For the past five years, Amar Sidhu, regional manager of commercial banking for Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, has been entrusted with leading the credit union’s largest asset base in the Surrey and Delta region. There is no end as to how far he’ll go to help local businesses succeed.
Sidhu, a young business banking professional, has over 14 years’ experience in financial services, coupled with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, a Post Diploma in Business Administration and a Lean Green Belt. “In my family, politics was always a passion that we had many spirited discussions about,” says Sidhu. “I was initially considering becoming a lawyer or entering politics, but I also always had a keen interest in business,” Sidhu explains.
After receiving an offer to work on the front line as a sales and service advisor with Canadian Western Bank in 2003, Sidhu saw an opportunity to grow his career. “It was during those next nine years that I learned a large part of what I know today,” says Sidhu. “I quickly advanced to credit officer, then account manager and then manager of commercial banking in a new branch that had just opened in Abbotsford. I used every opportunity during this time to speak and truly listen to clients, to be able to understand the unique differences and complexities of their banking needs.”
When Envision Financial offered Sidhu an opportunity to lead their Surrey and Delta commercial team, he jumped at the chance to work for the local and community-focused organization he’d grown to know and trust. “Envision Financial has such deep ties to the community—always advocates for and builds strong relationships with members and enables local decision making. I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization that shares the same values as I do.”
As the son of immigrant parents, Sidhu was born and raised in Surrey—still his home to this day—where he resides with his beautiful wife, Baljit and their energetic two-year-old son, Nishaun. He’s humble about his childhood and contributes much of his success to lessons he learned from his mother and father and how they have both been a calming presence in his life. “My dad taught me the importance of hard work, honesty, integrity, education and that nothing in life is just given to you, you have to go out and get it, Sidhu says. “He also taught me how to be—and stay—humble,” he continues. “My mom is a determined and independent woman who taught me about profound caring, having empathy, showing sympathy, and giving back to the community.”
Beginning his journey with Envision Financial in his early thirties, Sidhu experienced a hurdle many young leaders face—managing employees that are older than him. Although this transition could have been difficult, Sidhu’s ability to stay true to himself and maintain his integrity, instilled by his parents at an early age, helped him quickly gain the respect of his team. “I always lead by example and make sure I’m the hardest working person on the team,” explains Sidhu. “I also show the team that I have their back—shoulder to shoulder—I’ll always be there to support. It’s a leadership quality I feel is sometimes underestimated, but it’s top of mind to me.”
When asked why he chose business banking as his niche, Sidhu explains, “It’s the diversity that I love; every business is unique, and they each have their original and inspiring story. I get the privilege of working with business members from all walks of life from many different industries,” Sidhu says. “There is nothing more uplifting or rewarding to me than to see the passion our members have for their business and getting to be a part of seeing that business grow and flourish.”
“Commercial banking is very entrepreneurial, so as a commercial banking team and as an organization we devotedly have invested interest in seeing our business members succeed,” says Sidhu. “We are here as trusted advisors to provide expert advice to ensure success—it doesn’t get better than that.”