SASKATOON – The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and the First Nations Bank of Canada (FNBC) have announced a $100 million loan participation agreement to enable infrastructure in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

Enabling infrastructure can include site work, roadwork, water and wastewater management and utility connections, and is needed to support economic and community growth through residential, commercial or industrial developments, a CIB release said.

“This new loan program will make infrastructure projects in Indigenous Nations and communities more affordable and allow for more opportunities to develop Indigenous-owned lands. By partnering with CIB, we can leverage our expertise in working with Indigenous communities and support new projects in a way we have not seen before,” FNBC president and CEO Bill Lomax said in a statement.

Indigenous communities’ limited access to affordable capital at flexible terms can constrain, impede or stop the achievement of community development projects, the release said. They will now have access to affordable and flexible financing to unlock enabling infrastructure development that can support improved living conditions, new economic opportunities and housing.

“This first-of-its-kind loan product with FNBC catalyzes innovation in the financial services sector and in the Indigenous market. Through this investment, Indigenous communities will work with FNBC to access critical financing to develop much-needed infrastructure in their communities and advance socio-economic reconciliation,” CIB CEO Ehren Cory added.

The FNBC will provide concurrent project lending. It is the largest Indigenous-owned and -led financial institution in Canada. More than 70 per cent of FNBC’s employees are Indigenous, and Indigenous clients comprise 90 per cent of its loan portfolio, the release said.

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