The Bank of……

Got a chance to visit the Fort Beausejour today for the first time. It is doubly interesting to me because of its historical significance in an abstract sense (as an important historical reference point) and its foundational implications for the province of New Brunswick (as the start of the Acadian Deportation).

But I am cursed to view just about everything through the economic development lense. So, while my wife was marvelling at the artifacts, I was looking at the display of period currency. There were Bank of PEI notes, Bank of Acadia notes, Bank of New Brunswick notes, etc. Of course, all the local banks were scrapped long ago.

There has always been debate about the role of centralized national banks and the lack of capital in far flung regions of the country. I saw a study a few years ago that showed something like 75% of all of the Big Five bank investment in Canadian companies is placed in firms within a two hour drive of the head office in Toronto. We do know that local banks have almost no lending authority.

Credit Unions have played the role in some respects of a locally owned and run bank but does not have the heft to do what a bank does.

It is interesting that the Bank of Nova Scotia still maintains a considerable presence in Nova Scotia and investment in companies well above other provinces (except Ontario, Alberta).

I guess old habits die hard.