WINNIPEG, Jan 3, 2014/ Troy Media/ – There has always been this big bulge in Manitoba’s population graphs that reflects so-called baby boomers. During the 1960s most of the people in Canada were under 25, and now they are approaching old age and carrying their bulging numbers with them.
The only thing comparable is the huge bulge we have today which reflects the huge increase in our native population.
Those 60s baby boomers have dominated our music and culture (why do you think we are still listening to the Rolling Stones and guys like Paul McCartney fill our stadiums with parents, grandparents and grandchildren?)
But for a long time, there was little hope these “hippies” would amount to anything, especially in business. They dressed funny, their music was strange and they had long hair.
Flash forward and those hippies, like Steven Jobs, have become the tycoons of industry and technology.
And, according to Keith Martell, the Chief Executive Officer of the First Nations Bank of Canada, this is exactly what is going to happen to the huge group of First Nations people who are under 25 right now but will carry a huge bulge in our population graphs for years to come.
The First Nations Bank was established to loan money to First Nations people, mostly commercial investments, but also mortgages and other loans like banks do. The Bank has completed 12 straight years of profitable operations and now has assets of $300 million dollars (audited financial statements are published annually).
You don’t have that kind of success rate unless you are dealing with corporations that are managed competently by hard-working people who are marketing goods and services to ready markets that are expanding. And that is the hugely growing demographic of First Nations people which is exceeding all other growth by far, and is primarily a younger group.
First Nations Bank is primarily owned and operated by First Nations people. This could be one of the major factors in their success.
“The Aboriginal Capital Corporation that started the Bank took over a First Nations loan program which was administered by the Federal government which had an 80 per cent failure rate and brought that rate down to 1.5 per cent,” says Martell. “First Nations Bank has since built on that success and experience and should convince First Nations and all Canadians to take a look at us and bring their banking business to First Nations Bank of Canada.”
There’s a big boom happening and First Nations bank is cashing in on it. Martell is inviting all Canadians to get involved and they might be wise to do so.
First Nations Bank Senior Commercial Accounts Manager Tom Thordarson says he is sick of reading “negative stories” about First Nations people. Thordarson, from Peguis First Nation, is married with one child, lives in the suburb of West Kildonan in Winnipeg, loves taking holidays in the Dominican Republic and joining his neighbours in supporting the Jets and the Bombers. So much for comparing First Nations people with their long hair, different clothes and music with the 60s baby boomer hippies of yesteryear. Just like their Caucasian brothers and sisters of the same era that I mentioned previously, there is a lot of smarts and creativity around which spells success if it is combined with opportunity.
Thordarson and Martell have accounting and business degrees up the ying yang. They are ignoring the stereotypes and looking at the facts.
And business is booming.
Troy Media’s Eye on Manitoba columnist Don Marks is a Winnipeg-based writer.
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