LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 13, 2017) - The final numbers are in and Launi Skinner, Chief Executive Officer of First West Credit Union, announced today that the credit union invested a near-record $2.8 million in local communities throughout British Columbia in 2016 as audited by the London Benchmarking Group Canada.

"When cooperative financial institutions like First West grow and succeed, communities everywhere benefit," shares Skinner, who has led First West since 2010. First West engaged with nearly 400 local non-profit agencies that deliver vital services and programs in B.C. communities. The majority of these investments were made through sponsorships, philanthropic donations, education awards and community partnerships through First West's regional divisions, Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings.

"Leading and investing in our communities isn't just something we do - it's core to who we are," says Skinner. With the largest geographic branch network in B.C., First West is part of the community fabric from Kitimat to Tsawwassen, Lake Cowichan to Lumby. "The cooperative movement is all about neighbor helping neighbor. That's why we contribute our time, talents and dollars to promote our diverse regions as vibrant, thriving communities to live, work and play."

Community impact at First West is not only measured in dollars. In less than a year, 1,221 of First West's 1,700 employees volunteered 11,663 hours (1,555 days) with non-profit and charitable organizations. A large portion of these volunteer hours were made possible through First West's paid-time-off-for-volunteerism program. Skinner explains that volunteerism is part of its Lead Well social vision. "We promote volunteerism, we heavily invest in leadership because we believe the greatest need society has today is for leaders of integrity, courage and compassion who lift others up in communities and through causes."

In addition to these community investment initiatives, the First West Foundation - the private charitable arm of First West - contributed $627,973 through 89 grants distributed through 15 endowments to deserving charitable groups. Celebrating its 20th anniversary last November, the Foundation has given out more than $4 million to B.C. charities since its founding.

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 nearly $11 billion in assets under administration, close to 250,000 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 divisions. Visit for more information.

Follow us on Twitter: @firstwestcu.

Contact Information:

Media Contact: First West Credit Union
Jason Brown
Manager, Public Relations & Communications