Our multi-brand business model

As a member-owned financial co-operative, we're intentional in fulfilling our vision to simplify lives, helping members and communities thrive. We seek to create real value for our members through simple banking. Delivering on this objective, First West offers low or no-cost daily account products, competitive lending facilities, segment-tailored service and innovative online and digital experiences.
 
Our divisional brands are variations of their former credit union names. These brands have been part of their communities for generations and have attained considerable brand affinity. First West has successfully leveraged the brand equity of the divisional names in their respective markets: competitive products and pricing made possible through the larger credit union are effectively marketed through the trusted divisional brands.
 
 
We've primarily grown our core business organically in our established markets and through our four divisional brands. With our localized, multi-brand growth approach, we've grown to become a financially strong and stable credit union. Notably, DBRS has for a third year assigned a short-term instruments rating of R-1 (low), noting the trend is stable. The rating reflects First West’s position as the third largest credit union in B.C., our operation of several well-known brands in major B.C. marketplaces and our larger-than-typical non-interest income stream. In addition, we've achieved a long-term, private rating as of October 2018 of BBB (high) with trend noted as stable. 
 
Though the use of market-tailored brands is not unique to First West and can be found applied within the financial services sector within Canada and North America, this business model has resonated particularly well with First West’s membership and target consumers. Consumers recognize First West’s local-market approach as being more personalized and locally-informed than the big banks’.
 
The model’s application is simple: First West Credit Union is the legal entity which provides financial strength, diversifies and manages risk, and creates efficient, standardized back office functions (known as “shared services”). Our divisional brands serve as the marketing and sales delivery channels of our products and services.
 
As the legal entity, the First West has one board of directors. Likewise, First West holds all memberships and shares. Services such as treasury, financial management, corporate strategy and policies and procedure management are led and managed at the corporate level. As well, risk management frameworks and controls and external and internal audit functions are led and managed by First West.
 
First West’s size and strength allows us to work more efficiently and save on operational costs. We benefit from a backoffice of talented business professionals who support our local brands with expertise in Lean and continuous improvement, finance and accounting, brand and marketing, business intelligence, communications, human resources, information technology and more. The divisional brands market and promote our products and services, serve as the face of the credit union’s community investment outreach, social responsibility endeavours and philanthropic actions.