November 18, 2018

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Bringing More Choice to Canada’s North: Bright Future for Better Financial Services

Bringing More Choice to Canada’s North: Bright Future for Better Financial Services

Agreement signed between First Nations Bank of Canada and Arctic Co-operatives Limited

SASKATOON – June 4, 2018: First Nations Bank of Canada (FNBC/Bank) and Arctic Co-operatives Limited (Arctic Co-ops) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at improving and expanding financial services for residents in Canada’s North.

FNBC Community Banking Centres began serving communities within Co-op facilities in Baker Lake and Pond Inlet, Nunavut in 2014. In 2015, Kugluktuk, Nunavut followed suit. The MOU will see an expansion to five more under-served Northern communities in the near future.

“Our Bank was created to primarily serve Indigenous Peoples which results in a focus on serving customers in remote and northern parts of Canada. We hope to continue empowering people with an approach that expands the quality and variety of financial services offered to people in the Arctic.” said FNBC CEO, Keith Martell. “This strategic partnership is good news for our customers.”

“Co-ops and communities have declared a need for better access, options and education around financial services. People want good options to choose from, and they deserve that.” Rod Wilson, CEO of Arctic Co-ops pointed out. “Cooperation is what we do best; it is how locally owned Co-ops have been able to continue expanding the services they offer in communities of all sizes. By partnering with FNBC, we have the leadership and expertise of two Indigenous and Inuit owned organizations committed to training local employees, delivering quality services and promoting empowerment and education.”

Under the MOU, Arctic Co-ops will assist the Bank in its expansion plans to serve other communities. Such expansions include Community Banking Centres, electronic and telephone access, and regular community visits by personal and commercial financial experts from FNBC. Services will be tailored to the needs and desires of individual communities. FNBC will also work with Arctic Co-ops to offer financial literacy and training programs in markets served by Co-ops in the Arctic.

The Bank plans to open new Community Banking Centres at local Co-ops in Pangnirtung (currently under construction) and in Arviat, Nunavut over the next two years. Another centre is in the works for Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories and two more will be built in locations yet to be determined.

Arctic Co-ops will invest $1.25 million in FNBC shares (about three per cent of the total common shares) and will work with the Bank to recruit a director with appropriate experience and regional knowledge for the Bank’s board of directors.

The Indigenous-owned Canadian chartered bank currently offers financial services in five provinces and all three territories including business, commercial and institutional lending and deposits. In addition to Community Banking Centres in the North it also has full-service branches in Whitehorse, Yukon, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and Iqaluit, Nunavut. 2

About the partners:

First Nations Bank of Canada

First Nations Bank of Canada is a competitive, capable, service-oriented provider of financial services. More than 80 per cent of the bank is owned by Indigenous shareholders. FNBC’s focus is the Indigenous market in Canada, and it is a leader in the provision of financial services to Indigenous people, advocating for the growth of the Indigenous economy and the economic well-being of Indigenous people. FNBC increases shareholder value by participating in and promoting development of the Aboriginal Economy.

Arctic Co-operatives Ltd.

The co-operatives in Canada’s North share a vison of people working together to improve their social and economic well-being. Arctic Co-operatives pursue this vision through democratically controlled co-operative businesses that operate on the values of fairness, equality, self-responsibility and mutual self-help. Our co-operatives believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

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