DBRS confirms BBB (high) Long-term Issuer Rating to First West Credit Union

LANGLEY, B.C. – On Nov. 19, 2018, DBRS Limited (DBRS) has assigned a Long-Term Issuer Rating of BBB (high) with a stable trend to First West Credit Union. First West’s short-term ratings were confirmed by DBRS at R-1 (low) on Oct. 5, 2018.

According to DBRS, “The ratings reflect First West’s position as the third-largest credit union in B.C. and the fifth-largest in Canada, with assets of $10.3 billion as at Sept. 30, 2018. First West has a well-established market position through its divisions, which contribute to its successful product diversification. The ratings are also supported by First West’s strong earnings power, which is underpinned by an above-average revenue per member as well as a higher contribution from non-interest income compared with its peers.”

“This rating is important to our organization and our members because it showcases our strength and capacity to create stability during times of continuous change,” says Tom Webster, First West’s Chief Financial Officer. “The value of First West’s multi-brand model combined with its financial strength is clearly resonating with our members and communities.”

Other report highlights

  • First West has a diversified revenue base, largely reflecting a higher contribution from fee-based products such as wealth management and insurance, resulting in the Credit Union having one of the best revenue per member ratios among the large credit unions in B.C.
  • In 2017, First West generated strong net income of $42.2 million, which was up 45% compared with the prior year. This increase was largely driven by overall loan growth of $733 million, or 9.8%, higher interest rates and increased fee-based revenue particularly in investment revenue, wealth management commissions and lending fee revenue. 
  • With a sizable capital buffer relative to regulatory minimums and high-quality capital, First West’s capitalization levels are viewed by DBRS as strong. 

First West provides services to nearly 250,000 British Columbians through its divisions: Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings. DBRS is an independent, privately held, globally recognized credit ratings agency. To learn more about DRBS, visit www.dbrs.com.