Government of Canada Partners With Assiniboine Credit Union to Improve Financing for First Nation Businesses in Manitoba
Ottawa, Ontario –(April 24, 2009) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced an innovative partnership with Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU) in Manitoba to provide debt financing to First Nation businesses with assets on a reserve.”The Government of Canada is working with financial institutions across the country to address some of the long-standing barriers to the growth and competitiveness of First Nation businesses,” said Minister Strahl. “I would like to commend Assiniboine Credit Union for its participation in this unique initiative and for its shared commitment to Aboriginal economic development.”
Under the arrangement, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) will provide $2.8 million to establish a loan loss reserve fund with Assiniboine Credit Union. The reserve fund will be used by financial institutions as collateral to finance loans to medium and large First Nation businesses in Manitoba with the assets needed to secure the loan located on a reserve.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with INAC for this program because it’s such a perfect fit with everything we do and everything we believe,” said ACU President Al Morin. “We appreciate that INAC recognized that we have extensive experience in Aboriginal communities, that we are the experts in Manitoba on small business, and that our commitment to building self-reliant and sustainable communities is at the core of our corporate mission.”
INAC’s pilot Loan Loss Reserve Initiative will make First Nation businesses more competitive by addressing certain historical impediments to debt financing, including provisions in the Indian Act that prohibit the use of reserve land as collateral. The reserve fund works by offsetting a portion of the lender’s potential losses on loans to First Nation businesses.
Assiniboine Credit Union is Manitoba’s largest credit union with over 108,000 members, nearly 600 employees and 25 branches located in Winnipeg, Thompson and Gillam. Its mission is to be a socially responsible and profitable financial co-operative that provides accessible financial services for the well being of its members, employees and community. It offers fair and meaningful employment in a safe and respectful workplace and builds partnerships that foster self-reliant, sustainable communities.
Through the Loan Loss Reserve Initiative and other Aboriginal economic development measures, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its continued commitment to increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian economy.
This release is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca
For more information, please contact
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
Nina Chiarelli, Press Secretary
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Assiniboine Credit Union
VP Marketing and Communications