First Financial's announcement of bank status lays the groundwork for the introduction of another broker lender.
Founder and Chief Commercial Officer Karl Straky says the Canadian First announcement means the lender will play an even greater role in the mortgage channel.
"Our bank envisions becoming a major player in the mortgage banking space over the next few years." says Straky. "We will differentiate ourselves by also offering our mortgage broker partners the ability to provide additional retail banking products to their clients and thereby expand their value proposition and deepen their existing customer relationships. They will also have the opportunity to own their own local Canadian First Financial Centre and build a different, more valuable and sustainable business compared to their mortgage business alone."
Canadian First Financial’s Chairman of the Board Peter Wallace today announced that it had been issued bank status to incorporate as a Schedule 1 bank, with the goal of commencing full bank operations later this year.
“We’re pleased to announce that the Minister of Finance has issued letters patent to incorporate a Schedule I bank under the Bank Act as an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian First,” Wallace said in an embargoed release issued to MortgageBrokerNews.ca Thursday.
President and CEO Peter Vukanovich said that bank status will provide customers with more options and better service.
“Our unique business model enables independent financial professionals to do more for their customers,” said Vukanovich. “The approval of the license is a landmark step towards creating a new and different banking service for Canadians.”
Straky adds that Canadian First will provide one-stop shopping convenience through its locally-owned financial centres providing customers with banking services, mortgages, wealth management and insurance products.
“We’re attracting high quality experienced professionals in the financial services industry to join our team,” said Straky. “These leaders have deep customer relationships and are interested in doing more for their clients through product and service excellence.”
Straky started the company as a way of bolstering the utility of mortgage professionals, helping deepen relationships with clients to better compete with banks and insurance companies. His strategy for First Canadian Financial was to provide a one-stop-shop model so each retail broker-partner could have a dedicated insurance/financial planner.
One of the more popular innovations by Straky was the Referral Partner program, put into place in 2011.
Straky said the Referral Partner program offered smaller retail brokerages the same opportunity to increase their usefulness to clients through the provision of other complementary services, but was sensitive to the fact they didn’t produce the kind of funded volume needed for a dedicated in-house insurance and financial advisor. The Referral Program allowed them access to financial and insurance advisors acting as mobile specialists.