JUNE 10, 2023

Discover what it’s like working at First West through the experiences of our employees! Elaine Toms gives you a peek behind the member service curtain.

I’ve lived in Nanaimo my whole life. Here’s a fun local fact: Haslam Road and Haslam Creek are named after my mom’s family, which is a pretty cool legacy! I’ve been a Member Advisor with Island Savings for 17 years—since the opening of our Woodgrove location, and Here’s what a typical day looks like:

8:30 AM Before our doors are open, we’re going through opening processes and ensuring everything from overnight is balanced. Sometimes, I get to have a little fun and become the “branch detective” when there’s some problem-solving to be done, it seems to be “my thing.” Who knew?!
9:30 AM The first members of the day arrive. At Woodgrove, we like to refer to our Member Advisors as “the face of the branch.” We’re the first point of contact and it’s our job to make a great impression.
10:00 AM Training time with a new colleague. It’s always a privilege to watch a new team member grow and progress in their credit union career. By helping to coach, I feel like I make a difference in the success of our team and our members.
11:00 AM Open a new junior membership. It’s always exciting to welcome kids to the credit union and follow their life into young adulthood—and eventually refer them on to our Senior Financial Advisors to purchase their first car or their first home! I’ve helped members establish savings plans that set them up for financial success in the future. Seeing their excitement when they achieve these huge milestones is by far one of the many highlights of my job.
11:30 AM We make time for a mix of Member Advisor activities in the day! A large percentage of our day is seeing members who visit for payroll deposits, cash withdrawals, bill payments, business deposits and even the odd wire transfer. We know our “regulars” by name and hardly a day passes when I don’t celebrate an exciting moment in a member’s life. Like, ordering foreign cash for a bucket-list vacation, depositing a financial graduation gift, a name change because of a new marriage or seeing an expecting mom one day and then a week later with a baby in their arms. These events are a highlight in my day—and another opportunity to help with a referral for a financial review to take in all the major life changes.
1:00 PM Meet with a booked appointment to help a member starting their new business.
1:45 PM The same booked appointment decides to apply for a line of credit. I help them complete their application and discuss their investment options now that many things in their life are changing. Before they go, I help them learn more about online banking so that they can manage all their new accounts efficiently.
2:00 PM Booked appointment number two arrives: a family setting up an RESP for their toddler and adding an auto-deposit to mom’s and dad’s RRSP.
3:00 PM Time to get on the phone and check-in with some of our members who have terms coming due or other important dates coming up. I also set aside from time to regroup for some additional training with our Member Advisor trainee and complete reports needed by my Branch Manager.
4:30 PM The end of the day is near and it’s time to begin balancing the cash for the branch. I love having this break in the day, the last half hour flies by as I process all the branch transactions for the day and have a celebratory mini-cheer with my team when we balance—woot!

Phew! What I love about my role as a Member Advisor is that there’s always great diversity in the requests we receive in a day; no day is ever the same as the next. While it can be a roller coaster of tasks, when you adapt and go with the flow, it’s really enjoyable to support our members and colleagues. The teamwork between every role in a branch is how we thrive together.

If you’re interested in a career that gives you the opportunity to lead, see what is available right now!

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