First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

January 24, 2017 14:26 ET

First West thanks B.C. government for holding line on credit union tax rates for the benefit of members and the economy

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 24, 2017) - First West Credit Union expressed its strong support for the B.C. government's announcement today that it would pause further increases in 2017 to the credit union tax rate and instead hold the rate at 2016 levels.

"The Minister's news today is not just good news for credit unions, it's also good news for the economy and for B.C.'s small businesses," shares Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union.

Skinner says studies such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business' 2016 SME Bank Market Share Report indicate that B.C. businesses have made credit unions like First West their first choice for financial services. As a result, B.C. credit unions lead the banks with a 23 per cent market share of small and medium-sized businesses.

To grow jobs and the economy in B.C., local businesses need ready access to capital. Skinner adds that to provide those loans, First West Credit Union almost exclusively raises its own capital by reinvesting profits back into the cooperative to support small business loans. Maintaining lower provincial and federal taxes means more can be directed toward a credit union's loan portfolio.

Credit union taxation came to the forefront in 2013 when the previous federal government introduced a controversial omnibus bill. This bill stripped away a 40-year tax treatment of credit unions that acknowledges their distinctive cooperative structure, social mandate and unique economic contribution. The removal of this tax treatment dramatically increased federal taxes for credit unions and, because of mirroring legislation, increased provincial taxes for B.C. credit unions as well.

"Cooperative financial institutions are a critical part of our provincial and national economy," says Skinner. "Today's announcement is a positive first step - yet more needs to be done. We continue to call on our federal and provincial governments to restore the historic tax treatment of credit unions."

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 nearly $11 billion in assets under administration, close to 250,000 members and more than 1,700 employees. It operates 54 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings divisions. Visit firstwestcu.ca for more information.

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