LONDON, ONTARIO/CNW/ VersaBank (TSX:VB) (“VersaBank” or the “Bank”) today announced the appointments of Roland Bailey as Executive Director, Indigenous Infrastructure Program and Robert-Falcon Ouellette as Executive Director, Indigenous Housing Initiatives, to lead the infrastructure and home financing channels, respectively, as VersaBank relaunches its Indigenous and Remote Community Lending business.
From its inception in 1993 until 2008, VersaBank had an active and very successful lending business focused on serving the unique needs of Indigenous and remote communities in Canada, and was, at one time, the largest lender to both. During this period, VersaBank provided hundreds of millions of dollars in financing for both private and public infrastructure projects, including schools, hospitals, seniors’ living facilities, water treatment facilities, clean energy, apartment buildings, recreational centres, and various small business projects to support entrepreneurial endeavours, among others.
“VersaBank has a very proud history of supporting the development and growth of Indigenous and remote communities in Canada, providing financing across a vast array of projects that have contributed to the betterment of the lives of the populations within these communities,” said David Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer, VersaBank. “Reconciliation in Canada is about action, which directly improves the lives of Indigenous Canadians. We were very disappointed when a shift in government sentiment in 2008 necessitated that we halt lending to that program. With the emergence of an encouraging environment and the federal government’s commitment to accelerating work to close infrastructure gaps and build healthier, safer, and more prosperous Indigenous communities, 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. We are especially thrilled to begin to offer home financing solutions, based on our new Instant Mortgage software application, focused on meeting the specific needs of Indigenous Canadians in both urban centres and northern communities, a group that historically has been woefully underserved by Canadian financial institutions.”
Mr. Taylor added, “We are privileged and proud to appoint each of these highly skilled and accomplished leaders, each of whom has dedicated their careers to improving the quality of life for Indigenous and Northern communities, to drive the success of these programs for both these communities and VersaBank. Dr. Ouellette is a highly focused and driven individual whose military background and political career uniquely position him to make tangible and meaningful contributions to our program. Mr. Bailey’s business acumen, some of which was honed with the Bank’s infrastructure lending program in the 2000s, and specifically his proven ability to structure financial solutions, combined with his long tenure with the Government of Northwest Territories, will be integral to addressing the unique needs of Northern and Indigenous communities.”
Roland Bailey, born in the Yukon, 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. He is currently Principal of Roland C. Bailey & Associates. Prior thereto, Mr. Bailey served as Executive Vice-President, Valard Construction, Ltd., Canada’s premier utility contractor. Prior to Valard, he was Director, Business Development, Pacific & Western Bank of Canada, predecessor to VersaBank, where he played an integral role in the success of the Bank’s previous infrastructure lending business to Indigenous and Northern communities. Mr.
Bailey also held senior roles in government, holding a variety of positions with the Government of Northwest Territories, Secretary to Cabinet & Deputy Minister of the Executive, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. He also served as Investment Manager/Advisor for the Government of Northwest Territories Aurora Funds.
Robert-Falcon Ouellette is from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation (near Battleford, Saskatchewan). Dr. Ouellette is a former Member of Parliament (2014 to 2018) for Winnipeg Centre, during which time he also served as the chair of Indigenous Caucus and was a member of the Standing Committee on Health and Finance. In 2011, he was appointed Director of the Aboriginal Focus Programs at the University of Manitoba. For nearly two decades (until 2010) Dr. Ouellette served with the Royal Canadian Navy, and in 2007 was appointed a Company Commander for the 5th Field Ambulance (medical service) of the Royal Canadian Navy. He remains part of the Primary Reserves in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles as a Warrant Officer. Dr. Ouellette holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from the University of Calgary, a Master’s degree in music, a Master’s degree in Education and a PhD in anthropology from Laval University. Dr. Ouellette was only the second Indigenous person in the 350-year history of Laval University to earn a PhD.
VersaBank is a Canadian Schedule I chartered bank with a difference. VersaBank became the world’s first fully digital financial institution when it adopted its highly efficient business-to-business model using its proprietary state-of-the-art financial technology to profitably address underserved segments of the Canadian banking market in the pursuit of superior net interest margins while mitigating risk. VersaBank obtains all of its deposits and provides the majority of its loans and leases electronically, with innovative deposit and lending solutions for financial intermediaries that allow them to excel in their core businesses. In addition, leveraging its internally developed IT security software and capabilities, VersaBank established wholly owned, Washington, DC-based subsidiary, DRT Cyber Inc. to pursue significant large-market opportunities in cyber security and develop innovative solutions to address the rapidly growing volume of cyber threats challenging financial institutions, multi-national corporations and government entities on a daily basis.
VersaBank’s Common Shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol VB and its Series 1 Preferred Shares trade under the symbol VB.PR.A.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
The statements in this press release that relate to the future are forward-looking statements. By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, many of which are out of our control. Risks exist that predictions, forecasts, projections, and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as several important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the strength of the Canadian economy in general and the strength of the local economies within Canada in which we conduct operations; the effects of changes in monetary and fiscal policy, including changes in interest rate policies of the Bank of Canada; changing global commodity prices; the effects of competition in the markets in which we operate; inflation; capital market fluctuations; the timely development and introduction of new products in receptive markets; the impact of changes in the laws and regulations pertaining to financial services; changes in tax laws; technological changes; unexpected judicial or regulatory proceedings; unexpected changes in consumer spending and savings habits; the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and our anticipation of and success in managing the risks implicated by the foregoing. For a detailed discussion of certain key factors that may affect our future results, please see our annual management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”) for the year ended October 31, 2020.
The foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive. When relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. The forward-looking information contained in this document and the related MD&A is presented to assist our shareholders in understanding our financial position and may not be appropriate for any other purposes. Except as required by securities law, we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that is contained in this document and related MD&A or made from time to time by the Bank or on its behalf.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
|Visit our website at: www.versabank.com|
|Follow VersaBank on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.|