Building better with Canada’s values-based bank | RENX
Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) is on a mission to fund a sustainable future for Canadians, starting with where they live, work and play.
“VCIB believes real estate can be a powerful tool for change,” says Trish Nixon, Managing Director, Commercial Impact Banking. “We provide financing solutions that enable developers and owners to positively impact the communities in which they operate.” Citing the bank’s distinct approach, Nixon notes, “We call it social purpose real estate.”
ESG factors play an increasingly important role in real estate transactions. With extensive experience in bespoke financing of commercial real estate projects, VCIB has seen a huge shift in the market over the past few years. “Every day we hear from traditional developers looking for new ways to incorporate social and community benefits into their projects,” adds Nixon. This is an exciting change for a financial institution that is both B Corp certified and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.
VCIB provides construction, term and acquisition financing for commercial real estate projects that generate social, economic and environmental benefits in communities across Canada. A wide variety of projects may be eligible for funding, including residential developments that provide affordable housing, owner-occupied non-profit buildings, energy-efficient buildings, arts and cultural centers, co-working spaces and heritage buildings.
To complement their social purpose real estate financing, VCIB’s experienced clean energy team offers specialized loans for projects that have energy efficiency, renewable energy and other sustainability components.
“High-impact projects not only excite us, they define us,” says Nixon. “Our mission is to use finance as a tool to generate immediate and lasting social and environmental impact in our communities. This means we are committed to working harder for borrowers who are aligned with these goals and who can help us achieve them.
Like your favorite bespoke tailor or local bookstore, VCIB makes it personal. “As an account manager, it’s my job to understand a client’s vision and anticipate their unique needs,” says Eric Visser, Senior Business Development Manager, Commercial Real Estate. All the typical loan proof points come into play, of course, but it’s the “conversations that reveal a client’s passions, motivations, and vision for a project.”
With considerable experience in financing real estate projects that incorporate affordable housing, energy-efficient amenities, community-enhancing designs, and ESG forward-looking plans, VCIB doesn’t shy away from unconventional projects. “When I have a deep understanding of a client’s plan, and it aligns with VCIB’s priority impact framework, I find a financing solution that’s right for them,” continues Visser.
This confidence stems from a history of funding creative models of affordable housing and community spaces, combined with VCIB’s in-house expertise in clean energy. Visser notes that “we don’t believe that ‘unique’ or ‘innovative’ necessarily equates to ‘risky’.” Adding, “my job is to understand a project holistically and find ways to mitigate risk.” In fact, measures that boost a project’s impact rating with VCIB, such as including affordable units or investing in efficiency improvements, can be positively reflected in the adjudication process. , because they can reduce the risk of vacancy or add long-term value.
“VCIB wants to support companies that are driving social, environmental and economic change, so you’re not going to pay more to do the right thing,” says Visser. Indeed, customers attest that VCIB’s rates and financing solutions are very competitive in this market. Contributing to the social and environmental sustainability of market real estate builds your brand and your business.
All in the family
As a subsidiary of the nation’s largest credit union, VCIB builds on Vancity’s long history of community investment with national reach. While the credit union operates only in British Columbia, VCIB is regulated to serve the rest of Canada as a Schedule I bank. Based in Toronto, VCIB is next to the big banks, but its size and mandate of impact set it apart. Visser explains, “Our agile approach and niche expertise make the difference in how we serve our clients across Ontario and in select national markets. Whether large or small, unique and targeted real estate projects need the customized financing solutions we are ready to provide.
VCIB’s blog features a large list of clients that includes private developers and non-profit housing providers. The bank has also worked in partnership with public organizations such as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Canada Infrastructure Bank, seeing public-private partnerships as a way out of affordability and crises. climatic. “The challenges we face require everyone to be on deck,” Nixon points out. “VCIB is committed to partnering with private, not-for-profit and public sector actors to find solutions to move the needle forward.”