Business man signing a contract

VersaBank is bringing back its Indigenous and remote community lending business, the London, Ont.-based chartered bank announced on Wednesday. 

Roland Bailey has been appointed as executive director, Indigenous Infrastructure Program, while Robert-Falcon Ouellette has been appointed executive director, Indigenous Housing Initiatives, to lead the infrastructure and home financing channels.

VersaBank ran an active lending business for Indigenous and remote communities in Canada from 1993 until 2008, providing hundreds of millions in financing for private and public infrastructure projects. In a release, VersaBank president and CEO David Taylor attributed the 2008 closure of that business to a shift in government sentiment.

“We are thrilled to be able to re-start this program, which, in addition to providing much-needed financing to support growth for this integral part of our country and economy, can be a meaningful contributor to the bank’s overall loan growth and continued growth in profitability,” added Taylor.

Bailey has spent most of his life in the Northwest Territories and has more than three decades of experience in business and with government, with a specific focus on infrastructure projects.

Ouellette is from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation and is a former Member of Parliament (2014-2018), during which time he served as the chair of Indigenous Caucus and was a member of the Standing Committee on Health and Finance.