Valley First

Our History

Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, has a rich history. From humble beginnings more than 65 years ago, Valley First has grown into a strong, innovative and vibrant organization with a branch network spanning the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys.


Valley First Through the Years

The Knights of Pythias Lodge 49, the Penticton branch of a North American fraternal organization, formed B.C.’s 166th credit union on Feb. 7, 1947. By year’s end it had been re-named the Penticton and District Credit Union, offered its 51 members loans and shares and had total assets of $938.26.


The Penticton and District Credit Union continued to grow. By 1956, the organization’s assets totaled $171,636. In 1959 the credit union moved to leased quarters at 184 Main Street in Penticton, the same location it occupies today.


As it approached its 20th anniversary, assets surpassed $800,000 and the credit union bought the property it was leasing at 184 Main Street.


The credit union amalgamated with Keremeos Credit Union in 1970 and by the time Penticton’s Skaha branch opened in 1977, the organization had nine employees and had made the change to computerized transactions.


The credit union grew by buying Yale District Credit Union’s Princeton branch in 1982, opening an Oliver branch in 1984 and changing its name to Valley First Credit Union in 1983 to reflect its wider service area. By its 40th anniversary in 1987, Valley First had more than 15,000 members and in 1989 made its largest donation ever to the regional hospital.


Valley First entered new territory, opening Kelowna’s Downtown, Guisachan Village and Orchard Plaza branches in 1992 and 1993, as well as branches in Vernon and Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall. The credit union formed Baron Insurance (later renamed Valley First Insurance Services) after acquiring a number of Capri Insurance locations and the Baron Insurance Group in 1994. Membership soared, reaching 26,000 by Valley First’s 50th anniversary.


Valley First continued to grow, amalgamating with the Armstrong Spallumcheen Savings and Credit Union and buying the KCP Credit Union in Kamloops in 2001. In 2007, as it celebrated 60 years of service, Valley First saw membership surpass 45,000 and total assets reach more than $1 billion. On Jan. 1, 2010, Valley First, which by then had become the eighth largest credit union in B.C., merged with Langley-based Envision Financial to form First West Credit Union. Unlike a traditional merger, Valley First and Envision Financial agreed to continue operating under separate brands in their respective service regions, while sharing corporate services. Enderby & District Credit Union joined First West in 2013, and Island Savings joined in 2015.


Today, First West Credit Union is B.C.'s third-largest credit union and is led by CEO Launi Skinner. Learn more about Launi and First West.

The Valley First division is led by Paulo Araujo and operates 16 branches and 11 insurance offices.