Magazine article American Banker

Canadian Banks Courting Eskimo, Indian Business

Magazine article American Banker

Canadian Banks Courting Eskimo, Indian Business

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canadian banks are busy wooing indigenous people who stand to reap a multibillion-dollar windfall from settlement of land claims against the government.

The Bank of Montreal estimates that by the end of the decade. one million natives will own or control one-third of the Canadian landmass and will have received compensation of at least $4.7 billion in U.S.-dollar terms.

Late last year, Canada's Inuit -- the preferred term for Eskimos -- approved a historic landclaims accord that will make them the world's largest private landlords and create a vast northern homeland five times the size of California.

Increase in Hiring

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has announced plans to raise the proportion of natives in its work force to 2.1% within five years from 1.1% now and 0.6% in 1990.

The Bank of Nova Scotia, which has a work force 1.4% native, said it also plans to raise that figure.

Spokeswoman Shelley Jourard said Scotiabank recently held a series of investment seminars for natives in western Canada, home to most of the unsettled land claims. "We suspect they're going to need investment management services and we hope to be the bank to provide those services," she said.

|Aggressive Target'

The Bank of Montreal said it planned to increase its percentage of native workers to nearly 2% from 0.6% within two years.

"We're intending in rough numbers to triple our current aboriginal employment numbers from today's 150 to 450 or 500 in the next 30 months. It's an aggressive target," Ron Jamieson said.

Mr. Jamieson, a 44-year-old Mohawk Indian, was hired last September as the Bank of Montreal's vice president of aboriginal banking. …

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