​COVID-19 FAQs

Quick answers to your most frequently asked questions

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We’re here for you

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, our top priority is the health and well-being of our members, employees and communities. We will continue providing the essential banking services you need and the expert financial advice you rely on through these times of uncertainty.

We will continue to update this page on our current financial relief measures, changes and updates to our in-branch availability as well as other frequently asked questions. 


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​Financial Relief for Individuals

​​What financial relief are you offering members? 

  • We have a well-established program called Back on Track for members who are at immediate risk of defaulting on their mortgage or loan with Valley First or Enderby & District Financial. Apply Now (turnaround time for applications is five business days)  
    • Who isn't eligible for Back on Track?
      • Non-members and members who don’t have a mortgage or loan with Valley First or Enderby & District Financial.
      • Members who are not at immediate risk of default—Back on Track is a last resort.
      • Business and commercial members, we offer a similar program for our business and commercial members. Talk to your business banking or commercial banking advisor to learn more.
  • If you have been laid off, remember to apply for Employment Insurance
  • If you purchased Loss of Employment insurance with your mortgage, contact Cumis directly. 

​​Is this the same financial deferment that the big banks are offering?  

There is a common misconception that the government/banks are offering “interest free” skip payments—that is NOT the case. 

A payment deferral plan involves halting or reducing payments for a short period of time, but interest is still accrued, and those payments are made up, typically at the end of the loan/mortgage term. 

​How do I remove double-up payments on my mortgage during this time? 

Contact your financial advisor to discuss resuming your regular contractual payments.

​Do the deferred payments apply to lines of credit? 

No, we are not able to offer deferred payments on lines of credit.  

​How will deferred payment affect my mortgage at time of renewal?  

In the case of a mortgage, a deferral means that interest accrued from each deferred payment is added back into the principal balance of the mortgage. At the time of your mortgage renewal your existing payment will increase slightly to accommodate the deferred payments. 

​How do I apply for Employment Insurance (EI) and where can I find my direct deposit information? 

The government of Canada offers two EI programs to assist Canadians who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, click the links for more information and to apply: 

You can find your direct deposit information in one of two places. If you have a cheque for your account, then you'll see the direct deposit information you need printed on the bottom of the front of your cheque. If you do not have a cheque, you can log in to online banking and get this information from the top right "Account Details" section on your account transactions screen. Learn more on our direct deposit support page. 

After you’ve applied to either program, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government's toll-free number at 1-833-381-2725, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742. 

​What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)? 

The Government of Canada has recently announced a new financial relief program for Canadians impacted by COVID-19. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available to any Canadian who has ceased working for a 14-day period due to COVID-19, offering a monthly $2,000 payment for up to four months for those who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance.  

​​Am I eligible to receive the CERB? 

You are eligible to receive the CERB if: 

  • You have lost or will lose your employment income or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days of the four-week period for which you are applying as a result of COVID-19. 
  • You are 15 years of age or older at the time of application. You are a resident of Canada. 
  • You are not receiving, nor have you applied for EI regular or sickness benefits. 
  • You have not quit your job voluntarily. 
  • You have earned a minimum of $5,000 income in Canada within the last 12 months or in the 2019 tax year from one or more of the following sources:  
    • Employment income 
    • Self-employment income 
    • Provincial benefit payments related to maternity or parental leave 
    • Federal benefit payments related to maternity or parental leave 

​How do I apply for the CERB? 

Apply with the Canada Revenue Agency for the CERB. To get your benefit faster, ensure you have registered for CRA Direct Deposit, which you can do quickly through online banking.

​​I am a renter and I can’t pay my rent, what should I do? 

Inform your landlord of your inability to pay immediately but continue to self-isolate at home as per government health authority advisories. The province of B.C. recently announced a suspension of evictions, a freeze on rent increases and up to $500 a month for three months to help tenants make ends meet and keep their homes for the duration of the provincial COVID-19 emergency.  

The new ban means landlords cannot issue a new notice to end a tenancy for any reason and existing orders will not be enforced, though there are exemptions for the latter. The application portal from the provincial government is still under development. Check https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home for updates.  

​​What relief are you providing Mastercard cardholders? 

A variety of measures have been implemented to reduce the impact of COVID-19 for Mastercard card holders.

