March 3rd, 2024

First Nation-led financing model hits $2B in effort to close infrastructure gap

By The Canadian Press on January 23, 2024.

A First Nation-led financing model has reached $2 billion in loans issued as it works to close an economic and infrastructure gap between member nations and the rest of Canada. Shareholders attend Clearwater Seafood's annual meeting in Halifax, Tuesday, May 15, 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A First Nation-led financing model has reached $2 billion in loans issued as it works to close the economic and infrastructure gap between member nations and the rest of Canada.

The First Nation Finance Authority is crossing the lending threshold a decade after issuing its first debenture – a type of long-term loan that isn’t backed by collateral.

The not-for-profit FNFA pools resources of member nations into a scale that allows it to offer discounted interest rates to borrowers, similar to what’s accessible to municipal or provincial governments.

Ernie Daniels, chief executive of FNFA, says in a release that the institution’s re-lending rate is 2.92 per cent below bank prime rates, allowing members to build much needed infrastructure.

The latest debenture, its tenth so far, will go towards building housing in Cook’s Ferry, B.C., the construction of a grocery store in Glooscap, N.S. and a wastewater treatment plant upgrade in Mississaugas of Scugog Island, Ont.

The FNFA says lending since 2014 has helped create almost 20,000 jobs, including through its help in funding the Mi’kmaw First Nations’ acquisition, in partnership with Premium Brands, of Clearwater Seafoods in 2020.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2024.

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