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Opinion: Facilitate real reconciliation through Indigenous financial institutions – Yahoo Finance

February 15, 202

A key obstacle to building economic prosperity in Canada’s Indigenous communities is lack of access to the financing needed to invest in public infrastructure, housing and economic development. Indigenous Services Canada and the Assembly of First Nations estimate the infrastructure deficit is on the order of $350 billion. But Indigenous access to market finance is roughly a tenth of what is available in the rest of Canada on a per capita basis.

Despite recent efforts by banks, credit unions and caisses populaires, access remains limited, especially relative to need. A main problem is the perception that lending to Indigenous people, businesses and organizations involves higher risk. In our view, that’s a misperception: Indigenous financial institutions have made billions of dollars of loans to Indigenous borrowers with few, if any, defaults.

These Indigenous-owned or -led financial institutions have developed strong ties to Indigenous communities and have innovated to address these obstacles. Two sets of Indigenous institutions stand out: the four that were established under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FNFMA) and the 58 that are members of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA).

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