  • Temporary increase in tap limits: Tap limits for contactless transactions are being temporarily increased to $250 from $100
  • Minimum payment deferral and interest rate reduction: Eligible cardholders can now receive up to 6 months in payment deferrals plus a reduced interest rate of 10.9% available on all purchases AND cash advances for the duration of the payment deferrals.
  • Minimum payment deferral: “Zero minimum payment” deferral options are being introduced to help reduce the financial stress on cardholders.
  • Travel insurance online claims: Cardholders can now submit their travel insurance claim online.
  • Expedited overlimit transaction approvals: Includes increased authorization limits in Collabria’s contact centre to reduce the turnaround time for most approvals.
  • Improving access to permanent credit limit increases: The requirement for an account to be six months old before a permanent increase can be considered has been waived.

Contact Mastercard cardholder support at 1-855-341-4643 to learn more.



Financial Relief for Businesses

​​What is the Canada Emergency Business Account?

Announced by the Government of Canada on March 27, the Canada Emergency Business Account was established to provide support to small and medium-sized businesses being negatively impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Business Account will provide funding to eligible financial institutions to enable them to provide interest-free loans up to $40,000 to qualifying businesses. A quarter of this loan (up to $10,000) is eligible for complete forgiveness and requires no minimum monthly payments until December 31, 2022.

​Who is eligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account?

To apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account, businesses must meet the following criteria:  

  • You had an active and open business on March 1, 2020
  • Your primary business operating/chequing account must be with First West Credit Union (via one of our divisions: Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings or Enderby & District Financial) and used for day-to-day payments and cash management activities     
  • Your primary business operating/chequing account must have been opened before March 1, 2020
  • You agree that you are only applying for the Canada Emergency Business Account with a division of First West Credit Union and not at any other financial institution
  • You are an operating company registered in Canada
  • You have Federal Tax Registration
  • In 2019, you paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll
  • You confirm that the loan proceeds will be used to pay for operating expenses that cannot be deferred, such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, debt payments and property tax

​​​If the total of payroll paid in 2019 by my business is under $20,000 or just slightly above $1.5 million, can my business still enroll in this program?

No, the total salaries paid in 2019 must be no less than $20,000 and equal no more than $1.5 million. 

I am a sole proprietor and I only have a personal chequing account with Valley First/Enderby & District Financial. Can I still enroll?

No. The Canada Emergency Business Account is available only to business members who have been a registered operation on or before March 1, 2020 with a business chequing account with Valley First/Enderby & District Financial. However, the government has announced additional relief measures to support sole proprietors. Further information is available on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website.

​If I have an existing business operating line or credit with Valley First/Enderby & District Financial, can I enroll in the Canada Emergency Business Account?

Yes, you can still enroll if you are a current borrower.

​I am currently receiving other COVID-19 relief support for my business from Valley First/Enderby & District Financial. Can I still enroll for the Canada Emergency Business Account?

Yes, you can still enroll in the Government of Canada’s Emergency Business Account if you meet the criteria. However, it’s important to note that you are only entitled to one Canada Emergency Business Account; If you receive funding at Valley First/Enderby & District Financial, you cannot receive additional funds through another financial institution. 

​​​If I have multiple businesses, can I enroll each business in the Canada Emergency Business Account?  

Yes. Each business entity that you have may enroll for the Canada Emergency Business Account, however, each business must individually meet the eligibility criteria and operate as a separate active business. Holding companies are not eligible. 

​​How do I apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account?

To enroll and for more information on the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), visit our Canada Emergency Business Account page.

​If I’m approved for the Canada Emergency Business Account, what fees will I be charged?

No fees will be charged.

​​​What are the terms of the loan? 

If you are approved and accept this support, you will be given access to an interest-free loan up to $40,000. A quarter of this loan (up to $10,000) is eligible for complete forgiveness and requires no minimum monthly payments until December 31, 2022. If the balance is repaid by December 31, 2022, you will not be charged any interest or service fees. The outstanding balance after December 31, 2022 will be converted to a 3-year term loan with regular interest only payments at a fixed rate of 5.0%. The Borrower cannot repay all or part of the original loan amount until November 1, 2022 when First West Credit Union will begin processing prepayment requests.

​How can my business use these funds?

As set out by the Government of Canada, the funds available from this loan that must be used to pay for operating costs that cannot be deferred, such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance and property tax.

​​Can I still enroll for the Canada Emergency Business Account if my business is temporarily closed due to COVID-19?

