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Uncovering opportunities other financial institutions might leave behind


By Ryan Graham
December 10, 2019

At Concentra, we’re mindful to honour tried-and-true service offerings while also constantly innovating to keep pace with evolving consumer and industry demands.

We are proud of our long history of providing Canadian credit unions with innovative tools to succeed in an increasingly competitive market. But we aren’t comfortable resting on our laurels—we’re dedicated to seeking new specialized lending opportunities across the financial services spectrum, including in niche areas that other financial institutions often overlook.

 

Although we also operate in traditional banking sectors like real estate, Concentra is developing specialized lending solutions. For example, we recently launched our First Nations Specific Claims financing initiative, assisting First Nations to cover the costs associated with preparing and pursuing their specific land claims with the Government of Canada. Specific land claims arise from breaches of treaty obligations. The federal government maintains that negotiation is preferred, within the confines of the Specific Claims Policy it has designed for this purpose.

 

Most First Nations do not have ready access to trained experts in research, legal analysis or negotiation, which forces them to hire outside researchers, lawyers and negotiators to assist in the process. The average cost for preparing and submitting a claim is between $2 million and $3 million; however, it can be as high as $10 million for large claims—and there is no guarantee the claim will result in a successful settlement. Many First Nations do not have the financial resources to cover this cost and therefore require financial assistance. Recognizing the need for a more cost-effective solution, Concentra partnered with two Canadian insurance companies to create a unique financing option that is less expensive for First Nations communities.


With the Specific Claims Financing Initiative, Concentra is able to finance the cost of a First Nation’s preparation and administration of their claim through the government’s Specific Claim Process. Administering the claim is handled by a partner company of our insurance partner that has in-depth knowledge and experience.  Concentra’s loan is repaid from the First Nation’s settlement proceeds in the case of a successful resolution, or from an insurance policy issued by our insurance partner in the case of an unsuccessful resolution.

 

One of the unique factors of our financing offer is the creation of a pre-settlement trust for each loan that establishes the trust as the borrower rather than the specific First Nation. Concentra Trust acts as the trustee for each First Nation as they pursue their claim and has a longer-term opportunity to serve as the trustee in administering the settlement funds once they are received.

 

Concentra advanced its first loan under this initiative in October, to assist a First Nation in BC. We have executed four additional term sheets that are expected to fund before the end of 2019. We are expecting two more specific claims financing opportunities in the coming weeks and have a pipeline of five or six additional opportunities expected early next year.

 

We’ve received feedback from several of our First Nations customers that Concentra’s specialized lending offer has enabled them to pursue these claims, the successful settlement of which will have a significant and enduring positive impact on the lives of their members. We wouldn’t be able to provide this support without a sincere dedication to learning about the unique needs of our customers. In this case, it has meant developing an intimate understanding of Indigenous governance processes and building strong relationships with local First Nations leaders.

 

Two of our core competencies are specialization and innovation, both of which we leverage to develop specialized lending products like this one. We have other exciting specialized products in our pipeline and look forward to launching them soon as we continue to build our mid-market commercial bank.

As Chief Banking Officer, leads Concentra's retail and commercial banking divisions, assuming responsibility for residential, commercial, leasing, consumer, and credit union consulting and relationship management. Ryan brings dedication and a deep commitment to continually improving the value Concentra delivers to stakeholders. Through his leadership, Concentra's banking teams work to foster success through partnerships and participation in complex banking and financial intermediation activities.

For more information, contact:
1.800.788.6311 | commercialmarkets@concentra.ca

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