First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

October 17, 2013 11:00 ET

Uniting for Good: First West Credit Union Joins in Global Celebration of International Credit Union Day

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 17, 2013) - Credit unions and cooperatives were built on the foundation of neighbour helping neighbour and that deeply rooted philosophy is as evident today as it was back in the system's founding days. Today marks the annual International Credit Union Day and this year's theme 'Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better way' emphasizes the benefits of cooperation among credit unions worldwide-something that First West Credit Union fervently believes.

"The First West team believes that although we operate as individual credit unions, we all share a common cooperative spirit and commitment to invest in our communities to make a positive and lasting difference," says Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union. "Today, as we celebrate International Credit Union Day, it's remarkable to see the number of ways that credit unions unite together for our communities both locally and globally."

For First West, this means giving back to the credit union system beyond community investment initiatives but also through innovation and thought leadership. As Skinner shares, "Like many other credit unions, our team at First West has a longstanding commitment to our communities. For example, when Southern Alberta was hit with severe flooding earlier this summer, we saw it not only as an opportunity, but also our responsibility to stand together with our credit union peers to help with the relief efforts. Our collaborative efforts generated a $245,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross to assist with the rebuilding efforts-a great example of cooperatives uniting to help one another."

Skinner continues, "Beyond our Canadian borders, we know that we also have a responsibility to support cooperatives overseas, and when an opportunity arose through the Co-operative Development Foundation to travel to Cambodia to see firsthand how cooperatives are helping to alleviate poverty in developing countries, we were eager to help. It was, without a doubt, a life-changing trip for me to see how credit unions can positively transform communities. We're proud to be longstanding supporters of the CDF and the important work they do and have committed a $150,000 donation over three years to their Build a Better World campaign, which aims to raise funds to support the development of co-operatives and credit unions in Africa, Asia and the Americas."

First West is also an advocate of bringing innovation and thought leadership into the credit union industry. Earlier this year, a First West leader was chosen as one of a select few to be a part of the Filene i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) Group. As part of their responsibilities, i3 members look at creating innovations through new products, services or business models for consumers through credit unions across North America. Additionally, as part of the Large Credit Unions of Canada group, First West works collaboratively with other credit unions across the country to bring new innovations like Deposit Anywhere to Canada, which enables customers to remotely deposit cheques using their mobile device anytime and anywhere.

Closer to home, First West continues to put an emphasis on thought leadership by creating an innovation framework that encourages team members to implement new ideas quickly. As a result, new tools and services continue to be developed and launched at First West's regional brands including MobiBranch, which enables employees to perform secure banking transactions for members via a tablet, wherever it is most convenient for them. Notably, First West was the first financial institution to offer MobiBranch and this service is now garnering a great deal of interest within the Canadian credit union system and adoption in various financial institutions within the United States.

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 through trusted, local brand names and a fresh, inspired 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 firstwestcu.ca.

Follow First West Credit Union on Twitter: @firstwestcu

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