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Aboriginal Banking

1910Royal Bank merger partner (1925), the Union Bank of Canada, opened a branch at the Hudson’s Bay trading post village of Hazelton, British Columbia. In November 1997, Royal Bank relocated this branch to Hagwilget First Nation.
1947Royal Bank issued a dedicated Royal Bank Letter focused on Canadian Aboriginal peoples.
1954Royal Bank CEO James Muir is invested as Honorary Chief of the Blood Band of the Blackfoot Indian Confederacy as a tribute to his leadership and humanitarianism.
1957Royal Bank opened the first bank branch in Canada’s Arctic Islands at Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories (now Iqaluit, Nunavut).
1969Royal Bank launched “An Introduction to Banking,” an educational booklet for Inuit communities in what is now Nunavut.
1973A First Nations Mural, the largest piece of Aboriginal art in Canada, is unveiled at Royal Bank’s main branch in Vancouver, British Columbia.
1978Royal Bank was the first financial institution to officially sponsor the Arctic Winter Games, which attracted 850 Inuit participants.
1990Royal Eagles, an Employee Resource Group, was established for Royal Bank’s Aboriginal employees and by Aboriginal employees, to support networking, mentoring, recruitment and retention, and to enhance cultural awareness of Aboriginal communities.
1991Royal Bank was the first major financial institution in Canada to open a full-service branch on a reserve in the Six Nations of the Grand River community at Ohsweken, Ontario.
1992Royal Bank launched its annual educational awards program for First Nations students attending a university or college in Canada – now called the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards program.
1993Royal Bank launched its Aboriginal Stay–in–School program, hiring students in Grades 9 – 12 to work in bank branches across Canada each summer.
1994Royal Bank pledged $275,000 over six years to support the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, Canada’s first Aboriginal college and the country’s only university-level college to be operated by First Nations people.
1995Royal Bank established a national Aboriginal Banking division.
1996Royal Bank signed an agreement with the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) to launch a program of business and community development initiatives across the country. Royal Bank joined forces with the National Aboriginal Veterans Association to help raise funds to erect a monument in Ottawa to commemorate the war efforts of Canada’s Aboriginal men and women.
1997Royal Bank issued The Cost of Doing Nothing — A Call to Action and Aboriginal Economic Development report, describing the social and economic costs Canada faced if nothing is done to boost Aboriginal participation in the labour force and address Aboriginal economic development.
Charlie Coffey, Royal Bank’s Executive Vice-President of Business Banking, was invested as Honorary Chief by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in recognition of his support of economic development and self-sufficiency for First Nations peoples
1998Royal Bank became a corporate sponsor of Working Partnerships, a government of Ontario program to encourage more Aboriginal partnerships with the corporate sector.
1999Royal Bank launched a new on reserve housing finance program to assist First Nation members to construct, purchase and renovate homes located within First Nations communities.
2000Royal Bank established a national agency banking program as an alternative delivery method of banking services for remote rural communities.
2007In response to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) national corporate challenge, Royal Bank and AFN signed a Memorandum of Understanding and committed to a two–year action plan to address access to capital, community and social development, employment and procurement for First Nations peoples.
2008RBC Blue Water Project leadership grants totalling more than $1 million are awarded to projects related to water issues in Aboriginal communities.
2009Royal Bank named Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), as Special Advisor.
Royal Bank introduced Remote Banking, a new banking service for Aboriginal Canadians living in remote areas, to make it easier for them to access personal banking services.
Royal Bank launched its Leasehold Mortgage Program to provide First Nations with greater flexibility in developing commercial and residential real estate projects on leased land.
2010Royal Bank was the first Canadian financial institution to offer telephone customer service in Cree and Inuktitut.
Royal Bank introduced a social networking site, One Heart, for Aboriginal employees.
RBC Foundation donated $1,000,000 to Pathways to Education, an initiative that focuses on removing barriers to post-secondary education and encouraging meaningful employment in at-risk neighbourhoods. This program helps participating students, including Aboriginal students, graduate from high school and go on to pursue post-secondary education.
2011RBC Foundation contributed $300,000 to the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI), a program aimed at helping Aboriginal youth stay in school.