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Alberta Treasury Branches
Alberta Treasury Branches, also known as ATB Financial, is a financial institution and crown corporation owned by the Government of Alberta. ATB is the most significant surviving remnant of social credit economic policies in Alberta.
ATB was created by the first Social Credit ministry under William Aberhart in 1938, after earlier attempts to place Alberta's banks under the provincial government's control were thwarted by the federal government. The first Alberta Treasury Branch was opened in Rocky Mountain House on September 29 of that year.
ATB was scandalized in the late 1980s after clients such as Peter Pocklington's Gainers Foods defaulted on loans that were often granted for political reasons. In the 1990s, the government reformed ATB with the intention of transforming it into a competitive financial institution. In October 1997, ATB formally became a provincial crown corporation. It adopted the moniker ATB Financial in January 2002.
As of 2004, ATB operates under a board of directors nominally appointed by the Albertan Lieutenant-Governor, although in practice these appointments are done by the Premier of Alberta. As of March 31, 2004 ATB reported assets of $14.3 billion, deposits of $13.0 billion, loans of $12.1 billion, equity of $963.0 million, and a net income $172.0 million.
As of this writing, the current Progressive Conservative government under Ralph Klein is rumoured to be considering privatization of ATB. This is opposed by many of the Tories' political rivals, including a resurgent Social Credit.
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