Not many people can say they fly themselves to work in the morning then home again when the day is done. Barry Delaney can.
First West’s senior vice-president, lines of business strategy, bagged his full commercial pilot’s license two years before his driver’s, and the latter was only because his dad got tired of ferrying the teenager to the airport.
Barry, now 47, has been flying for over 30 years—and such is his passion that the family home is located within spitting distance of the Abbotsford airport.
“There have been a number of opportunities to fly with work—especially when travelling between the Okanagan and Langley,” he says. “It's a four-plus hour drive or 50 minutes by plane. I just love it.”
But airplanes aren’t the only thing Barry throttles up. Formal business title aside, Barry is known in the organization and the business community for making ideas take flight.
Behind his jovial and mild-mannered nature is a mind that is constantly at work—one that appears to always be seeking out new ideas and approaches to business.
Noted among his accomplishments is the very popular Redfrog all-in-one banking product. Introduced in 2005, Redfrog was one of a kind among banks and credit unions in Canada and for that matter in most of North America. All-in-one mortgages are a popular choice in Australia and have now been available there for more than a quarter century. Same in the UK, where this kind of product has been around for roughly 15 years. Today, Redfrog is popular among many Envision Financial members and boasts over $1 billion dollars in mortgages.
Barry was also the driving force behind Envision Leasing which, since the 2010 merger has been revved up across the business as a full-fledged First West operation. Now, both Envision and Valley First regions provide leases on new and nearly-new automotives. The business has also capitalized on competitive advantages: the nearly-new vehicle lease market is a niche largely ignored by competitors and First West is the only B.C. credit union to offer automotive dealers both leasing and loans. Under Barry’s leadership, First West’s automotive financing group generated nearly 15 million in 2011, an increase of 19.6% from 2010.
Recently Barry orchestrated and led the introduction of First West’s new wealth management strategy. “Our senior lenders can now offer wealth advice and services to our members,” he says. “This means that members can have their investments capably managed with the account manager they’ve come to depend on for their lending and deposit needs. It’s holistic banking advice and its another way we’re keeping things simple for our members.”
Barry’s also working on improving the experience for clients of Envision Insurance or Valley First Insurance. “We’re one of the largest credit union providers of auto, home and travel insurance—so we have a lot of people counting on us for peace of mind when it comes to things of value,” says Barry. “We strive to make the process as simple as it can possibly be. That’s what really gives me a spark—I like finding ways that our different business groups can make things just a bit easier for our members—whether its buying a home, financing a car or investing for retirement.”
That altruistic bent goes well beyond the world of dollars and cents. Barry’s’s also known for making life better for others elsewhere. He’s an active volunteer with the Ottawa-based Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) charity.
“CCA works to break the cycle of poverty in parts of Africa, Central America and South-East Asia by introducing a cooperative structure,” he says. “I’ve been to Ghana, Malawi, Thailand and Sri Lanka to provide technical advice to help credit unions and their communities mobilize savings.”
“It’s a great program. A $20 loan for a sewing machine can make a huge difference. I met a fellow who said one sewing machine has allowed him to buy a home, pay for his kids’ education and cover medical costs for his aging parents. That’s pretty amazing.”
Whether he’s making a difference in someone’s life globally or locally or growing an idea from seed to fruit, for Barry, the sky’s always been the only limit.