First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

May 07, 2013 12:23 ET

Credit Union CEOs Rally for 'Journey Out of Poverty' Tour to Cambodia

First West CEO Launi Skinner Joins Credit Union Peers to See Firsthand How Cooperatives Are Making a Difference Internationally

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 7, 2013) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this Press Release.

Unlike most businesses that are always trying to out-compete one another, credit unions and cooperatives often come together to share expertise and support each other for the benefit of their members and their communities. Putting this principle into action, Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union will be joined by five other credit union CEOs on the Co-operative Development Foundations's (CDF) Journey Out of Poverty tour to Cambodia from May 10 to 18.

CDF funds growth and development programs based on co-operative values to help people and communities around the world work their way out of poverty. The Journey Out of Poverty tour enables Canadian credit union leaders to learn first-hand about poverty alleviation through cooperatives in developing countries, and to experience the important work that the CDF does to make the world a better place. To contribute to the CDF and help them continue to have the resources needed for this important program, the participants are encouraged to raise funds and awareness with their peers and colleagues upon their return to Canada.

Joining Skinner in this year's program are:

  • Jody Burk, CEO, East Kootenay Community Credit Union
  • Kathy Conway, CEO, Interior Savings Credit Union
  • Eric Dillon, CEO, Conexus Credit Union
  • Mark Lane, CEO, Affinity Credit Union
  • Kelly McGiffin, CEO, FirstOntario Credit Union

"One thing I know that will be as true in Cambodia as it is here in Canada is this: credit unions positively transform communities," says Skinner. "When your organization is owned by the very same people who bank, borrow and invest with you, it impacts the decisions you make, the experiences and service you deliver and the products you offer. Cooperatives are living proof that democracy and social betterment can in fact be part of a thriving business."

According to Barry Delany, one of CDF's board members and the senior vice-president of business development at First West Credit Union, it will be a learning experience not just for the cooperatives in Cambodia, but also for the Canadian CEOs. "We're excited that we have such a diverse group of executives accompanying us on this trip. Together, we'll all get to experience something new and different and see firsthand how teaching people to build a cooperative is an enormous step in helping to alleviate poverty. What a unique experience they'll have to bring back to their respective credit unions and share with their teams."

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 $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. It operates 40 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit

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