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Credit Union moves to former RBC branch in Lake Cowichan – Cowichan Valley Citizen


After more than 60 years serving members of the 38 King George Street branch, Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, reaffirms its commitment to the Lake Cowichan community by moving the branch operations to a new location central.

In the spring of 2022, the credit union will open at 75 Cowichan Lake Road, the current site of the RBC branch which is expected to close later this year.

“For decades, we have strived to meet the financial needs of the members of Lake Cowichan and the surrounding area and we are delighted to reaffirm our commitment to this community with our new location,” said Kendall Gross, President of Island Savings.

“Our continued presence in this close-knit island community and others is a testament to the financial strength of our organization. As we have continued to experience healthy growth, we have provided our members with better access to the products and services they need while maintaining our credit union values, our local knowledge and our member-centered approach to to do business.

The current location of the Island Savings branch was originally the Lake Cowichan Credit Union which opened in September 1959.

When the two credit unions merged in 2005, Island Savings continued to support local nonprofits.

This year, the credit union contributed more than $ 27,500 to local charities through programs such as The Full Cupboard, Simple Generosity and the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, facilitated by the First West Foundation.

The operations of the Lake Cowichan branch are led by branch manager James Funfer, who took office in July of this year.

Funfer, who first joined Island Savings in 2013, has held a number of member support positions and spent six years as a member of the Credit Union’s Learning and Development team.

“It’s wonderful to be back in the community of Lake Cowichan, which offers a unique blend of small town charm and local natural splendor,” said Funfer, who spent time in the area as a youth.

“I look forward to continuing the incredible work our branch has done to support members and community partners in our new central location.

Funfer is the past chair of the First West Young Leaders Committee, which supports the development of leaders aged 40 and under within First West Credit Union.

He is also a strong supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley, where he volunteers as Big Brother and for events such as Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

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