First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

February 11, 2014 12:28 ET

First West Credit Union Achieves More Than 4% Net Membership Growth in 2013

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 11, 2014) - First West Credit Union today announced that it grew its membership base by more than four per cent in 2013.

Notably, this year is the third consecutive year that First West, which operates throughout British Columbia locally as Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial, has achieved positive membership growth. The credit union grew by three per cent in 2012 and more than eight per cent in 2011-something of a feat, according to CEO Launi Skinner, given that the credit union industry's membership has remained relatively flat over the last five years.

"Many credit unions across Canada have been struggling to attract new members," says Skinner, "That's why First West's results are nothing short of outstanding. I'm proud of the consistency, perseverance and hard work of our team and how it has enabled us to achieve one of the highest growth rates among all credit unions.

"Our success really comes down to our members. We know people have many choices when it comes to choosing a financial institution and we are thankful so many British Columbians have chosen to trust us with their financial needs. Our ability to provide relevant products and services, and expert advice are rooted in the relationships we've built with our members. It's what drives us to be better every day."

Skinner also credits her team's ability to embrace change and introduce innovative technologies-something she says has enabled First West to attract new members and stay ahead of the competition in a tough industry.

"Never before have we seen so many new non-bank entrants come into our banking market space-it challenges the very relevance of traditional credit unions and banks," she says. "There has never been a more pressing need to push for innovation.

"Canadians today are looking for smart technology that enables them to bank when, where and how they choose. We're the first and only financial institution in Canada to offer an account with free e-transfers. We were the first credit union in Canada to introduce mobile banking for the Android platform, in addition to our iOS and BlackBerry platforms. And last year at Valley First we launched MobiBranch, an app that enables us to take the 'branch experience' to our members at their home or place of business."

"From the way our front-line staff have shifted to a more holistic, advisory sales model, to the way we're finding ways to do things more efficiently and drastically improving our expense ratios, to launching new and innovative products and services, our team is focused on winning new members-and it's working."

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 www.firstwestcu.ca.

Follow First West Credit Union on Twitter: @firstwestcu

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