its goal.

Following the success of Feed the Valley, Envision Financial launched The Full Cupboard in 2013 as its signature cause to raise foods, funds and awareness in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Kitimat. Envision Financial has committed to raising at least $1 million for local food banks over the next 10 years. In the first 10 months of the program, The Full Cupboard raised nearly $86,000 and more than10,000 pounds of food.

First West Foundation building a legacy in local communities

The First West Foundation, the private charitable arm of First West Credit Union, donated more than $350,000 in 2013 to charitable organizations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat, and the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. The First West Foundation helps improve the quality of life for British Columbians in the communities served by First West Credit Union and its regional brands-Envision Financial, Valley First, and Enderby & District Financial. The Foundation has contributed nearly $2.8 million to charities over the last 17 years.

Enderby & District communities benefit from $500,000 endowment

In March 2013, Enderby & District Financial announced the establishment of the new half-million dollar Enderby Financial Community Endowment. The endowment was created as a legacy fund for the region and will support worthwhile community initiatives in the Enderby area. Through sound investment and the 2013 annual donation from the credit union, the endowment has already grown to over $559,000. Distributions begin in 2014, with over $18,000 already earmarked for the Enderby and area community.

MobiBranch launch

In May, banking got a little easier for Kamloops residents, as First West, in partnership with TRG Mobilearth Inc., launched MobiBranch, the credit union's first mobile branch. MobiBranch lets credit union employees perform secure banking transactions like opening new accounts and helping members apply for loans or mortgages via a tablet, wherever it is most convenient for them. In addition to the ease and convenience of conducting transactions that generally require a visit to a branch, MobiBranch transactions are digitized and paperless. First West received Central 1 Credit Union's NOVA Award for Overall Excellence in Innovation for MobiBranch, which continues to attract interest within the Canadian credit union system and at various financial institutions in the United States.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. It operates 39 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit www.firstwestcu.ca.

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