Fact sheet: Cormorant Island Financial Services


  • 1,200 people: 600 from the 'Namgis First Nation and 600 from the Village of Alert Bay
  • 10% of population has no account at a formal financial institution, compared with 2.5% nationally (World Bank, 2011)


  • 85 licensed businesses
  • Sectors include professional services, accommodation/food & beverage, construction, tourism, retail, transportation, communication, government services
  • Local economy is very seasonal, due to the reliance on tourism and to a lesser extent fishing and forestry


  • Closest financial institution branch is in Port McNeill, a 45-minute ferry ride away. A return trip takes half a day, costing $11.65 per person and $26.80 for a vehicle.
  • Limited access to cash exchange reduces the efficiency of the local economy by increasing cash and barter transactions and forcing businesses to keep large amounts of cash on hand.
  • Residents prefer face-to-face banking services
    • 64% chose personal branch visits as their mode of dealing with simple transactions
    • 96% want to conduct complicated bank transactions in person
    • 70% visit a local branch at least every three weeks
  • Residents purchase about 50% of their goods and services on the island, estimated at $1,000 per month per person.
  • Island businesses have payrolls of up to $250,000 and pay employees through local financial institution or by cheque.
  • Almost half of Island businesses receive over 50% of their annual revenue in the form of cash, requiring regular cash deposits.
  • Businesses spend up to $250,000 per month on the island, mostly by cheque.

Source: Headwater Capital Consulting, Access to Financial Services for Cormorant Island, Survey Results, 2014