The FAQs of FFI: Spelling Out the Advantages of a Financial Services Partner
Who is FirstService Financial, Inc. (FFI)?
An affiliate of FirstService Residential, FirstService Financial, Inc. was founded 25 years ago to leverage the global footprint of FirstService Corporation, a publicly traded entity. FirstService Corporation is the parent company of both FFI and FirstService Residential. FFI brings value to FirstService Residential clients by providing best-in-class resources, including COA and HOA financial services.
What types of services does FFI offer?
Services for commercial, COA, and HOA financials include:
Customized banking and cash management
Proprietary insurance products
Assistance with the placement of annual insurance programs
FFI partners with FirstService Residential Texas to maintain clients’ portfolios in a risk-free manner while trying to maximize their portfolio income. While associations maintain full control of their funds, having a dedicated team handle such tasks gives board members more time to focus on their most important action item: serving residents.
What makes FFI’s services unique?
Programs offered by FFI are tailored for each community. While FirstService Residential Texas doesn’t require their communities to use FFI, boards often find that managing HOA financials is easier with the support of a dedicated team.
The leadership team members at FFI have a minimum of 20 years of industry experience. Expertise is an invaluable resource - it allows team members to provide rare, in-depth knowledge when advising your community based on its unique needs. Advisors can often identify savings in associations’ budgets by finding ways to offset management costs.
FirstService Financial, Inc. (FFI) partners with FirstService Residential Texas to maximize value for client communities, providing them with customized financial services.
Having a team of dedicated professionals on your board’s side makes managing HOA financials much easier, especially during budget season.
FFI is unique because of the rare expertise offered by its team members, who craft tailored solutions to fit individual communities’ needs.
“Across all of the Texas [markets], we probably have over 90% of our client base that is participating in our banking program because of the value that we add.”
-Karla Chung, Vice President of Cash Management & Lending at FFI
How does FirstService Financial help my community save money?
Because of FirstService Corporation’s global presence, FFI team members can negotiate accounts with minimal service and maintenance fees. This means FirstService Residential-managed communities can see a higher net return every year. FFI team members have also built strong relationships with partner banks, so they can more easily obtain lower operating fees for your community.
FDIC-insured cash management products that provide higher interest rates, savings on fees, and increased security are ideal for HOA financials. Along with the cash management program, FFI’s team provides round-the-clock oversight of clients’ funds. This includes enhanced fraud control to protect investments.
Overall, banking costs are lower due to FFI’s efficiency, refined standard operating procedures, and the advantage of existing relationships. This reduces transaction fees, and clients benefit from the savings.
Can’t I get the same rates if I go to the banks myself?
Rates offered by banks that directly serve customers are normally lower than the rates FFI can obtain. As an added value, associations are provided a cash management analysis to compare their current bank rates with FFI bank rates to ensure the best rates available.
Which banks are FFI partners?
Banks that partner with FFI are located throughout North America. Each is carefully vetted and must meet certain criteria, including (but not limited to):
Financially strong and suitable size to manage COA/HOA financials
Offers enhanced cash management platforms
Accessible relationship management teams
Excellent, market-leading rate
FFI helps communities save money because of its size, efficiency, relationships, and negotiation abilities.
For those same reasons, FFI can typically obtain higher rates for cash management programs than banks that provide services directly to customers.
Partner banks of FFI are closely vetted and must meet all criteria specified by FFI.
What is debt placement?
Debt placement means securing new loans or refinancing existing loans. A significant part of FFI’s business is restructuring clients’ existing debt.
What are the advantages of FFI’s lending program?
Lending partners of FFI prefer when clients work with their team to negotiate the loan. FFI coordinates the process for board members, saving them a substantial amount of time. Because of their strong relationships with FFI team members, lending partners are willing to provide better terms and conditions to communities managed by FirstService Residential Texas.
“We across North America are doing $500 million a year in loans for clients in terms of helping clients and so our lenders know that we're bringing them kind of viable prospects.”
-Karla Chung, VP (FFI)
Why shouldn’t my community just go directly through a bank for lending?
FFI team members have the expertise and resources to find savings for clients wherever possible. For example, a FirstService Residential associate recently noticed that a soon-to-be client was preparing to sign a loan with their bank. Soon after, the associate contacted a lender at FFI to explore the “FirstService preferred” options for the client. After reissuing the loan documentation, FFI saved the client over $300,000 before day one of being managed by FirstService Residential!
Debt placement is simply taking out a new loan or refinancing an existing loan.
FFI saves associations time and money because team members coordinate the loan negotiation.
Team members at FFI use their expertise and resources to find savings opportunities in HOA financials wherever possible.
How can my association save money through FFI’s insurance services?
FFI looks closely at associations’ current insurance products to make sure they are adequately covered. Team members can identify any gaps or issues in the HOA financials and help associations navigate the tricky terrain of today’s insurance (including High Rise Insurance). FFI’s size and risk profile enable them to create superior programs with coverage at a reduced cost.
All programs are administered through FS Insurance Brokers, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FFI.
Do you have any examples?
Recently, FFI reviewed the investments of a large self-managed client during the prospecting stage. They found the client was drastically over their insurance limits because they had a couple million dollars in their portfolio that they were not actively managing. The team at FFI analyzed the portfolio and found around $160,000 of additional income opportunities per year.
What are proprietary products? Why do I need them?
Proprietary products designed by FS Insurance Brokers are available exclusively to FirstService Residential-managed communities. Crafted specifically for associations receiving COA and HOA financial services from FFI, these products include coverage for fidelity, environmental, directors & officers, and others. All are offered by FFI at competitive rates, making it easier for associations to ensure no gaps in their policies.
Team members at FFI have the expertise to advise FirstService Residential Texas clients on insurance coverage.
FFI recently found $160,000 worth of savings opportunities for an association by analyzing its portfolio and insurance limits.
FS Insurance Brokers (subsidiary of FFI) designs proprietary insurance products to fit clients’ specific needs.
How do I learn more?
Watch our interview with Karla Chung, Vice President of Cash Management & Lending at FFI, to hear more about the tailored services offered to FirstService Residential Texas managed associations.
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