Island Savings

Our History

Established in Duncan in 1951, the Island Savings division of First West Credit Union offers a complete range of products and services including banking, investment advice, insurance and lending for both personal and business members.


When Island Savings began in the early fifties, it was a time of optimism and prosperity. The economy was moving out of the war years and there was a renewed enthusiasm for the future. People lived in close-knit communities and merchants knew their neighbours and customers, often anticipating the products and services their customers needed. Since then, Island Savings has grown to become the Islands' most recommended banking experience because of our commitment to our members and communities.

  • 1951 Duncan & District Credit Union forms on March 9, 1951. The first office is established in the basement of the first employee's home. First President: Mr. W.R. Barker.
  • 1955 Duncan & District Credit Union moves to its first office at 91 Ingram Street. Membership at 812. Total assets $250,000.
  • 1963 Assets pass the $1 million dollar mark.
  • 1970 Merge with Crofton Credit Union.
  • 1971 Merge with Cobble Hill Credit Union to form our Mill Bay Branch.
  • 1975 Salt Spring Island residents approach our Board of Directors and request a branch on Salt Spring Island.
  • 1977 Duncan branch on Evans/Canada Ave is opened.
  • 1981 Membership reaches 12,280. Assets of $46.7 million and a permanent staff of 41. Commercial loan department is added.
  • 1982 Membership votes to change the name from Duncan & District Credit Union to Island Savings Credit Union, to more aptly describe the geographic service area. New logo adopted.
  • 1983 Island Savings Insurance Services opens its first office in the Duncan branch.
  • 1984 Island Savings merges with Woodworkers Saving Credit Union to form the Victoria branch. Insurance subsidiary expands to Victoria with acquisition of the former Mayfair Insurance Agencies Ltd., and the Victoria branch moves to Mayfair Mall, Victoria's largest shopping centre. Annuity services expand, giving members with RSP funds the option of setting up a retirement income through the different annuity plans available. Owner's Equity mortgage program introduced, providing a unique advantage for members who have built equity in their home. Now known as the Umbrella Mortgage, homeowners access a line of credit for up to 80% of the value of a home. Introduce 24-hour banking through the Exchange Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) Network.
  • 1987 Insurance Services opens on Salt Spring Island through the acquisition of the operations of Gulf Islands Insurance Agency.
  • 1988 Acquisition of Whittome group of companies, which increases insurance portfolio to include Chemainus and Mill Bay.
  • 1992 Opening of the new Admin building in Duncan, adjacent to the credit union branch. The new building provides areas for administration staff, staff training, retail insurance and central clearings.
  • 1994 Salt Spring Island branch moves to its current location. Pam Marchant joins as CEO. $300 million in assets. MemberLink telephone banking offered, giving members access to their accounts 24 hours a day. Members can verify balances, transfer funds, pay bills, and check current interest rates from the convenience of home or office.
  • 1996 Open first full-service branch north of Duncan in Ladysmith’s Coronation Mall. First credit union on Vancouver Island to offer full financial planning and range of investment options through the brokerage services of Credential Securities, a joint venture between Canadian credit unions & Midland Walwyn.
  • 1998 Cedar Branch & Insurance office open. Embark on Y2K readiness—establish project team to examine, test and fine tune to ensure the viability of information systems.
  • 2000 New vision for Island Savings: to be the best place to bank and to work in our trade area. To be the local financial institution of choice by providing superior service, member-friendly delivery systems and a vibrant work environment. Brentwood Branch opens.
  • 2001 Island Savings celebrates 50 years of serving residents of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Assets at $500 million, making Island Savings one of the top 10 credit unions in the province. MemberDirect Online Banking is introduced, providing members with greater access to their accounts. Members embrace the new technology quickly, with 20% of members using this new service in its first year.
  • 2002 Conversion to new banking system. The new system further enhances service levels by providing a more personal approach to member service. Enables us to evaluate our members' financial picture and proactively provide services based on a better understanding of our members’ needs. Canadian Centre for Philanthropy recognizes Island Savings as an Imagine Caring Company, reflecting our level of commitment to the communities we serve. Recognized as one of the Top 25 places to work in BC by BC Business Magazine and Watson Wyatt.
  • 2003 Island Savings becomes one of the largest commercial lenders to small- and medium-size companies on Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. The commercial lending division grows significantly, providing $125 million in financing to local businesses and projects. Partner with ten credit unions, Community Futures Development Corporation & Western Economic Diversification to launch a new initiative: "Growth Start," which provides an innovative source of funding to assist small business in local communities. Recognized as one of the Top 25 places to work in BC by BC Business Magazine and Watson Wyatt (2nd year in a row).
  • 2004 Chemainus & West Shore branches open. Members able to access Exchange ATMs with no network or surcharge fees, giving access to almost 50,000 ATMs in North America. Lake Cowichan & District Credit Union merges with Island Savings. Recognized as one of the Top 25 (ranked 6th) places to work in B.C. by BC Business Magazine and Watson Wyatt (for the 3rd year).
  • 2005 Island Savings is a billion dollar company. Full-service financial branch opens in Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo. Recognized for the fourth year in a row as Top 25 Companies to work for in B.C. by BC Business Magazine and Watson Wyatt. Recognized by Maclean’s Magazine as Top 20 Employer in B.C. and Top 200 Employer in Canada. CEO Awarded Women of Distinction Award for Workplace Leadership. Winner of Ethics in Actions Community Care Award.
  • 2006 Assets under administration exceed $1.3 billion. Recognized by Maclean’s Magazine as Top 20 Employer in the province. Recognized as one of the 25 fastest growing businesses on Vancouver Island, in terms of both employee and financial growth. 350 employees.
  • 2007 Rod Dewar joins as in June. Flagship branch opens at Douglas & Broughton intersection in downtown Victoria. The state-of-the-art branch features full financial services, including a dedicated business banking area. 40,000 members and counting.
  • 2008 Island Savings is the first Island-based financial institution to offer mobile banking. Membership grows by 6%. "Road to Beijing" campaign wins multiple awards.
  • 2009 Cowichan Commons opens as a full-service financial and insurance branch: it is our second branch in Duncan. Our new is launched, which includes partnerships with BC Cancer Foundation's Inspire the World Campaign, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria, and the Victoria Foundation.
  • 2010 Island Savings is recognized as one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Maclean's Magazine. 57,000 members and counting.
  • 2011 Island Savings receives the Corporate Responsibility Award from the Canadian Association of Gift Planners and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. For the second year in a row, Island Savings is named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada.
  • 2014 Island Savings members vote in favour of becoming a division of First West Credit Union.

Today, Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, has 16 branches across the Islands, led by President Randy Bertsch. Visit the First West website to learn more about our corporate structure.

First West Credit Union is led by Launi Skinner. Learn more about Launi.