Yes. To enroll, the business must have been active and open on March 1, 2020 and meet all necessary criteria including confirmation that the loan proceeds will be used to pay for operating expenses that cannot be deferred such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, debt payments or property tax.  

​​My business doesn’t meet the Canada Emergency Business Account criteria. What other options can I pursue?  

The government has announced additional relief measures to support sole proprietors including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The following criteria must be met to be able to make a claim: 

  • You reside in Canada; 
  • You are 15 years old or more when you apply; 
  • You have stopped or will stop working due to reasons related to COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit your job or are eligible for regular EI or sickness benefits; 
  • You had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of your application; and 
  • You are expecting to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period and for subsequent benefit periods, you expect to have no employment or self-employment income.  

Further business relief information is available on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website

In addition to the financial relief being offered through the Government of Canada, Valley First/Enderby & District Financial is here to support on a case-by-case basis. We’re available to review and address your business’ unique financial situation to see what financial relief options might be available to you. Whether it be flexible loan payment options, payment reductions, interest only payments or deferrals, or in some cases additional liquidity, our team will provide customized advice and solutions to meet your short- and long-term needs that make sense for your business and industry. 

Please contact your Business Banking Advisor directly or contact us at 1-888-597-8083 to speak to one of our financial experts. 



Credit Cards


​How is Mastercard supporting cardholders during COVID-19? 

A variety of measures have been implemented to reduce the impact of COVID-19 for Mastercard card holders.

  • Temporary increase in tap limits: Tap limits for contactless transactions are being temporarily increased to $250 from $100
  • Minimum payment deferral and interest rate reduction: Eligible cardholders can now receive up to 6 months in payment deferrals plus a reduced interest rate of 10.9% available on all purchases AND cash advances for the duration of the payment deferrals.
  • Minimum payment deferral: “Zero minimum payment” deferral options are being introduced to help reduce the financial stress on cardholders.
  • Travel insurance online claims: Cardholders can now submit their travel insurance claim online.
  • Expedited overlimit transaction approvals: Includes increased authorization limits in Collabria’s contact centre to reduce the turnaround time for most approvals.
  • Improving access to permanent credit limit increases: The requirement for an account to be six months old before a permanent increase can be considered has been waived.

Contact Mastercard cardholder support at 1-855-341-4643 to learn more.

​Has the payment limit for Mastercard tap increased beyond the $100 limit? 

Your Valley First / Enderby & District Financial Mastercard credit card now features a temporary limit increase for contactless transactions from $100 to $250. This benefit is available to you wherever merchants have enabled higher contactless transaction amounts. This increase will allow you to complete more contactless payments and reduce the need to touch the PIN pad or terminal.  

​​I had to cancel my trip due to COVID-19. Is it covered under my Mastercard’s travel insurance? 

If you had to cancel or interrupt your trip due to COVID-19, some expenses that you incurred on your Valley First / Enderby & District Financial Mastercard credit card may be eligible for reimbursement. You can now submit your travel insurance claims online. To do so, click “Claim” on our insurance partner’s page to find the right claim form that fits your submission. Follow the applicable steps to process your claim and send it directly to the insurer. This insurance is available on select Valley First / Enderby & District Financial credit cards, including the Travel Rewards Gold, World, US Dollar, and Platinum Business Mastercards.  

​How do I get an increase on my card limit? 

The requirement to wait six months before getting a higher credit limit has been waived and if you’ve been impacted by COVID-19, you receive priority service. In addition, if you’re currently stuck outside of Canada due to COVID-19 and struggling to meet basic living requirements while waiting to return or need funds to return, Mastercard is temporarily increasing credit limits and creating faster turnaround times for approvals on those limit increases. Contact Mastercard cardholder support at 1-855-341-4643 to learn more. 



Banking Options

​How do I know if my branch is closed? 

We ask that you check the branch locator for the most up-to-date information on updated branch hours or temporary closures that occur due to the COVID-19 situation. In the event of a branch closure a notice will also be posted to the branch door. To find your next closest location visit our branch locator. 

​​My branch is closed / I’ve been told to self-isolate; how can I do my banking remotely? 

