First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

May 02, 2012 11:00 ET

First West Credit Union to Donate $150,000 to Help Build a Better World for International Co-operatives

B.C.'s Third-Largest Credit Union to Also Host an International Female Credit Union Leader to Continue Its Longstanding Commitment to the Canadian Co-operative Association

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 2, 2012) - First West Credit Union today announced a commitment of $150,000 over three years to the Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF) of Canada's Build a Better World campaign. The initiative endeavors to raise $12 million over four years to help alleviate global poverty and support the development of co-operatives and credit unions in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Over the past 50 years, the CDF has worked in partnership with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) -an organization that First West has supported for over a decade, contributing over $305,000 to international development efforts. Complementing this financial support is First West's commitment to other CCA initiatives including its Women's Mentorship Program, and its credit union coaching program.

Earlier this year, a First West female leader travelled to Botswana to participate in the credit union coaching program and a women's leadership forum, sharing information and learning from co-operatives overseas. Later this month, First West is hosting Roselyne Jituti, the general manager of Kencom Savings and Credit Co-operative from Kenya for 10 days. During this time, Roselyne will gain insight on how to grow membership, reduce loan delinquency, improve member savings and make Kencom Savings and Credit Co-operative more self-reliant.

"The First West team is passionately committed to helping co-operatives gain the expertise they need to generate better economic conditions for their members and their communities," says Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union. "The Canadian Co-operative Association has positively influenced countless lives with their initiatives to build healthy and sustainable credit unions. We are proud to be a longstanding supporter of their efforts and value the important role CDF plays in raising funds for this cause. We also take great pride in helping female credit union leaders internationally gain the knowledge, experience and tools necessary for the benefit of their communities."

According to Michael Barrett, chair of CDF, "The Build a Better World campaign was inspired by the theme of the UN's International Year of the Co-operatives - Co-operatives Build a Better World. We are excited that First West Credit Union is supporting this important initiative in such a big way and joining us as we work to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of the world's poorest people. The funds raised from this campaign will allow the CCA to more aggressively pursue innovation and excellence in co-operative poverty reduction."

The First West team and our local regions strive to create vibrant communities by investing in ways that will truly make a difference in the communities our members work and live in, and in the communities our members care about. In 2011, First West contributed more than $1.6 million of its operating profits to local communities through scholarships, sponsorships and donations; this also includes the credit union's contributions to the First West Foundation. To encourage and acknowledge the devotion of its community investment, First West also provides paid time off to full-time employees to volunteer and assist charities.

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 $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to 1,400 employees. It operates 37 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit firstwestcu.ca.

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