LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 25, 2015) -

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First West Credit Union today announces that Shelley Besse has been appointed chief operating officer, a new position within the credit union. Effective January 1, 2016, Besse will be responsible for overseeing regional operations across all of First West's regional brands including Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings, and extending the organization's commitment to being trusted advisors for its members and clients.

Since joining the company as a service representative in 1984, Besse excelled in her career, holding a number of increasingly senior positions within the organization, culminating with her appointment as president of Envision Financial in 2012. Succeeding Besse as regional president will be David Lanphear, currently, vice-president, Banking and Insurance Services for Envision Financial.

"I'm thrilled that Shelley has accepted this new role of chief operating officer for First West," says Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union. "Over the last three years, under Shelley's leadership, Envision Financial has contributed significantly to our credit union's overall results. Having worked in almost every area of our organization, she truly understands the ins and outs of our business, and will continue to serve as a strong advocate for our members by helping us create a more dynamic synergy between our shared services and member-facing teams."

Skinner continues, "Not only does Shelley bring a dynamic voice to the leadership team, she is committed to bringing a fresh approach to how we serve our valued members. For example, we launched new 'boutique-style' branches at Garrison Village in Chilliwack and more recently, at Brickyard Station in Cloverdale that provide added convenience and flexibility over traditional branches. Our staff at those branches are equipped to serve all of their members' banking needs. They're also fully mobile with the ability to conduct business where it is most convenient for our members. Notably, since Garrison Village opened in 2014, we've acquired more than 1,240 net new members at that particular location in just over one year."

In her new role, Besse will continue to report to Skinner and sit on the First West leadership team.

"Having been with the organization for more than 30 years, I'm so proud of the incredible legacy that Envision Financial has built in our communities, but equally as important, I believe in the need for continued growth," says Besse. "These last few years have been exciting times for our credit union and I'm so proud of everything that our team has been able to accomplish as we explored new and innovative ways to deliver products and services that bring value to our members. Moving forward, I'm thrilled to work alongside our leadership team and all of our employees across First West to continue our journey of innovation and growth, and continue to make a meaningful difference in our members' financial lives."

Besse's career with Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, is certainly an incredible one. Since joining the organization more than 30 years ago, Besse has worked in nearly every area of the credit union including branch manager; manager, financial planning; assistant vice-president, branch operations; vice-president, sales and service; vice-president, risk management and operations; and most recently, president of Envision Financial. In 2009, Besse was appointed to lead First West through its transition efforts, successfully bringing its two regional brands, Envision Financial and Valley First, together under the First West family and evolving the organization's new operating model.

Among her many credentials, Besse holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, a certificate in financial planning, and she is also a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, specializing in strategy and organizational design. Most recently she received an Operational Risk Management professional designation from the International Council for Operational Risk Management, and she currently serves as chair for the Surrey Board of Trade.

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 British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $10 billion in assets under administration, nearly 240,000 members and more than 1,700 employees. It operates 54 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings brands. Visit for more information on First West Credit Union.

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Contact Information:

Media Contact
Cheryl Shaw
Manager, Public Relations & Communications
First West Credit Union