A Banker By Vocation, A Sportsman By Avocation


Surrey’s Tarlochan “Tochi” Sandhu is celebrating fifteen years of service with Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union.

Sandhu, a veritable banking legend, is also an international field hockey star, recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and model citizen. At age 75, he shows no signs of slowing as he continues his spotless lending record—the envy of any financial institution—while overseeing growth as Envision Financial’s director of commercial business development.

He was born in Dar Es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania, Africa, to parents of Indian descent. His father, an accountant, sent him to India to study economics at age 17. In 1988, he and his family had immigrated to Canada. Since he speaks five languages, including English, he quickly settled in his newly adopted country. By 1990, he had accepted the position of the CEO of Khalsa Credit Union, and under his leadership, the small financial institution experienced substantial growth. Although he had retired from his role at Khalsa in 2000, Tochi’s love for banking was irrepressible, and by 2001 he had joined the team of commercial lenders at Envision Credit Union.

But Tochi’s entrance into the banking world came through a more unlikely channel—a field hockey match.

While playing top-level competitive field hockey in Tanzania on his summer study break, he netted a hat-trick against a team from Barclays Bank. The next day, one of the Barclays Bank managers approached Tochi’s father.

“He said to my father, ‘We want that boy working for us,’ ” explains Tochi with a laugh. “So I began working for Barclays over the summer holidays and started learning as much as I could.” Tochi’s employer enabled him to combine his newfound passion for banking with his sporting pursuits, and as a young man, he captained Tanzania’s national field hockey team. Later he became coach of the team and represented Tanzania at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Tochi returned to the world stage as a team official at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and again at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. He was also a member of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Finance Committee and attended the Games at Edmonton in 1978 and Edinburgh, Scotland in 1986. Tochi also served for many years as the Treasurer for both the Tanzania Olympic Committee and the African Hockey Federation.

At Barclays, he quickly learned that he loved banking.

“I guess banking is in my blood,” he jokes. “As a young banker, I was taught to lend money as though it came from my own pocket. Today, it’s still the same—I get to help people through banking and have never had a single write-off in my life and any bad debts—I simply get to watch my members rise and grow and become more successful.”

“I don’t play field hockey anymore,” says Tochi, “But I’m still a very keen sportsman. I’m a big fan of the Vancouver Canucks and the B.C. Lions.”

Sandhu’s sterling work as a lender with $700 million in lending and a spotless credit record, has won him Envision Financial’s Top Commercial Lender award for more than ten years running. He was honored recently with the President’s Leadership Award, which has been renamed to the President’s Tochi Sandhu Leadership Award. Sandhu is humble about his lifetime of accomplishments, which include an encounter with Mother Theresa; multiple appearances at the Olympics; and recognition from the British Columbia Regiment for his support of the 2015 Battlefield Studies Tour. Such recognition enabled serving members of the regiment to visit and pay tribute at battlefields where former members of the regiment gave their lives in service to Canada.

Not only is Sandhu well-known globally, but he’s also recognized as an individual who has made many significant contributions to the credit union movement in British Columbia, and has helped economically strengthen communities throughout the Lower Mainland, particularly Delta and Surrey. Over the span of his fifteen years with Envision Financial, he’s had a tremendous influence on the development of the communities in which Envision Financial serves by providing financial support and expert advice to new and existing business owners.

“I have been very blessed,” he says with a smile. “I enjoy banking and these fifty years have gone by quickly. By the grace of God, I’ll continue doing whatever good I can for others, and banking will always be part of my life.”

About Envision Financial
Envision Financial is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses throughout the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland, and Kitimat regions. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union with fifty-four branches and thirty-eight insurance offices throughout the province, Envision Financial brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience.

Visit envisionfinancial.ca for more information.

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