Over the past 30 years, mortgage broker professionals have become a force in the residential housing market in Canada with the help of non-bank lenders such as First National. Now, First National is working hard to bring more brokers into the commercial mortgage market as a means of generating mutually beneficial growth while better serving the needs of commercial clients. Ed Kieser leads First National's Commercial Financing & Broker Services business where he has originated more than $1 billion in commercial financing in partnership with brokers. In this interview, Ed discusses why mortgage professions should think seriously about participating in commercial deals.
Ed, in our first interview, you talked about the many economic advantages of brokering commercial deals. Now, how about sharing some information on what types of commercial loans First National will fund?
Sure thing. To set the stage, let me first say that First National is Canada's largest commercial mortgage lender, largest apartment lender and largest CMHC commercial lender, so at a high level, I think this shows that we are open for business across a wide range of opportunities.
Fair enough, but specifically, what types of commercial properties do you finance with the help of the broker community?
We finance all major commercial real estate asset classes including apartment buildings, mixed-use, retail, office, industrial, retirement homes and self-storage.
What types of opportunities do brokers most often bring your way?
We mainly see requests for term financing on apartment buildings with a minimum of five units to upwards of 100 units, but we also see other asset classes such as mixed-use properties with retail on the ground floor and apartments above, neighbourhood retail plazas and multi-tenanted industrial buildings.
What about construction loans?
Yes, actually this has been a fast-growing area for us and we're able to accommodate these requests because of the many new financing programs now available to help experienced borrowers and developer clients acquire raw land and build. We also participate in property repositioning, which happens when a borrower buys a substandard building in need of repair and seeks financing to renovate it and improve its value, occupancy and rental rates.
Does First National offer conventional and insured loans?
Yes, we offer a full suite of financings, including bridge and term.
What's the typical size of brokered commercial deals you do?
We entertain minimum commercial loan requests of about $1+ million, but the typical loan sizes are in the range of $2+ million. On our construction financing programs, our minimum loan amounts are typically $5+ million.
Sounds like First National is open for business.
Absolutely, we are ready to respond to opportunities and where possible, to grow our broker and client relationships.
If you have a question or a commercial deal to make with First National, you can reach Ed and his team at:
Ed Kieser, Assistant VP, Commercial Financing
Devin Sembaluk, Senior Analyst, Commercial Mortgages
Lisa Wright, Analyst, Commercial Mortgages