First Nations Bank looking for opportunity in Kivalliq
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Senior vice-president Angelo Torchia and senior account manager Larry Favreau arrived in Rankin for the Kivalliq Trade Show before heading to meetings in Repulse Bay and Baker Lake.
While bad weather may have delayed their arrival in the region, it did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.
Torchia said he was looking forward to meeting with clients in Repulse and Baker, and getting the chance to look at other potential business opportunities.
"It's my first visit to the region, so it gives me an opportunity to see the communities, assess what's there, and look for future business opportunities for the commercial and retail side of the bank's operations," said Torchia.
"I'm really quite excited about this trip."
The First Nations Bank has a branch in Iqaluit and is looking to expand its services.
Torchia said part of his mandate as regional vice-president is to explore areas in the Kivalliq that may be of interest to the bank, and report his findings to chief executive officer Keith Martell.
He said the bank is looking at ways it can become more active in the Kivalliq.
"We have a fully-functional website which provides a look at our various services, but we don't do Internet banking quite yet.
"If someone would like to bank with us, they can speak to our regional office in Iqaluit or call us in Winnipeg and do most of the bank applications over the phone."
Torchia said the First Nations Bank is more focused on business clients in the Kivalliq at this time.
But he said it can't lose sight of the individual retail side of the business because that's important, too.
"A larger focus is definitely on business relationships right now.
"But, we are looking to expand in the Kivalliq and we hope to, eventually, be able to provide affordable services to the communities.
"We understand there are high-priced banking relations right now, but we hope to work towards getting low-cost banking in some agencies we may be pursuing."
Torchia said he wants Kivalliqmiut to know the First Nations Bank is 80 per cent aboriginally owned.
He said it's a bank run by aboriginal groups, with the Atuqtuarvik Corp. being a 17 per cent stakeholder.
"The bank is actually now part of the Inuit group and culture.
"This is a chance for people to educate us and offer advice on how to make this bank successful in Nunavut.
"We need them to tell us what services and areas they want us to focus on.
"We're a growing and developing bank and, with input from the communities, we will be that much more of a success here."
Torchia said the mining industry is growing at the same time the bank is looking to expand in Nunavut.
And, he said, the bank would love to get its share of the mining business.
"I'd say it's a happy coincidence that we're looking to expand in this territory at the same time business seems to be booming.
"So it's a good place to be, and I'm quite impressed with what I've seen so far."