First on behalf of my colleagues, let me wish you a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
Here at First National, the year has started very quickly. After recording tremendous growth in 2020, highlighted by record total volume and record construction volume – including half a dozen financings of $100 million+ to bring our commercial book to over $35 billion – we have set our sights on doing even more this year.
Announcing a new addition to our portfolio
To hit the ground running, we are excited to announce a brand-new offering: a First National conventional term product. By adding it to our existing toolkit of insured term, insured construction, conventional construction and bridge loans, we can now compete effectively for all commercial property asset financings and across a wide variety of terms – from one to 20 years.
We believe this marks a new beginning for our company as we embark on expanding our market leadership in multi-family residential and becoming the lender of choice in other property segments, including industrial, self-storage and office based on service, market intelligence and breadth of financing solutions up and down the credit spectrum. And, as a reminder, in addition to short and long-term conventional products, First National has 15 and 20-year insured financing programs at the ready.
Growing our team
This is not our only new beginning. Across the country, and consistent with our growth ambitions for 2021, we recently added experienced new originators and analysts and under new leadership, we have strengthened our servicing capabilities. Simply put, we want to be more available and more valuable to you in the months to come and we are reinvesting in support of our objectives.
Bridging the gap
During 2020, CMHC received a very high number of applications, including requests for Flex loans to build affordable units. Understandably, CMHC’s response time was elongated. To get shovels in the ground on schedule, please note that First National’s bridge financing is here to assist.
CMHC Energy Efficiency refund
As an approved lender, we make it our business to know CMHC’s programs intimately. As such, we identified a little used but generous CMHC insurance premium refund that is available for:
- newly constructed multi-unit apartment projects that exceed the 2015 national building code’s energy standards by just 5%
- energy efficiency improvements on existing multi-unit apartment assets
To find out if your project qualifies, please speak to us promptly as there is a time limit and a requirement to submit specific evidence. Even if you financed a project using another lender, First National can spearhead your refund application.
A steadfast approach for the future
Looking ahead, interest rates and all-in financing costs are very favourable and conducive to a year of growth. That said, I know some economists are predicting a turbulent recovery as a result of the resumption of pandemic lockdowns and continuing border closures. This is not the first time we’ve confronted an economic challenge, even though the reasons for this one are different because of COVID-19.
What I can say from experience in working through past recessions is that First National’s business model is built to work well in all market conditions. This was demonstrated during the 2009 financial crisis and was on display once again last spring. When other lenders withdrew from the market, First National’s diverse and ready funding sources allowed us to meet 100% of our commitments.
A consistent, steadfast approach to lending is our signature strategy and I think it is one of the reasons why some of our best growth has followed recessionary periods. We can be counted on.
Size and strength to make a difference
First National will mark its 33rd anniversary in 2021 with a mortgage book exceeding $117 billion. This gives us the strength to move forward with confidence, while our empowered, entrepreneurial approach motivates us to work harder and go further for you.
I would encourage you to stay in close contact with your First National advisor throughout 2021 so we can proactively address your needs.
Thank you for making us part of your business.