DBRS confirms R-1 (low) Short-term Rating to First West Credit Union

LANGLEY, B.C. (Nov. 2, 2017)—DBRS Limited (DBRS) has assigned a Short-Term Instruments Rating of R-1 (low) to First West Credit Union (First West), noting the trend is stable.

The rating reflects First West’s position as the third-largest credit union in British Columbia (B.C.), its operation of several well-known brands in major B.C. marketplaces and its larger than typical non-interest income stream.

First West provides services to more than 240,000 British Columbians through its divisions: Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings, which merged with First West on Jan. 1, 2015. The merger added approximately $1.5 billion of assets and further organic growth has increased First West’s balance sheet to $8.7 billion at the end of 2015. It is now the fifth-largest credit union in Canada with a material market presence in its footprint in Southern B.C. and Southern Vancouver Island, with a membership that equates to an estimated 10 per cent of the population in its operating area.

Around 65 per cent of First West’s $8.2 billion gross loan portfolio is in retail loans, the majority of which are residential mortgages. Branch-raised deposits make up the majority of liabilities and fund more than 100 per cent of First West’s loans.

First West’s capital ratios provide a sizeable cushion above regulatory requirements. Specifically, First West reported a B.C. capital adequacy ratio of 14.2 per cent at the end of 2016, well above the minimum eight per cent required.

“Our credit union continues to secure strong ratings that reflect our financial performance and commitment to members,” says Tom Webster, First West’s Chief Financial Officer. “First West is demonstrating its financial strength, stability and value of its multi-brand model.”

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 nearly $12 billion in assets under administration, approximately 240,000 members and more than 1,750 employees. It operates 54 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings divisions. Visit firstwestcu.ca for more information.

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