Cultural Competence In The Diverse Workplace

New Grad Real Estate Associate Loves TD’s Commitment To Diversity In The Workplace


Think buying a house or condo in one of Canada’s largest cities seems expensive?

Imagine how much it costs to build a neighbourhood of single-family homes or one of those high-rise condominium towers.

As a Real Estate Associate with TD Business Banking in Montreal, Arthur Vilner determines whether or not the bank should lend money to real estate developers to complete these kinds of projects.

“TD has made it a company-wide priority to embrace diversity at the workplace. The company truly stands behind this commitment and it is visible through its HR practices, recruitment policies and community events.” —Arthur Vilner, Real Estate Associate, TD Business Banking

Originally from Richmond Hill, Ont., Arthur completed his International Bachelor of Business Administration (iBBA) degree at York University’s Schulich School of Business, where he was also a member of the Schulich Real Property Students’ Association and the York University Finance and Industry Club, and co-president of LGBT Schulich.

He started his career with the TD National Real Estate Group at the Mississauga Real Estate office right after graduating in May 2010, where he trained with a mentor before transferring to Montreal in April 2011.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work on the financial services side of real estate, check out our Q&A with Arthur below.

Q. What do you do as a Real Estate Associate?
A. The TD National Real Estate Group is the division of TD Business Banking that specializes in lending money to companies in the real estate industry. The majority of these loans are temporary loans to allow real estate developers to complete new construction projects.

As an associate, day-to-day activities include using a lot of different analysis tools to determine whether or not a project is feasible for the bank to lend money to. We want to know: How risky is it? How experienced is the developer? What kind of project is it? Throughout the course of a construction or development project, I monitor it by keeping track of sales and construction progress (this includes visiting the construction site and taking pictures), and meeting with clients (the developers themselves).

During my training, I worked very closely with my mentor, a Senior Account Manager with many accounts on his “portfolio.” I assisted him with the above tasks for almost a year. Since my transition to Montreal this spring, I’ve been given my own portfolio, which is a lot more fun and rewarding, but also challenging. Any questions, concerns or issues that my clients may have (and when large amounts of money are involved, there are always concerns and issues), phone calls come directly to me.

Best part of the job: real estate developers tend to be very small companies, usually family-run. This means that I get to meet and become familiar with the developers themselves. They tend to be very interesting individuals with a taste for the finer things in life. Almost all client meetings take place over lunch or dinner in the city’s nicest restaurants, rather than in an office boardroom.

Q. How did you know you wanted to work on the real estate side of the financial services sector?
A. Actually, I’ve known that I wanted to work in real estate for a really long time. It was the fact that I started my real estate career within the financial services sector that came as a surprise to my family, friends, and even to myself. Real estate has always been a passion of mine. This might seem odd, but high-rise construction gets me really excited. Growing up in Toronto and witnessing the city’s skyline morph over the past few years with all the new condo towers sprouting up everywhere really inspired me to work in the field.

Arthur Vilner, Real Estate Associate, TD Commercial BankingQ. What made you choose to start your career with TD?
A. TD has made it a company-wide priority to embrace diversity at the workplace. The company truly stands behind this commitment and it is visible through its HR practices, recruitment policies and community events – TD is the head sponsor of just about every large community event these days, including Pride. Given that I am a member of the LGBT community, this impressed me and was one of the deciding factors when choosing TD.

Q. What was the process like when you were hired?
A. The recruiting process was smooth and consisted of two interviews: one with Nancy Moulday, Manager Recruitment at TD Business Banking, which was more general to see if TD was right for me, and one with the VP at the Mississauga real estate office, to see whether or not I was a good fit for the office and for the associate role.

Training was fantastic. My first week on the job was spent in downtown Toronto in a classroom course with brand new Commercial Banking Associates from all over the country, including Real Estate, Agricultural and General Industries Commercial Banking Associates.

Following the classroom training, I started at the TD National Real Estate Group in Mississauga where I was introduced to my mentor and the rest of the team (approximately 15-20 people). I have to say, I have never worked with such a fun group of people before.

Q. What do you think it takes to be a Real Estate Associate at TD?
A. Being passionate about real estate – and demonstrating it. For example, being part of a real estate club at your school, taking any and all relevant courses at school, doing something “real estate” as an extra-curricular – like working towards a real estate agent licence, etc. At your interview, especially the second interview with the VP, be prepared to show why real estate, of all industries, is the one that you want to work for.

Q. Why do you think students should consider a career in real estate with TD?
A. TD has placed a lot of focus on growing its real estate lending division over the next few years in all markets across Canada. Although it is already the most prestigious and largest real estate lender in the Toronto area, there is still a lot of room for growth in other areas of the country, such as the east coast, Montreal and Quebec, the prairies, and British Columbia. Promotions and career advancement go hand-in-hand with company growth. Students should be mobile and the thought of being transferred somewhere for a few years should not be frightening.


TD Bank Financial GroupFind the perfect opportunity for you: TD Bank Group is hiring entry level Real Estate Associates across Canada.
Click here to apply.


About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.