New leader for Valley First as Simon Mills takes the helm

PENTICTON, B.C. — Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, is pleased to announce that Simon Mills has been appointed president. Mills will lead the Valley First personal, business and commercial banking teams that support members with financial planning and advice in British Columbia’s southwest interior.

Mills, who makes his home in Kelowna, previously led Valley First’s commercial banking business across the Thompson-Okanangan. He joined Valley First in 2019 as Director of Commercial Banking, following 16 years in business and commercial banking, business development and building strategic relationships in Canada and the United Kingdom. He draws from his breadth of experience in portfolio management, risk management, and structured working capital solutions to grow and support the Valley First team.

“Simon’s a relationship builder and finds satisfaction and purpose in setting people up for success,” says Susan Ewanick, Chief Member Officer at First West Credit Union. “Whether it’s finances or being a leader in the workplace or being a parent and partner, he’s tuned in to the best interests of others.”

Dedicated to community leadership, Simon is active in Valley First’s signature cause, Feed the Valley, and is dedicated to strengthening the credit union system in B.C. He’s currently a member of the Canadian Credit Union Association’s Farm Credit Canada – Credit Union Liaison Committee, which is focused on building relationships between credit unions and the agricultural sector across Canada. He is also a former board director for the Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts.

“It’s an absolute privilege to have the opportunity of leading an organization that’s instinctively community-minded,” says Mills. “The support that Valley First provided for its employees and communities impacted by the fire is a good reminder of just how important Valley First and cooperative financial institutions are to our province and the country, especially in times of crisis.”

Valley First’s previous president, Paulo Araujo, will continue to be a familiar face at the credit union and in the South Okanagan community. Araujo led First West’s Valley First division for more than four years and has been promoted to Senior Vice-President of Operations and Advisory Experience for First West.

Company Information

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 one of Canada’s largest credit unions with nearly $18.6 billion in total assets and assets under administration, more than 253,000 members and approximately 1,250 team members. It operates 45 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial brands. Visit for more information on First West Credit Union.

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Josh Juhlke

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