First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

August 03, 2011 11:00 ET

First West Credit Union: Credit Union Pioneer and Canadian Hall of Famer Honoured With Two Endowments

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 3, 2011) - It was 1954, and Chilliwack carpenter Ben Voth had reason to celebrate. He had just become one of 22 founding members of the East Chilliwack Credit Union—a co-operative committed to helping local Fraser Valley residents when the big banks refused. Nearly sixty years later, that same credit union, now known as First West Credit Union, which operates under Envision Financial and Valley First brands, is honouring Mr. Voth's life's work with two endowments totaling $30,000.

In an effort to preserve Mr. Voth's legacy and recognize his immeasurable contribution to the credit union system, First West's board of directors have established a $20,000 Ben Voth Legacy Endowment through the First West Foundation. Another $10,000 endowment was established with the Credit Union Foundation of B.C. to commemorate Mr. Voth's contribution to the entire credit union system. Monies from these endowments will help support students pursuing post-secondary education in construction and other related programs.

"Although Mr. Voth passed away in 2010, his legacy still lives on through First West," explains Shawn Neumann, chair of the First West board. "He served on our board of directors for an amazing 42 years, 38 of which were spent as board chair. He had such an incredible passion for the credit union system and he dedicated his life to helping his fellow British Columbians."

Mr. Voth's notable credit union contributions went beyond service to a single institution. Between 1978 and 1990 he served on a number of boards and committees including the Credit Union Reserve Board and the Financial Services Industry Sectorial Committee on the Canada/U.S. Free Trade Negotiations. In 1990, Mr. Voth was also part of the B.C. delegation at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, where he shared his insights about the credit union system. In 1994, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Credit Union Foundation of B.C. in recognition of his immense contributions to the credit union system.

The announcement of these endowments coincide with Mr. Voth's induction into the Canadian Co-Operative Hall of Fame, which recognizes inspiring credit union leaders who passionately advocate for the system and who truly represent the co-operative spirit.

"My father would have been greatly honoured by the Hall of Fame induction," says son Ken Voth, a local businessman who currently serves on First West's board. "Even more importantly, he'd be profoundly happy to see funds from these endowments helping people and making a real difference in local communities."

About First West Credit Union

Led by Launi Skinner, 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. First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and 1,300 employees. It operates 37 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands. For more information, visit

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