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First West Credit Union Contributes $50,000 to Help Alleviate Global Poverty and Support International Co-Operatives

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/09/14 -- First West Credit Union today announced a donation of $50,000 to the Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF) of Canada's Build a Better World campaign. Over the last two years, First West has contributed a total of $100,000 to the program as part of its $150,000 commitment. The Build a Better World campaign endeavors to raise $12 million over four years to help alleviate global poverty and support the development of co-operatives and credit unions in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Over the past 50 years, the CDF has worked in partnership with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) -an organization that First West has supported for over a decade, contributing more than $355,000 to various international development efforts. In addition to this financial support, First West has actively participated in other CCA initiatives including its Women's Mentorship Program and its credit union coaching program.

In the coming months, as part of the Women's Mentorship Program, First West will be hosting an international female credit union leader for the ninth consecutive year. In the past, the organization has hosted women leaders from countries like Ghana and Kenya. Additionally, as part of the credit union coaching program, First West leaders have travelled to a multitude of countries including Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Botswana to share information and learning from co-operatives overseas.

Complementing the ongoing support for these programs, First West CEO Launi Skinner also led a delegation of five other credit union CEOs on the CDF's Journey Out of Poverty tour to Cambodia in 2013. There, they spent nine days learning first-hand about poverty alleviation through cooperatives in developing countries.

"The entire First West team is so proud of our continued commitment to the important work of the Canadian Co-operative Association and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada," says Barry Delaney, senior vice-president of business development at First West. "We've seen firsthand how the work that international credit unions and cooperatives undertake in countries around the world is literally life-changing. And, for us to be able to contribute to that movement is an incredible privilege."

The First West team and its regional brands strive to create vibrant communities by investing in ways that will make a positive and lasting difference in the communities where its members and employees live and work. In 2013, First West contributed more than $1.6 million of its operating profits to local communities through scholarships, sponsorships and donations; this also includes the credit union's contributions to the First West Foundation. Additionally, First West provides paid time off to full-time employees to volunteer and assist charities.

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 $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. It operates 39 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit firstwestcu.ca.

Follow First West Credit Union on Twitter: @firstwestcu

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