Valley First

Island Savings members say yes to First West

November 14, 2014

Duncan, B.C. and Langley B.C.—After six weeks of information-sharing, public meetings and thoughtful conversation, Island Savings members have approved by majority a special resolution that will see the organization join First West Credit Union on January 1, 2015.

“This ‘yes’ from our members is really a vote for the continued success of Island Savings and for the cooperative roots that our credit union was founded on more than 60 years ago,” says Rod Dewar, President and CEO of Island Savings. “There’s been a lot of information for our members to consider in a very short period of time, and so I give my deepest thanks and appreciation to the Islanders who participated in this process.”

Wrapping up at the end of the business day on November 12, voting on this proposal to partner with First West saw ballots cast from 8,454 Island Savings members that hold either or both Class “A” and Class “C” shares. The special resolution voted on by Class “A” shares was approved by a majority of 79.62% and the separate but identical resolution voted on by Class “C” investor shareholders was approved by a majority of 79.96%. Both resolutions required an affirmative vote from at least 66.66% of participating members for the special resolution to succeed.

“I’m tremendously proud of the dedication and passion our employees brought to this democratic process over the past few weeks,” adds Dewar. “On top of meeting our members’ day-to-day financial needs, each employee learned everything they could about the proposal to merge with First West so they could have informed conversations with our members. It’s an incredible privilege to work alongside such a committed team that cares deeply about the ongoing success of Island Savings in our communities.”

Through First West’s partnership model, Island Savings will retain its employees, branches, brand, local decision-making and community investment program. Effective January 1, 2015, Island Savings will be known as Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, led by 18-year Island Savings employee Randy Bertsch who will become president from his current role of chief operations officer. Rod Dewar will be parting ways with the credit union to pursue other opportunities. In addition, three current Island Savings directors—Mark Aston, Richard Hill and James McKenzie—will be appointed to the First West Board as of January 1, 2015.

“We are very fortunate to have Island Savings join First West,” said Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union. “Thank you to each and every member who asked questions, attended member meetings, engaged in conversations and voted. Not only did you make a difference by voting, but we also heard clearly from you why it’s important to have a credit union that acts locally for Island communities and members. One of First West’s guiding principles is to act locally—an ideal we’re inspired by every day because we have unique communities across British Columbia that deserve a local focus when it comes to their banking needs. Thank you for welcoming us into the Vancouver Island and Gulf Island communities.”

“It’s such a privilege to work alongside the talented and dedicated team of employees at Island Savings,” adds Skinner. “Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to meet many Island Savings employees and I am constantly inspired by their passion for what Island Savings stands for and their desire to deliver remarkable experiences to members. When this team wants something, they unite around their goal and make it happen. It’s this level of energy and focus that will undoubtedly help further elevate the Island Savings experience in many positive ways in the years ahead.”

The positive outcome of the Island Savings member vote also activates the $2 million Island Savings Community Endowment that was announced on October 27, 2014. Housed at the First West Foundation, funds granted from this endowment will benefit local charities and initiatives in the communities that Island Savings serves. This is the largest contribution to date into the First West Foundation.

About Island Savings

Island Savings is the Islands’ most recommended banking experience. As a Top 50 Best Employer and Top 30 Greenest Companies in Canada, its neighbourhood experts offer financial, insurance and investment advice and products to over 100,000 Islanders. Managing a total portfolio of $2.8 billion under administration, Island Savings is investing $15 million from 2012-2015 to expand their branch network and all service delivery platforms. Since 2010, their successful Growing Island Families Together (GIFT) program has proudly given over $7.0 million back to the community.

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 $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 180,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. It operates 38 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial brands. Visit for more information on First West Credit Union.

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