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Visioning a Banking Entity

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FALL 2001      v30 n03 p14  
Established in 1997, the First Nations Bank of Canada became part of the Canadian banking industry in partnership with the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank). The realization of achieving this dream was a challenging task for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation Inc.

Now in existence for 3 years, as a scheduled 11 chartered bank, the transformation of excellent and efficient investment and corporate structures in place has provided new lone-term manning in management, operating and expansion.

As a new competitor, the First Nations Bank of Canada will be focused on attracting increased clientele and shareholding both from the First Nation and non-First Nation market. The globalization of aboriginal based economies is changing rapidly and improving the relationships between First Nation business ventures and opportunities with private, corporate and government interests.

Keith Martell was part of the initial planning and development stages of FN Bank. What role has the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) provided and invested in their 10-year partnership with FN Bank? "The TD not only invested equity into the Bank but they committed to ensuring that we continue to move toward being a self-sufficient financial institution. Like all partnerships, things do not always go as planned, but I do believe our strategic alliance with the TD was the right decision," says Martell.

Self-sufficiency of Aboriginal people is a goal that the First Nation Bank was established to serve.”

- Keith Martell, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Senior Official Fiscal Relations

The present Board of Directors is made up of a unique team who maintain significant roles in Indian Government and the corporate banking community.

Keith Martell, Chairman of the Board Directors and Senior Official Fiscal Relations FSIN
Matthew Coon Come, Director/National Chief AFN
Duncan Gibson, Director/TD Vice-Chairman Commercial Banking
Urban Joseph, Director/Executive
Christopher Dyrda, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking
David Ross, President and Chief Operating Officer
Marv Tiller, Director/President & CEO/Tribal Council Investments Group of Manitoba
Mark Wedge, Consultant

The existing Board of Directors are from diverse professional and geographical areas of Canada; do you consider these appointments as significant undertakings and if so, what are the benefits? "The quality of the governance and guidance of a Board of Directors is critical to any institution. The First Nation Bank of Canada needed directors to meet the requirements of financial service regulators, to ensure the Bank performed the controls and management practices to protect the assets of our customers.

We also displayed the guidance to assure our customer's needs were met, primarily Aboriginal Canadians," said Keith Martell.

Today, there are currently three branches operating at a national scale based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Walpole Island, Ontario and Chisasibi, Quebec along with two offices located in Vancouver and Toronto. The impact of economic benefits reach beyond the corporate sector of banking in terms of employment, business volume and financial services projected on a yearly basis.

Having stable stakeholders by Canada's First Nation communities contribute to the successful and maximized spin-offs, generated by FN Bank professional business practices and programs. As a result of these viable networks and global trends, the cap


Visioning a Banking Entity

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FALL 2001      v30 n03 p18  

ital shareholding investments are being reallocated back to the grassroots economy in a productive and meaningful process.

How does the First Nation Bank Executive, view Saskatchewan First Nation grassroots and urban youth as tomorrow's public and private entrepreneurs? "Self-sufficiency of Aboriginal people is a goal that the First Nation Bank was established to serve. First Nation youth will be a significant force in Canada. They will represent larger and larger percentages of the work force and they will have more influence over political, business and social developments," emphasized Keith Martell.

The First Nation Bank of Canada is dedicated and committed to enrich the changes of long-term economic growth for First Nation Government and business venture partnerships. Has the First Nation Bank received any awards in terms of national and provincial business growth and achievement?

"The First Nations Bank of Canada received a 2001 SABEX Award from the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce for Growth and Expansion. We achieved more major shareholders from First Nations in Manitoba, Quebec and the Yukon in the last year. They assessed the existing operations and future potential of the institution and invested significant resources to the First Nations Bank," expressed Chairman Martell.

Introducing alternative banking was a concept that was non-existent to First Nation people not long ago, but with self-determination and spirit of corporate vision, allowed the First Nation Bank to become a new leader in the Canadian banking industry.

Keith was honored to address; " others are sharing this same vision created by the First Nations of Saskatchewan." First Nation Bank has come along way since 1997. We look forward to their future success and accomplishments in Canada's competitive banking industry.