We can serve nearly all your banking needs in ways that don’t require you to visit a branch in-person, through: 

  • Our online banking services, available to you 24/7, including Unlimited Interac e-Transfers® free of charge (just like always) with our Simply Free Account®.  To learn more about how to use online banking, watch our new tutorials
  • Mobile banking services, available to you 24/7 but with the added benefit of being able to deposit cheques from anywhere using your smartphone camera. 
  • Our ATMs, available to you 24/7. You can use any ATM on THE EXCHANGE® ATM network free of charge. 
  • Our Member Advice Centre, available by phone at 1-888-597-8083 from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. We appreciate your ongoing patience with higher-than-normal call volumes. 

​Where can I find branch hours? 

Check our branch locator for up-to-date information on branch hours or temporary closures related to COVID-19. In the event of a branch closure, a notice will also be posted to the branch’s front doors. You can also use the branch locator to find the next closest branch location. 

​What precautions are you taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in business locations? 

We’re continuing to follow the direction from the Government of Canada and the Government of B.C. by taking proactive measures to ensure our members and our employees are optimally protected. We have reduced our hours of operation, enabled work-from-home arrangements wherever possible and are ensuring recommended physical distancing guidelines of two-meters are followed in our locations. Branches are held to the highest standards of cleanliness and we’ve implemented enhanced disinfection procedures and are installing plexiglass shields for Member Service Advisors at all our open branches.   

We’re also requesting your help in protecting our employees and your fellow members by avoiding in-person visits to your branch unless necessary. If you must visit a branch in-person, note that you may see changes to hours and availability as we do our part to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities. 

​How can I take care of my business banking needs remotely? 

We have many digital solutions to meet the financial needs of your business including payroll, preauthorized payments, remote cheque deposit, Interac e-transfer, and of course our industry-leading online and mobile banking services, available to you 24/7.  

You can also call our Member Advice Centre at 1-888-597-8083 and speak to one of our financial experts Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We can serve almost all of your routine transactional and banking needs remotely, without you needing to leave the comfort and safety of your home or business. We appreciate your patience if call volumes are higher than normal during this time.  

Our ATMs remain accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Remember, you can use any ATM on the Exchange network, free of charge – this includes ATMs of most other credit unions, HSBC and others. 

​Can I still access the night deposit service?

Yes, our night deposit service continues to be available at all branches. If you currently do not have night deposit access and want to access it, please visit one of our branches to gain access to this service.  

​Stores won't accept cash and want me to tap my debit card, but my tap limit is $100. Is there a way to increase the limit?  

Debit card tap limits are set by Interac® as a security measure and those limits can’t be increased. Similarly, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay also have $100 limits for security purposes. 

Your Valley First / Enderby & District Financial Mastercard credit card, however, now features a temporary limit increase for contactless transactions from $100 to $250, which is available at merchants that have enabled higher contactless transaction amounts. 

​​Is there a hold on depositing cheques over a certain amount? 

One of the ways we protect our members from fraud is by maintaining hold limits on cheque deposits. The length of the hold depends on a variety of factors including the type of membership and where the deposit took place. Contact us to learn more. 



Fraud Prevention


​Am I at risk of fraud because of the COVID-19 situation? 

Unfortunately, there are individuals who will see these times as an opportunity to take advantage of people. In your online or phone interactions, always use safe internet, email, text messaging and phone practices. Never click links that ask you to update personal information and never give out personal information on the phone. Valley First will never call you and ask you for your personal details. The only time we may need to verify your identity over the phone is when you call us. If you have any concerns, please call our Member Advice Centre at 1-888-597-8083. 

​​There is an unauthorized transfer in my account. Have I been scammed? 

An unauthorized transfer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been scammed. Look for unfamiliar vendors and odd transfer amounts (for example, $1). If you know the vendor and the amount doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, there’s a good chance it was simply a mistake and you can dispute the charge. If you suspect fraud, contact us as soon as you can. 

​​I may have been exposed to fraud, but I need to use online banking. What can I do? 

If you suspect that you may have been in contact with a fraudster, stop using the device that you think the fraud may have involved and change your banking passwords. If you can successfully change your password, there is no additional risk to banking online from another device. 



General


​I’m seeking employment with your credit union. How will COVID-19 impact my application and interview?  

We are actively recruiting for roles across our credit union. Because of COVID-19, however, the start date for new employees could be impacted. We are also conducting interviews via video conference and telephone as opposed to in person. For more information on recruitment during COVID-19, visit firstwestcu.ca/recruitment-during-covid-19/   

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