After more than 60 years serving members from the branch at 38 King George St., Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, is reaffirming its commitment to the Lake Cowichan community by moving branch operations to a central new location.
In spring, 2022, the credit union will open its doors at 75 Cowichan Lake Rd., current site of the RBC branch slated to close later this year.
“For decades we’ve been dedicated to meeting the financial needs of members in Lake Cowichan and the surrounding area and we’re excited to reaffirm our commitment to this community through our new location,” says Kendall Gross, president at Island Savings.
“Our continued presence in this and other close-knit Island communities is a testament to the financial strength of our organization. As we’ve continued to experience healthy growth, we’ve provided our members greater access to products and services they need while still maintaining our credit union values, local knowledge and member-centred approach to doing business.”
Island Savings’ current branch location was originally home to Lake Cowichan Credit Union which opened in September 1959.
When the two credit unions merged in 2005, Island Savings continued its support for local non-profit organizations.
This year, the credit union has contributed more than $27,500 to charitable causes in the area through such programs as The Full Cupboard, Simple Generosity and the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, facilitated by First West Foundation.
Operations at the Lake Cowichan branch are led by Branch Manager James Funfer, who assumed the role in July of this year.
Funfer, who first joined Island Savings in 2013, has served in a number of member-support roles and spent six years as a member of the credit union’s Learning and Development team.
“It’s wonderful to be back in the Lake Cowichan community which boasts a unique blend of small-town charm and local natural splendour,” said Funfer, who spent time in the area during his youth.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the amazing work our branch has been doing to support members and community partners from our central new location.”
Funfer is the incumbent chair of the First West Young Leaders Committee, which supports the development of leaders aged 40 years and under within First West Credit Union.
He’s also a passionate supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley, where he volunteers as a Big Brother and for events such as Bowl for Kids’ Sake.