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 Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking and investment services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union with 46 branches throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit

Media Contacts

Josh Juhlke

Communications Manager
c: 604.309.6066