Every organization has a story. Many are typical accounts of significant financial transactions, notable business acquisitions, facility openings, ribbon-cuttings and the like, generously sprinkled with the obligatory nods to navy-jacketed men and women.
But good organizations, actually great organizations, tell stories that capture the audience’s imagination from the very start—stories that make you dream, that stand a paradigm on its head or that expose you to ways of thinking you hadn’t considered before. For many of these organizations, their account spans the decades and even the centuries; for others, their tale has just begun.
The genesis for First West’s story occurred several years ago around a kitchen table in Abbotsford when two golfing buddies, who were also CEOs of well-established credit unions decided there had to be better ways for credit unions to grow and expand in their competitive industry than through traditional mergers. Such traditional mergers were usually an immediate plus for the financial statements but carried a tremendous cost to local brand awareness, local decision-making and local market focus.
Not long after, with only an idea and belief that things could be different and better, Valley First and Envision Financial began a journey together to draft the blueprint of a partnership that had the potential to achieve in reality what was to that point only imagined. So the partnership began, with trying, learning, rethinking, recalibrating and on occasion failing. But always believing. And the outcome was none other than we now call First West.
More than just a credit union and a partnership, First West is a concept and an idea—like the start of an adventure. It’s an experience certain to awaken the mind, heart and spirit to another way of doing financial services in Canada. And so First West’s story, our story, has in many way just begun.
Key milestones and dates
|January 2010||First West Credit Union legally formed through the merger of Valley First Credit Union and Envision Credit Union|
|April 2010||Launi Skinner appointed as First West’s new CEO, replacing the retiring founding CEO Gord Huston|
|October 2010||First West Credit Union launches First West Capital, a new subordinated debt financing group|
|December 2010||At year-end, First West posts record results, exceeding merger business plan forecasts, with an ROA of 0.89—the highest among largest credit unions in B.C|
|January 2011||Release of game-changing strategic plan, including First West’s Things we believe, Why? statement, and Six Big Ideals|
|April 2011||Shawn Neumann named as new Board Chair for First West Credit Union|
|August 2012||Unveiled the Simply Free Account to Envision Financial and Valley First members - the perfect everyday account and the only banking account that offers free Interac® e-transfers in Canada|
|September 2012||Launched Referral Perks to Envision Financial and Valley First members. Through the program, both the referrer and referee receive a $50 prepaid MasterCard® for every successful referral and new chequing account opening, up to $250 per year.|
|October 2012||Introduced the Unlimited Chequing for Business Account to Valley First members and re-introduced it to Envision Financial members|
|April 2013||Welcomed Enderby & District Financial to First West's family of brands.|