Last month (March 20th to be exact), the first bank opened up its doors in Baker Lake called the First Nations Bank of Canada (FNBC). Prior to this, very little banking could be done in town. If needed cheques could be cashed at the Northern Store but at extremely high rates or deposited into a North Mart Visa card that can only be used at the Northern store. This is the same for all the other communities in Nunavut except of course the three major community centres; Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit where there are an RBC or CIBC or both banks.
We do a lot of our banking online and any cheques we receive, we would sent down to our bank to deposit (at a fee of course) or we would wait until we travel down south to deposit it directly.
The new bank is actually located inside the Co-Op store in the back corner – talk about a little bit of competition between the two stores in town! It is only a kiosk with a teller but it is a start and it is very exciting as it shows that Baker Lake is growing. The bank is also planning on opening up banking centres later this year in Pond Inlet and Kugluktuk. ~Sophia