First Nation Finance Authority National Developed from a First Nations led idea in 1992, the First Nation Finance Authority (FNFA) is an independent First Nation led non-for-profit corporation that provides First Nations with access to capital by pooling borrowing power, and issuing debentures, on the capital markets that are secured by the nation’s own source revenues. The FNFA then lends the capital generated by the debentures to those same First Nations at lower rates and with longer repayment terms than they could obtain elsewhere. Up until the Finance Authority came into existence, First Nations’ only source of getting capital was through the commercial process. Through the FNFA, First Nations can bypass the banks and create a preferred financial pathway. FNFA circles back to capital markets and raises money for First Nations governments to access long-term loans with preferable interest rates for essential infrastructure and economic development. Working cooperatively to establish a solid financial foundation is a strong motivator for FNFA. Since 2005, the organization has operated under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, Royal Assent by Parliament in 2006 with all government party support at the time. FNFA was created to provide First Nations governments with access to the same types of portable financing that all local and regional governments of Canada used to ensure quality of life for their citizens and to manage wealth. FNFA helps First Nation communities build their own futures on their own terms at the best rates possible.
“Having that access to capital is the key ingredient to economic growth” Ernie Daniels, President and CEO at FNFA. An article in The Globe and Mail, titled ‘A better way for Canada to bridge the infrastructure gap with First Nations’, wrote, “First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA) is doing its part to bridge the gap. Created by an Act of Parliament in 2005, FNFA just passed a historical milestone by breaking through the $1-billion mark in loans to First Nations to help finance economic and social development projects. A $250-million loan from FNFA to seven Mi’kmaq First Nations to purchase offshore fishing licenses is a crucial part of the $1-billion proposed acquisition of Nova Scotia’s Clearwater Seafoods announced earlier this month” (November 28, 2020). Ernie Daniels, President and CEO of FNFA notes an emerging trend, “We are seeing First Nations coming together as a group to take on equity in significantly bigger projects and are then able to acquire ventures like the landmark Clearwater deal of which FNFA was able to loan 250 million dollars to 7 First Nations in the Atlantic.” Noting that the Indigenous economy is heading in a positive direction, he continues, “We are seeing First Nations come together on a number of other initiatives too. We are seeing industry approaching First Nations about equity ownership into major projects, which is key to Indigenous economic growth. We need equity. Equity that will provide us with the long-term revenues that we [as First Nations] need to leverage financing to build our communities economically and socially.” These loans under the FNFA program, which are fully supported by First Nations’ own selfgenerated revenue streams, have created more than 10,000 jobs and improved the quality of life of communities and much more. FNFA recently earned an upgrade from the international credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service (May 2020), and was awarded the GovernorGeneral’s Award (2018) for financial innovation. This allows for more Indigenous economic opportunities and a positive impact on the Indigenous economy. FNFA is playing a critical role in the monetizing of Indigenous infrastructure and project development. This financial empowerment path FNFA is taking is Indigenomics in Action! The FNFA is key to financial growth of the emerging 100 billion dollar Indigenous economic target.