What made this position at CIBC a good fit for you?
Green: It was very much a cultural fit in addition to an entrepreneurial endeavor. The teams that we will be engaging with have a clear client-first mentality and pride themselves on the relationships that they have built over time, which is familiar and consistent to what I am accustomed to as well. The client service level is very high here, reflecting a personal touch traditionally found in local banks, but in this case within a very large North American bank. Combining all of that into one thought process — with CIBC having a desire to start up a new group to help their clients achieve their ambitions — was very appealing to me.
Have you had opportunities to start new products previously?
Green: I have. At JP Morgan, I co-founded the middle market loan syndication group within the commercial bank, and we were able to design procedures and best practice guidelines for when and how to use our services. I’ll rely on my experiences in management, product implementation and support as we continue to build out this offering at CIBC.
What’s your vision for building out the team?
Green: We are being structured as a product partner, servicing the middle market, mid- and large corporate banking channels within CIBC in the United States.
We’ll be focusing on 3 pillars — relationship-building, expanding our client base and loan syndications — to ensure we are providing financing solutions to existing clients and prospects from a loan or lease perspective, but specifically around the collateral.
What can CIBC’s existing customers expect from the new group?
Green: We will be doing more of a “warm call” to those clients that are CapEx users that could utilize a specific asset financing approach. There are a lot of ways to finance machinery and equipment. One way is through a general corporate line of credit or term loan that is not looking at an asset-specific approach, but mainly looking at financing from a blanket-lien approach.
Then there are credits that have different characteristics that lend themselves to more governance, and so we have an opportunity to work with our asset-based lending colleagues with opportunities that they see to go deeper into the assets from a 100% advance-rate perspective.
Finally, there is the equipment finance-specific vertical that we're talking about today, which is based around the ability to lend up to 100% of invoice cost on equipment. We’re able to govern those assets in a tighter manner via equipment-specific appraisals to help us bolster the ability to extend tenor and amortization to the useful life of the asset to be more efficient with how the company is going to use the asset.
Which sectors and types of credit do you plan to focus on?
Green: We will be industry — and collateral agnostic. There are some focal points within the bank. Construction and engineering are obviously on top of many of people's minds today, given the infrastructure bill that's passed and with the federal dollars being deployed in the US.
That's going to be a primary focus for us to start, but we won't segment ourselves specific to that team, nor to the assets that would be financed within that team. We will have broad capabilities to look at industry sectors where our approach and standards meet the needs of the clients. Asset classes can be anything: tractors and trailers, marine, cranes, aircraft, manufacturing equipment, food processing equipment, etc.
We will be agnostic on both of those fronts, and from a geographic perspective as well. We will cover coast-to-coast, and will be liaising with our Canadian colleagues to align our North-South approaches.
Let’s talk about your entrepreneurial spirit. How will you bring that to this team?
Green: I don't sit still. There are many jokes about my approach to life, but one of them that I think everybody can agree on is that I tend to have a lot of things in motion. I tend to appreciate the busy versus the steady, and so I think a lot of that will come here. I don't think we'll stop with just the core functionality that we have today. We will continue to push on those trends that we’re seeing in the banking industry.
You look at how people that have been in the industry for a long period of time are thinking about the business in a sustainable or futuristic manner. It's that same kind of mentality and approach that I hope to bring to the table.
Do you think of yourself as an innovator?
Green: Some call it disruptor, but I prefer innovation. There are a lot of innovative tools that can be utilized without jeopardizing integrity, and what's important here is maintaining the integrity that the industry has had over a long period, taking those building blocks and enhancing them for today’s world.
As an example, consider cybersecurity and the ability to transfer information. It is paramount in our industry that we deliver documents securely, so we need to make sure that we continue to adapt and adopt new technologies, but also smarter ways of doing business. So, yes, innovation is definitely core to my being, and I'll continue to do that with the obvious understanding that we make sure that we maintain the integrity of the enterprise.
What’s something personal you can share that will give us an idea of your management style?
Green: It's funny, because this topic came up in a conversation I was having recently. I am a very open book. How do you row together if you don't know which direction you're rowing? And it's not just direction, but it's everything from empathy, to governance, and all the in-betweens. You need to be on the same page with your team, and so I prefer to be fully transparent as much as I can in terms of information sharing.
We are stronger when everybody understands where we need to go, and it also helps morale. In a time like this, where we’ve been sitting behind a computer screen talking effectively to a wall, with a lot of people looking at each other through a screen, identity is very important. To maintain or grow your group, to maintain the integrity of the organization that you work for, and to be that innovator, you need to make sure that you encourage your professionals to have a voice.
I don’t like to be referred to as a “boss”. Everybody that works on this team needs to feel like they have a voice.