'Alternative to big banks' grows market share

'Alternative to big banks' grows market share

Under the tutelage of Chris Humeniuk, Community Trust has grown remarkable heights.

Humeniuk joined the firm’s Board of Governors nine years ago, and soon after a decision was made to recalibrate strategic direction, which included naming Humeniuk President (and eventually CEO, too).

“We wanted to shift away from being a niche commercial lender to a more diverse lender,” said Humeniuk. “Our single-family residential program was developed in 2011 and launched in 2012. We shifted the risk profile of our commercial portfolio and we have expanded our off-balance sheet strategies to diversify our revenue stream.”

Community Trust is making a major splash in the residential mortgage space. It also launched a mortgage securitization program in 2015 and expanded its trustee program for registered accounts belonging to self-directed investors, who may choose syndication or MICs. In the wake of mounting mortgage regulations, it’s a growing industry.

Community Trust is also becoming a major player in the single-family market, believing that self-employed and new Canadian homebuyers are an underserved, yet robust borrowing cohort.

“I think some of the strongest borrowers are self-employed people who work hard and create careers for themselves,” said Humeniuk. “We’re active with borrowers who are consolidating debt or perhaps new to Canada and haven’t had a chance to build long-term income streams or credit profiles. From an underwriting perspective, it’s a different space than the CMHC or insured prime space, where it’s more transactional. With every Alt-A deal, there’s a story and it’s the job of our underwriting team and team leaders to get to the bottom of the story.

“Our growing market share shows we’ve been able to build strong working relationships with the broker community that have been mutually beneficial. We’ve been working at this for a number of years and we had every expectation that we’ll grow our market share in the Alt-A space.”

Community Trust has positioned itself as a flexible alternative to big banks—Humeniuk calls it a brand promise—by offering shorter-term deals with borrowers on quality real estate.

“The properties may need seasoning, or they might be in transition, and that’s where the value is, but their long-term income stream may be challenging to demonstrate,” said Humeniuk. “There’s a story to be told and we work hard with our broker partners and borrowers.”