By Scott Trudeau
Special to the Western News
Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, was recognized for putting its customers first.
It received the Best Customer Service award, as voted by Western News readers for 2018 Best of the South Okanagan awards, which is evidence that shows what they are doing is working.
The member-owned financial institution is proud to serve its local communities and winning an award like this is a tremendous compliment to its hard-working employees who are always looking for ways to add value to credit union members.
Its the first time Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, has won the award.
“Customer service goes one step further than a traditional business,” said the company in a statement. “Because of the co-operative nature of our business, our members and employees have a say in how our company is run because they are all owners.
“When members and employees are working together towards a common goal, great customer service becomes more achievable. When our members win, we win. It’s that simple.”
Among the keys to providing top-notch customer is a focus on being an agile organization that truly listens to its member needs. While some companies are quick to try and fit every customer into the same mould, Valley First has maintained its commitment to human side of things, which sets them apart.
“By genuinely listening to a member’s situation and working to provide a customized solution, we ensure that our member needs are heard and appreciated. We also know that we are in a very competitive space where we need to be transforming and reinventing ourselves as member needs change. We’re always quick to introduce new products and services that help simplify the lives of our members.”
Valley First is active in the community and is well-known to many citizens as a result of its Feed the Valley program.
“We are extremely proud of our Feed the Valley program which is an innovative community partnership aimed at tackling hunger in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys.”
Designed to raise food, funds and awareness for local food banks, Feed the Valley was developed as a community investment program by Valley First. Feed the Valley has raised $1,746,000 and collected 81,000 pounds of food since its launch in March 2010.
Details about the Feed the Valley initiative have quickly spread and the program now includes other partners committed to reducing hunger in the region.
Also, in 2017, the First West Foundation, through its Valley First Community Endowment, distributed 13 grants totalling $108,260 throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions. Funding from the Valley First Community Endowment supports programs that create resilient and resourceful communities with a focus on enhancing food security.
“We are continuously looking for ways to partner with local non-profits and invest in our own backyard not only financially, but through our time and talents as well.
“As a division of First West Credit Union, we have a competitive advantage that benefits our members in a variety of ways. By the nature of our model, we’re able to provide members with the financial capability and strength of a large organization while maintaining strong local connections and decision making through our local brands.”