The First Nations Bank of Canada will open a branch in Yellowknife this fall.

The bank made the announcement today in the N.W.T. capital.

mi-keith-martell-first-nations-bank

Keith Martell, CEO of the First Nations Bank of Canada, says the bank is opening a branch in Yellowknife because of the large aboriginal population and resource development in the region. (CBC)

CEO Keith Martell said the bank is coming to Yellowknife because of the large aboriginal population and resource development in the region.

The First Nations Bank of Canada is 80 per cent owned by aboriginal shareholders from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec. It offers banking services to aboriginal and non-aboriginal people, corporations and governments.

"People always ask why do First Nations or aboriginal people need their own bank," Martell said. "When we started the bank in 1996, we started to see a lot of aboriginal people participating in the market, a lot of land settlements, resource developments and a lot of the other banks didn't focus on the market."

The Gwich'in Tribal Council is a seven per cent shareholder in the bank. Council member Fred Koe joined the bank's board of directors Thursday.

The bank announced more than a year ago it plans to open three more small market branches in Nunavut in addition to its branch in Iqaluit, but Martell said he still can't release the names of the communities yet.

The bank also has branches in Saskatoon; Chisasibi, Que.; Walpole Island, Ont.; Winnipeg; Meadow Lake, Sask.; and Whitehorse.