Marco Riccio: Advocating for more opportunity within the Montreal branch

First National Financial LP Mar 26, 2024   mins

Marco Riccio shares the stamp he’s put on the business and the experience that cemented his connection to First National.

Take us back to the beginning of your career at First National.

MR: I joined First National in August 2009. I had been working at HSBC Finance, but the 2008 financial crisis impacted my role. A friend I knew from HSBC had moved to First National and suggested I come over to do some underwriting. I hadn’t heard of First National so I was skeptical. I started in underwriting and became a Manager in 2011. I was in that role until 2018 when I became Director. 

What was your first year like?

MR: Based on my previous situation, I was obviously cautious. But within that first year, I witnessed the dynamics of the company and the culture come alive. There were great people, and everyone was working together, sharing information, supporting each other and growing. We were building the Montreal branch and selling it to the industry. I had never experienced anything like it before in the banking world. 

What was your “I’m in” moment?

MR: Once I got into management, I valued how much people respected my opinions, appreciated my experience and cared about what I had to say. People here are hungry to learn. And everyone wants you to feel part of the family. 

Describe some milestones in your career.

MR: Advancing to Manager and then to Director were significant for me. But I also consider every year a milestone. This is the longest I have ever stayed with an organization, and part of me can’t believe it’s already been 15 years. I know I have many more milestones to come. 

What stamp have you put on the business?

MR: When I joined the team, it was 25 people. It’s grown to more than 200 in the branch. My team is 60 people, and we continue to grow. When I became Director, my mandate was to create more opportunity within the branch. I advocated for jobs beyond underwriting and sales, including HR and QA. In 2019, we established a HR and QA function within the branch, which added a level of sophistication and continues to give people more opportunity. I maintain close relationships across the department and with sales. I am out on the road meeting our partners and brokers, which is vital to our success, especially in Montreal. For the past 15 years, we’ve received awards from our broker partners. And it is truly a team award. I may accept it on their behalf, but their efforts and dedication are why we win. 

What are you most proud of in your career?

MR: I’m proud of seeing my team members excel and flourish. When they excel, the team excels. I coach my managers to hire the right people. And it’s more than just experience. Character and personality have a significant impact on the success of the whole department. 

Any favourite memories?

MR: In 2012, we had our first management meeting in Toronto. It was one of the first times that everyone from across the country flew out and met in one place. It was incredible to connect with so many people in person. Even though we were different regionally, the cultures and people were very much the same. That experience cemented my connection to First National.  

Which one of First National’s values resonates with you most and why?

MR: I resonate with all of them. Not only do we strive for better, we actually do it. Trust is the lifeblood of our business. In Montreal, in the past year, even with the challenges in the economy, we’ve gained mortgage share. Brokers trust that we are stable and will be there for them. Autonomy was one of the first things that stood out for me. People are encouraged to voice their opinions, they are heard, and great ideas are put in motion. And we hold everyone accountable because we want everyone to be their best. 

From your experience, how does the First National culture value diversity and elevate the voices and perspectives of all team members?

MR: It comes down to the types of people you hire. When you have the right people in place, everyone can shine in their own way. We welcome it all and encourage it. That’s what makes us great. 

What advice would you share with people growing their careers at First National?

MR: Make yourself heard. Ask questions. Build relationships. Voice your opinion. Be open to learn. 

Any final thoughts?

MR: It’s been 15 great years! I look back and honestly can’t say I would do anything differently. I’m definitely looking forward to another 15 great years.

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