Canadian First Financial gains bank status

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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.

  • Don Bayer on 2013-07-05 9:11:17 AM

    Congratulations Karl, I know you have worked very hard at this over the past 5 years and it has paid off.

  • Wane Davis on 2013-07-05 9:19:43 AM

    This was the culmination of YEARS of WORK and PLANNING...no easy feat with only 25 Charter 1 bank licenses being issued in the history of the country! CFFC has also refined the referral process for financial wellness products and insurance. Canadian First is leading a new paradigm in the mortgage channel with refined products like their Creditor Life Plus product from MPP and now the ability to offer true banking products...Not only that but take a look at the team they have assembled with names like Peter Vukanovich, Peter Wallace,Nick Mancini and Peter Majthenyi just to name just a few of the players involved...way to go guys!

  • John Bargis on 2013-07-05 9:27:01 AM

    Yes....Congratulations are indeed in order.....I wish Canadian First the best of luck in this very long road ahead.

  • Joe Czempoyesh on 2013-07-05 9:42:47 AM

    As a proud member of this network, having the ability to service our clients financial needs with a holistic approach to their financial health has been invaluable. Karl, you and your team are just brilliant, and I just can't wait to see the positive and rewarding places you will lead us to. I believe your vision of where we will fit in the financial landscape of the future will allow us to be the go to source for consumers and all their financial needs.

  • Ron Butler on 2013-07-05 9:46:17 AM

    Congratulation to a tremendous group of people with deep roots in the Canadian mortgage business and best of all: not just another monoline.

    As much as the monolines are here for us and thanks to all of them; a new balance sheet lender is very welcome in the broker space.

    The toughest project in business is a start-up, as Paul Grewel says "something from nothing is the hardest thing" and that's what Karl and a top flight group of shareholders have been doing doggedly and I think at great expense these last years.

    Good Luck and grow fast!

  • Brian Matthey on 2013-07-05 12:42:52 PM

    This has been a long journey with a lot of people with a never say die attitude.Add to that the top notch people it has attracted from all aspects of the canadian financial field .With their direction and expertise and with a network of great professional mortgage brokers poised to become their own branch owners, CFFC now has a solid base to grow from and an exciting future.
    I am proud and excited to have been
    part of the start of a new era in mortgage banking in Canada.

  • Peter Johnson on 2013-07-08 6:14:17 AM

    Vision, patience, and perseverance! Three words that sum up this incredible feat. The dogged determination of the leadership team has finally come to fruition and I look forward to our continued involvement with Canada’s newest Bank. Congratulations to all those that embraced the vision!

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