LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – May 5, 2016) – First West Credit Union was recognized with two National Credit Union Awards at the industry’s national conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. These awards acknowledge credit unions that exemplify the true nature of the cooperative spirit, highlight fresh and innovative programs and solutions that emphasize local economic initiatives that help to elevate the effectiveness of credit unions, and the ambitions of young leaders nationwide.

Tara Vanden Pol, who works as a lending expert with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, was named by the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) as one of five finalists for the National Credit Union Young Leaders Award. Recognizing young leaders 35 years of age or younger, this award shines a light on some of the best and brightest young leaders across the country and showcases their accomplishments in advancing Canada’s credit union system.

Secondly, First West’s DASHBAND, a new and innovative wearable payment technology that enables consumers to pay for products and services with a simple tap of their wrist at any contactless payment point-of-sale systems, was awarded with the National Credit Union Innovation Award. The award honours and recognizes credit unions that demonstrate and encourage the development of ideas and innovations in technology, process, cost savings and member services. Designed as a durable and sporty wrist band with an embedded pre-paid reloadable Visa chip card, the DASHBAND was conceptualized by the First West team and designed in partnership with DC Payments and Visa.

“As we continue to face increased competition and challenges in our industry, I’m really proud of the way the First West team has been able to consistently contribute new ideas and processes that put our members first and deliver exceptional value to our organization,” shares First West Credit Union’s CEO Launi Skinner. “We’re really proud to receive both these prestigious awards that recognize our focus and commitment to developing our young leaders and supporting their growth and our ongoing quest for innovation that enable us to bring new products and services to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our members. ”

Notably, First West has been recognized many times for its commitment to innovation and development of young leaders. As one of this year’s finalists, Vanden Pol joins a long list of First West employees who have also been named as a recipient of the National Credit Union Young Leader award. More information about the Credit Union Central of Canada’s national awards can be found here.

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.

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Media Contact
Cheryl Shaw
Manager, Public Relations & Communications
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