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First West Credit Union launches new subordinated debt financing group

Launch of First West Capital to give boost to small and medium-sized business looking at growth options

Surrey, B.C. – Growth options for small and medium-sized businesses were given a boost recently as First West Credit Union launched First West Capital.

First West Capital is a new, independent business line that will provide subordinated debt and mezzanine financing to small and medium-sized companies in British Columbia.  Subordinated debt is common in the financing of larger companies; however, there are fewer options for the often under-served SME market. 

Wholly owned by First West Credit Union, First West Capital provides a viable financing option for businesses that are changing ownership or growing rapidly.  And with a large number of SME business owners tipped to retire in the next five years, succession financing is a must.  Similarly, there are times when even the most successful business is growing faster than traditional lenders can accommodate. First West Capital offers unique financing solutions for these companies, too.

As part of its long-term strategy to broaden and diversify its business lines, First West Capital gives First West the opportunity to differentiate itself in the marketplace by offering a sophisticated, member-focused and competitive offering.

“Our investment in this new sub-debt financing group gives us a great opportunity to expand our credit union’s offerings to members and potential members,” says First West’s chief executive officer, Launi Skinner.  “When local businesses prosper and grow it naturally has a real and meaningful effect on our communities – it’s truly a win-win for our members and our communities.”

First West Capital will fall under the executive direction of Paul von Saarn, First West’s chief credit officer.  The First West Capital team will be led by Kristi Miller and Robert Napoli, who together have 25 years of financial industry experience with more than 17 years specializing in subordinated debt and mezzanine financing.

“The First West Capital team understands the challenges faced by business owners,” says von Saarn. “They have an excellent knowledge of the risks involved with sub-debt financing and have the ability to make informed decisions to help our clients achieve their goals while protecting members’ deposits and growing revenue for the 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. First West is British Columbia’s third-largest credit union with $5.6 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members, 1,150 employees and a network of 37 branches throughout the province.

About First West Capital

First West Capital, a division of First West Credit Union, specializes in financing small and medium-sized businesses, with funding ranging from $0.5 million to $10 million, across all industries in Western Canada through customized subordinated loans and mezzanine financing. With a collaborative and partner-focused approach, we help clients finance expansion, acquisitions, shareholder buyouts and high ratio real estate.

How we help mid-market businesses

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