Focused Intensity to Deliberate Success
As Canada ICI’s Senior Director of Mortgage Origination in Edmonton, Marg Sebzda has seen a lot of ICI history over her 22 years with the company. When it comes to the early days of ICI, Marg chuckles and provides a brief description that says it all: “It was focused intensity.”
Marg joined Canada ICI in 1996, just a few short years after Dale Klein founded his commercial mortgage firm. At the time, ICI had just two brokers — Dale himself, along with Don Taylor. Focused intensity was the modus operandi and is what contributed to the success of the organization we all know today.
While there were certainly some learning curves in the early years, Marg is quick to point out that the ICI team also knew how to have fun. Dale has always had excellent relationships with ICI’s investors, and in addition to hosting regular investor functions in Toronto, Marg recalls some other fun times at ICI in the nineties. “We had the Grey Cup in Edmonton one year, and Dale invited a lot of our investors out,” she says. “So we all went to the Grey Cup game and froze our butts off.”
Canada ICI has weathered quite a few changes since the early days of sorting through the pocket and shivering at football games, and Marg has been here for all of it. Of course, some things in this world never change. “Dale said to me when I started, ‘It’s really busy right now, but there will be a time where it slows down,’” Marg recalls. “I haven’t seen that slowdown yet, and I’ve been here for 22 years. There has never been a slowdown for this company.”
One consistent strength for ICI over the years is the company’s stability despite volatility in the economy. “We’ve always been able to find a way to be profitable. We’ve never had to cut a department, or had to cut staff to balance the books,” Marg says. “It’s never happened here. It’s always been growth and taking care of the people who got us here, and Dale is the anchor for that.”
Despite periods of economic headwinds, ICI has always been able to turn a situation into an advantage. As Marg explains it, “when there is a downturn, capital starts to retreat and becomes less commoditized. Everything is scrutinized more, and investors are looking for reasons not to fund a deal.
Our organization thrives when capital isn’t just a commodity and when our advisory and experience really comes into play.”
When it comes to the reasons for Canada ICI’s continued success in any economic climate, Marg thinks it all comes down to the well-rounded knowledge that ICI’s brokers possess. “One thing that Canada ICI does really well is we know how to structure and present a loan,” she says. “We know what the market is looking for. We know what we can do for our borrower, and we structure deals that are beneficial for all the stakeholders. We understand and have experienced the different cycles and I think the borrowers really appreciate that.”
As far as ICI maintaining this level of productivity into the future, Marg believes that continuing to operate with the highest level of integrity and transparency is essential. “No matter what, clients appreciate honesty, and clients appreciate responsiveness,” Marg explains. “As a company, I know that we will always maintain our reputation as an organization with the highest level of integrity.”