Last month, I joined the commercial leadership team at First National with a singular mission to grow our Western Canadian market presence. My appointment as Regional Vice President, British Columbia and Alberta could not have come at a more interesting time.
While demand drivers including population growth are as strong as ever, the bond market is flashing warning signs about a potential recession. Depending on one’s interpretation, recent turmoil in the global banking sector may (or may not) act as a catalyst to force central bankers to change their interest rate policies. Even here in Vancouver, constant debates and changing public policies and priorities (across all levels of government) illustrate that life is never straightforward when it comes to land-use planning.
As an experienced lender who also spent two enjoyable years managing construction financing and development projects as VP Finance & Operations at a respected local developer, I recognize that these are a unique set of circumstances. I also know from my almost 20-year career that “interesting times” like these are just part of the business cycle.
The key to success for developers and property asset owners as far as I’m concerned is to operate with financially strong and loyal lending partners who are able to respond effectively to the market, the economy and changing government policies. First National is exactly that kind of all-weather lender. It is, in part, why I chose to join.
A different kind of lender
For the past 35 years, First National has created long-term partnerships with many of Canada’s commercial real estate industry leaders by doing things differently.
Unlike other lenders, we employ empowered advisors who:
- Make it their business to understand each client’s goals, opportunities, risks and challenges
- Offer competing financing alternatives by accessing the market’s broadest selection of conventional and insured mortgage products and FN’s innovative interest-rate hedging options
- Know how to secure lucrative incentives from CMHC to build and preserve multi-unit apartments such as MLI Select with its high LTCs/ LTVs and extended amortization features
- Make hard and fast commitments that are honoured
- Manage every aspect and nuance of every financing to ensure funding occurs on time
These points of distinction – which are entirely due to people power – have made First National a lending market leader with a book that now stands north of $131 billion. I’m proud to be part of this proven business.
Two of my core responsibilities are to grow our Western Canadian advisory team while also expanding the industry-leading knowledge and capabilities of the dedicated First National professionals stationed in British Columbia and Alberta. I look forward to fulfilling both mandates, which directly serve the same purpose: to do more business in my home territories.
My invitation to you
My priority in the coming weeks is to introduce myself to all First National clients in the West and reinforce the valued connections I enjoyed while serving as Vice President of Commercial Real Estate at Coast Capital Savings and earlier in my career at RBC and Canadian Western Bank. I intend to take my time to do this as my real objective is not to talk but to listen and learn about your needs.
That said, if you do have a more urgent matter to discuss, please know that I am always available to assist. I can be reached by email or 604.816.5848.
I look forward to developing relationships of trust and value in the months ahead.
John Lucas, MBA, CPA
Regional Vice President, Commercial Financing, British Columbia and Alberta