Making it Happen: First Citizens Bank
"Show me the money"
I have decided to begin a series of blogs with the theme of “Making it Happen”, which aim to highlight business that are vitally important to the commercial real estate industry. Last blog was Jailbreak Brewing Company, which is a tenant. This blog features a lender, First Citizens Bank, specifically their team based in Annapolis on Bestgate Road.
I sat down with Matt Pipkin, Area Executive and Stephen Shade, VP/ Business Banker to discuss, the bank, the market, and their “sweet spot”. Full disclosure, I have known Matt for a number of years and had the opportunity to work with him on some deals.
First Citizens Bank is family owned, 115 year old institution based in Raleigh North Carolina. They are unique in that, although traded on NASDAQ, the Holdings (how appropriate!) family own the controlling interest. They are a regional bank with roughly $24 Billion in assets, which doesn't make them the biggest bank on the block, but sizable enough to handle most transactions, yet small enough to have that flexibility. In fact, that was one of the reasons Matt cited for their continued success in this market. Their structure allows them access to the top of the food chain, rather than layer after layer of bureaucracy.
Matt and Stephen both agreed the Annapolis market is very strong when it comes to the owner/occupier space. The mix of economic conditions, infrastructure, and proximity to DC and Baltimore all combine to create an environment that promotes the asset purchase versus leasing. And that is what they are seeing with regards to activity levels. With rates low, and FC able to offer longer terms than some of the national competitors, it has made sense for many of their clients to acquire commercial properties.
The "Sweet Spot"
First Citizens Bank's most competitive product would be the purchase or refinance of owner occupied commercial property. Matt and his team have done a number of medical practices in the area. He emphasizes their size and structure as their ability to be flexible, but also fast when it comes to deal turnaround. The "flexibility" aspect really stuck out to me, as deals with medical practices or some other capital intensive business really entails the lender understanding the borrower and the need. Not just rubber stamp appraisals for the asset itself. That's how they have been able to remain so competitive. Getting to the top decision makers to really explain the details of the transaction is able to happen versus a larger institution.
Thanks to Matt and Stephen for their time. Check them out on the web here: First Citizens Bank.