First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

April 07, 2016 11:00 ET

A Remarkable Year: First West Credit Union Achieves Strong 2015 Results, Marking Sixth Consecutive Year of Membership Growth

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 7, 2016) - First West Credit Union continued its trend of strong growth in 2015, while moving ahead with major projects such as the integration of Island Savings and investments in technology infrastructure.

The Langley-based financial co-operative achieved a profit before tax of $35.5 million, grew comprehensive income by 17.9 per cent or $6.4 million to $42.1 million and total assets by $2.2 billion, or 33.7 per cent, largely due to the Jan. 1, 2015 merger with Island Savings. The credit union achieved balance sheet growth from operations of $654 million, or 8.1 per cent, to $8.7 billion, compared with 6.3 per cent growth in 2014.

"Despite the pressures financial institutions continued to face in 2015, I'm tremendously proud of the accomplishments of the entire First West team," says First West Credit Union CEO Launi Skinner. "Our team worked tirelessly last year to thoughtfully grow our business and help our members achieve their financial goals. This commitment is reflected in strong growth in membership, deposits and comprehensive income."

First West was even busier beyond the balance sheet and in 2015 welcomed Island Savings into the First West network and completed a number of major technology investments and upgrades.

"We recently celebrated Island Savings' first year as part of First West-and what a year it was," says Skinner. "What Island Savings has been able achieve and deliver to our members is above and beyond what it would have been able to deliver as a stand-alone credit union. Members can now benefit from First West's market leading no-fee Simply Free Account™ and the low-fee, Unlimited Chequing For Business® account, and have access to higher lending caps for commercial and business members. This is a great example of how our multi-brand model is flourishing and enabling our regional brands to work big, while working local."

"Over the past year, we also invested heavily in enhancing systems that will have a direct and immediate impact for our members and keep their banking relationship simple," says Skinner. "In our Valley First region, we completed a banking system conversion with almost zero member impact. Across First West our insurance teams began converting to a unified, enterprise-wide insurance broker platform. And, we continued to innovative and deliver new banking products like the wearable payment technology, DASHBAND."

Skinner says that this is just the beginning, "In 2016, First West is going to continue to look for ways to elevate our member experience. We're looking at new payment options and strategic partnerships to bring even more to innovation and value to our members."

First West also welcomed nearly 10,000 net new members, marking the sixth straight year of membership growth. Furthering its commitment towards building healthier communities, First West contributed more than $2.2 million through the First West Foundation and signature causes such as Feed the Valley and The Full Cupboard, bringing its community investment total to $10.3 million since 2010

First West's CFO Tom Webster also credits the organization's steadfast focus on membership growth and the solid performance from its subsidiaries for the strong results.

"For a second consecutive year, we achieved financial results that were comparable to last year's despite the challenging economic environment," says Webster. "The steadfast focus, passion and engagement of the First West team coupled with the strong performance from our subsidiaries including leasing, wealth management, First West Capital and insurance certainly impacted our overall financial performance. Additionally, we exceeded our target for membership growth-one of our most important success factors for the long-term health of our credit union, bringing our net new members total to nearly 35,000 since 2010. This is a tremendous accomplishment for our team as membership growth continues to be a struggle in the Canadian credit union industry."

First West Credit Union 2015 financial results

  • Total assets grew by $1.5 billion, or 23.7%
  • Total deposits grew $1.4 billion, or 23.6%
  • Total loans grew $1.4 billion, or 24.6%
  • Income after tax decreased $2.0 million, or 6.2%, to $30 million
  • Comprehensive Income increased 17.9%, or $6.4 million, to $42.1 million, from $35.7 million in 2014
  • Membership grew by 67,416 members, as a result of net member growth and merger with Island Savings
  • First West paid dividends of $1.4 million to members, bringing total dividends paid to $8.1 million since 2010
  • More than $2.2 million was invested in building healthier communities, bringing our total to $10.3 million since 2010
  • More than 20 new products, services and improvements launched in 2015, including the Simply Free Account™ and Unlimited Chequing for Business® at Island Savings, StepUp™ term deposits and TFSA Early Bird Account at Valley First and Island Savings, DASHBAND™ and major renovations at several locations along with the opening of our new-concept branch in Cloverdale's Brick Yard Station.

First West Credit Union 2015 annual report now online

First West Credit Union's online annual report and downloadable 2015 financial statements are now available, featuring management's discussion and analysis, 2015 successes and highlights from our regional divisions.

Annual General Meeting

The 2016 First West Credit Union AGM sessions will be held as follows:

  • May 9, 2016, in the Valley First Region at the Coast Capri Hotel, Kelowna, B.C.
  • May 11, 2016, in the Envision Region at the Sheraton Guildford, Surrey, B.C.
  • May 12, 2016, in the Island Savings Region at the Inn at Laurel Point, Victoria, B.C.

Registration for all meetings opens at 6 p.m. and meetings commence at 7 p.m.

For more information on the AGMs, visit http://firstwestcu.ca/participating.

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 $10 billion in assets under administration, nearly 240,000 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 brands. Visit firstwestcu.ca for more information on First West Credit Union.

Follow us on Twitter @firstwestcu

Contact Information

  • Media Contact
    Cheryl Shaw
    Manager, Public Relations & Communications
    604.539.7360
    cshaw@firstwestcu.ca