DUNCAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 28, 2014) - Time is money in any industry and the credit union system is no exception. In Island Savings' case, time is best spent creating value for members. As part of its early work with First West Credit Union, Island Savings has just introduced the well-respected Lean program into its cooperative culture, looking to reduce an estimated 700 hours of waste during its first year as a Lean organization.

"For Island Savings, Lean is a natural extension of the member focus we share with First West," says David Arrowsmith, Chief Information Officer with Island Savings and one of the credit union's first certified Lean Greenbelts. "It's all about finding ways to better deliver a remarkable member service every time by eliminating waste in both physical spaces and processes at Island Savings, fitting in perfectly with our organizational vision to continuously be improving."

Focused on saving time versus money, ten employees from across the organization (including information systems, branch services, human resources and insurance) recently achieved Lean Greenbelt status after three weeks of intensive training and a comprehensive exam. Another 60 Island Savings employees have completed Lean 101, a day-long introductory critical thinking program created by First West for the financial services sector. Through these initial exercises, employees identified approximately 700 hours spent on work each year - from IT support to stationery ordering to employee onboarding - that does not add real value to Island Savings members and can be made more efficient simply by organizing it differently.

"Lean training empowers every Island Savings staff member to be a problem-solver and a solution-creator, allowing us to create change quickly, streamline approval times and make processes that aren't working for members or employees better," says Arrowsmith. "We've already tackled 27 projects this year and have identified dozens more for improvement through the end of 2015-Island Savings is going nowhere but up from here."

In addition to applying these efficiency principles to processes in every area of the credit union, Island Savings will offer Lean 101 to as many employees as possible in the coming year and has already placed another four employees into the Lean Greenbelt program. After proving itself in the manufacturing industry, the globally-respected Lean program had long been on Island Savings' radar as a method to improve value for members. Once the credit union began getting to know First West-a four-year Lean veteran-Island Savings finally had the support necessary to implement the Lean methodology in its own business. First West went Lean in 2010, eliminating 562,000 minutes of waste in its first year to reduce the account opening process for new members from a 60-minute exercise to a 10-minute one and saving 900 hours per year in processing time for commercial mortgages (among other successes).

"Never underestimate what can be achieved by a group of people driven by a common vision to see real-life change happen," says Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union. "Great service is not easy and fantastic experiences don't just happen. It takes the concerted effort and the commitment of all parts of an organization to make them happen consistently. I'm proud of the successes that First West and its regional brands have already achieved in their Lean journey to maximize our ability to make a real difference in the financial lives of our members."

About Island Savings

Island Savings is the Islands' most recommended banking experience. As a Top 50 Best Employer and Top 30 Greenest Companies in Canada, its neighbourhood experts offer financial, insurance and investment advice and products to over 100,000 Islanders. Managing a total portfolio of $2.8 billion under administration, Island Savings is investing $15 million from 2012-2015 to expand their branch network and all service delivery platforms. Since 2010, their successful Growing Island Families Together (GIFT) program has proudly given over $7.0 million back to the community.

Contact Information:

Island Savings
Melanie Tromp Hoover
Communications Specialist