Here at Triumph, our people are our greatest assets. This blog series highlights our Nashville team’s contributions one team member at a time. Our next guest is none other than Thomas W. Curl, who goes affectionately by “Tom” around the Triumph team. Tom serves as our Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Banking from our office in Brentwood, Tennessee.
How did you get into banking?
It was really by default. I have always been involved in commercial real estate in some form or fashion, and after grad school, I joined a commercial real estate development company. The responsibilities of my role took me all over the Southeast and Midwest of the US. When my second son was born, I figured I had one chance to watch my kids grow-up, and at the same time, I was being recruited by a Nashville bank. Thus, I became a commercial real estate banker.
Tell us about your role at Triumph and why you decided to focus on the role you have now.
My role at Triumph Bank is all about meeting the needs of my developer clients. I love what I do, and my background in commercial real estate development was a natural segue from developing to commercial real estate finance. It is very rewarding to find the best solution for our clients while creating a structure that protects the bank.
How do you normally start your workday?
I typically grab a cup of coffee and sit down at my desk to go through emails. I always want to be responsive to clients and prospects.
What is your favorite part about working at Triumph?.
The terrific people I work with. Everyone is focused on doing the right thing and on helping one another. It is truly a team effort! We work hard together, and we celebrate our successes together.
Why are you at Triumph right now? What makes Triumph stand out in the large population of banks?
The people and the culture that Triumph has created. At Triumph, everyone pulls together and helps one another. It doesn’t matter who gets the credit, we simply wish to provide the best service for our clients, and I think this mentality truly shows.
Have you worn any other hats here at Triumph? If not at Triumph, at any other point in your career?
In my previous role as a real estate developer, I constantly flipped hats – CFO, Public Relations, Site Engineer, lease and loan document negotiator, etc. At Triumph, I think we all wear lots of different hats, too. Whatever it takes to assist our clients is the quest here.
Had you not landed in this role at Triumph, what career do you think you’d be pursuing now?
I am sure I would remain involved in commercial real estate, perhaps back developing or acquiring and repositioning projects.
How would you summarize your department’s role to someone who doesn’t know much about it?
We specialize in financing the acquisition and/or development of commercial real estate projects: office buildings, multifamily projects, industrial buildings, retail, and hotels. Our Department has financed or been involved in the financing projects over $100,000,000 while at the same time we have also been able to help with the capital needs of far smaller projects. The great part of what we do is that every project is different.
Tell us about the process of becoming your client. What should they be prepared to bring and discuss during your first few visits?
The very first thing is for me to simply listen to the client. I want to learn the most I can to understand their business, their current needs, and their long-term objectives. Most of my prospective clients are referred by existing clients, which is a real blessing. Typically, a commercial real estate prospective client has a particular construction or real estate acquisition financing need. I will outline what we will need to review and underwrite the opportunity. The package includes the merits of the opportunity, the projected cash flow, the debt stack anticipated, and the expected return to the investors. If the project makes sense and we are in agreement with a rough structure, we then do a deep dive into the financial strength of the sponsor and guarantors, the market and market conditions, etc.
What can people expect when they become your client?
Our team will be responsive, even if the answer is not what they were hoping for. Our clients will always be able to get in touch with us. We are honored that our clients chose to do business with us, and we will treat them with the respect, fairness, and integrity they deserve.
How do you and your team make banking easiest for your clients? What is the key to making your team as successful as it is?
Service and accessibility! We have a saying, “be there first; do it right, and effort doesn’t count, results do!” We strive to be creative and flexible. I feel commercial real estate is an art as much as it is a science, and we can structure credit facilities that best suit the particular need of the client while still being a secure investment for our shareholders.
You are very dedicated to the beautification of the Greater Nashville area. Tell us about that and how you’ve integrated that mission into the culture at Triumph.
I have been involved in commercial real estate development and finance for 30+ years, and I have always felt the statement, “growth is inevitable, but progress is an option,” reflects my belief. Smart development and proper use of the land are critical to the betterment of our communities and our future. As long as there is population growth, there will always be a need for real estate growth. However, including green space, whether conserved or reserved for park and recreation, allows people to enjoy the outdoors. Interestingly enough what I have found is that smart development, which includes green space, greatly improves the overall property values above development by itself.
I serve on several boards in the Nashville community – such as Friends of Franklin Parks and Habitat for Humanity. Triumph Bank has and continues to be a tremendous supporter of my efforts with time and financial support.
Aside from your passion for nature, what do you enjoy doing outside of the office?
I love spending time on the water and whenever possible you will find me on my boat up in Connecticut on Long Island Sound. Traveling and experiencing different cultures is also a passion, however, the ability to do so in recent times has been severely limited.
A few years ago I started working with wood, and this passion has grown exponentially. I love working with my hands and then give the furniture or whatever I make away to friends and family. I am a history buff and find collecting coins enjoyable and fascinating. Finally, I used to play a lot of golf and I am getting back into it. I would call my return to golf a work in progress.
Thank you, Tom, for your thoughtful answers and contributions to our company’s growth. You are a valued member of our team and we cannot wait to hear about your next triumph!
Read more about Tom’s specialty, Commercial Real Estate Banking, here: https://triumphbank.com/business-checking/commercial-real-estate/