A few weeks ago, Jeremy Wedgbury announced that I would be joining First National in the newly created role of Regional Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Financing – Ontario. Now that I’m officially settled in, my first order of business is to formally introduce myself and in so doing, let you know that we are keen to do more business with you.
I grew up in London, Ontario (where I still reside), attended Western University for undergraduate studies and law school at Osgoode Hall. After graduating law school, I worked at TD Commercial Banking and then joined VersaBank, where I served for 21 enjoyable years, most recently as Senior Vice President, Real Estate Lending.
For most of the last decade at that innovative institution, I had the pleasure of working closely with First National as a co-investor in commercial mortgages on apartments and condominiums, seniors and student housing, office and retail. I was always impressed with First National’s market knowledge, and ability to understand and meet our investment needs. But more than that, I admired the way First National did business: honestly, transparently and with integrity. There was simply no better lending partner.
Now, I have the opportunity to help First National further expand its position as a leading lender in Canada’s largest province. We are going to seize that opportunity by:
- continuing to invest in our team to ensure we have the capacity and skills to deliver the best experience for you in whatever Ontario urban market you choose for your next project
- striving to be the market’s most responsive, informed and empowered lender
- offering the market’s broadest choice of insured and conventional mortgage programs and interest-rate hedging options
In the short time since joining, I’ve been particularly impressed with how many clients are taking advantage of First National’s CMHC-approved lender status to investigate and secure MLI Select financing. The premium discounts, extended amortization features and high LTCs and LTVs make this program well worth investigating with our assistance, if you have not done so already.
Leaning in, not stepping back
My arrival happens to coincide with a challenging interlude in the economy and real estate markets. I say interlude because I believe this part of the cycle will be short lived. True, the risk of a recession is high and recently, interest rates in the bond market have not been helped by persistent inflation and lengthy U.S. debt ceiling negotiations. But these are short-run challenges that will not define the next decade.
Instead, the future will be shaped by rising immigration and lack of housing supply, which will create great long-run opportunities for asset ownership and development.
As a lender, we are leaning in – not stepping back – to give you the best advice and mortgage products to ensure your success now, during these challenging times, and in the years to come.
In that regard, I urge you to stay close to your First National advisor. When they know more about you, your objectives and plans, they can be of more value and relevance in offering guidance, creative ideas and risk mitigation strategies.
For my part, I look forward to supporting the Ontario team as they support you. In that way, if there is anything I can do to help, please reach out at any time. My door is always open to you.
Regional Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Financing – Ontario