Western Financial Group's Bank West Passes $100 Million Milestone
WESTERN FINANCIAL GROUP’S BANK WEST
PASSES $100 MILLION MILESTONE
High River, Alberta – March 30, 2006 (TSX – WES, WES.DB.A) - Western Financial Group (“the Company”) announced today that its subsidiary, Bank West (“the Bank”) has surpassed $100 million in total outstanding loan balances as of March 2006. The loan portfolio was built over a three year time frame, as was originally projected when Bank West was first launched.
“The $100 million mark is very significant for us. It was the initial target level at which we felt the Bank could be viable,” said Scott Tannas, Chairman of Bank West. “The fact that the Bank has achieved this in the projected time frame is an important validation of our strategy. We now have a sizeable portfolio, completion of amortization costs of the Bank from start-up, unallocated loss provisions of over $700,000 already set aside, and a competent and already-seasoned core group of employees in place. In fact, all the pieces we need to grow the Bank profitably going forward,” he said.
Bank West has received strong support from WFG Agency Network offices, primarily through financing of insurance policy premiums, and from the communities in which the Network operates. The majority of individual loan transactions are with WFG Agency Network customers and approximately three quarters of the total loan portfolio originates in Western Financial Group communities.
Bank West is a Schedule 1 chartered bank that commenced operations on January 30, 2003. Bank West’s current product range includes consumer lending, commercial equipment financing (loans and leases), residential mortgage lending and dealership financing (financing conditional sales agreements referred by automobile, recreational vehicle and marine dealerships). The Bank’s loan portfolio has grown at a average rate of $4+ million per month in recent quarters.
Bank West is a subsidiary of Western Financial Group, one of the leading western-based financial service companies in Western Canada. With offices in towns and small cities across the West, the Company provides more than 250,000 customers with insurance, investment and banking products through WFG Agency Network, Western Life, and Bank West.
For further information, please contact:
Jodi Greig, Corporate Communications Manager
Western Financial Group