New brokerage of the year on commercial mortgage trends

Commercial president recaps 2023 win as this year’s CMAs rapidly approach

Amid ongoing volatility in Canada’s commercial market, major banks are continuing to adopt a safety-first approach with a “huge pullback” by many Schedule A lenders at play, according to a leading executive in the sector.

Vanessa Thomas (pictured), president and commercial mortgage agent at TMG Black Capital and HALO Advisory Inc., told Canadian Mortgage Professional that the country’s top banks were holding back on deals they would normally have approved prior to the onset of rising interest rates as uncertainty continues to swirl around the commercial space.

“I think that given the interest rate environment, lenders are highly selective,” Thomas said. “They’re working with real estate investors and business owners that have a more solid flow. They’re really staying within the box for their risk appetite.

“Before, we’d see lenders stretching themselves or making decisions off of projections [and] things of that nature – but right now, they’re looking for less speculative and more established cash flow.”

For Thomas, a key priority in that climate has been helping clients explore alternative lending options and looking at larger pools of real estate to help get a deal over the line. “For example, if we have one asset that isn’t doing so well then we’ll probably look at using cash flow from another asset as well,” she said.

Trimming back on loan to values (LTVs) has been another area of focus, while private, secondary, and tertiary lending have unsurprisingly been boosted by the cautious approach of the top institutional lenders.

2023 CMAs victory a product of resilience in challenging market

With the commercial mortgage market having witnessed its fair share of high-profile turbulence over the past two years, coming away with the award for New Brokerage of the Year at last year’s Canadian Mortgage Awards ceremony in Toronto proved an especially rewarding moment for TMG Black Capital | Halo Advisory.

The company focuses on commercial financing only, meaning its victory was a poignant one amid such a challenging market.

“A lot of people will dabble in a little bit of residential and a little bit of commercial but for us, we’re highly focused on commercial only,” Thomas explained. “So when we’re hit by the market, it’s a significant impact on our business. But we’re still doing very well because we’re well positioned to [help] clients navigate through the interest rate environment.”

Crucial to the company’s success since its foundation has been maintaining transparency within the commercial lending process and educating clients and lenders, according to Thomas.

That means pairing the right lender with the right deal – and the right client with the right lender, based on their specific circumstances.

“We don’t just put clients into loans or financing situations that don’t make any sense for them,” she said. “We’re really focused on seeing the solution, seeing the exit, and making sure that both lender and client are well positioned to keep their asset and keep their funds, especially in this market.

“We’ve gone with a very conservative and education approach with regards to our clients, and that’s done really well for us.”

Register now for the 2024 Canadian Mortgage Awards

The Canadian Mortgage Awards are returning on May 2, with Toronto’s Congress Centre set to host the eagerly anticipated gala dinner and awards ceremony.

Table registration is open for what’s sure to be one of the most unforgettable nights of the 2024 mortgage industry calendar, with mortgage professionals from across the country set to convene for a memorable evening to celebrate the industry’s best and brightest.

Simply follow the link above to register – with all guest details due on or before April 11, 2024 at 5pm EST.

The event will be hosted by renowned Etalk anchor Tyrone Edwards for a second successive year, with a cocktail reception to be followed by an awards ceremony and dinner banquet – and capped off by a post-awards celebration fronted by Ascension Groove Band that’s sure to bring the house down.


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