Annalena Thompson had a decision to make after completing her credit training program with a San Diego bank in the mid '90s: go into commercial lending or commercial real estate. She chose the latter and today is one of the few women in commercial real estate in San Diego. She became vice president in the commercial real estate group of Torrey Pines Bank six years ago, and now is senior vice president and team leader.
Thompson is pleased with her chosen career path. She worked for several San Diego financial institutions after undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California and UC San Diego, and an MBA in finance from San Diego State University. She enjoys the challenges of working with commercial real estate investors and developers. But more importantly, she works with some of the region's most successful real estate entrepreneurs who help create jobs and a vibrate place to live and work.
"Every project is different," she said. "That's what keeps me motivated. Real estate entrepreneurs are risk-takers; my job is to help them achieve their goals while managing the inherent risk to the bank and borrower."
"I'm working with Davlyn Investments Inc., a client with a retail project at Girard Avenue and Wall Street in La Jolla, in the former Jack's Restaurant, which is being completely renovated and turned into an upscale multitenant retail building. Torrey Pines Bank provided the multimillion-dollar construction and renovation loan for this project in December; the project is due to open later this year.
"We're not the only lender they use, but they always give me the first shot, which I appreciate. But then I obviously have to deliver terms that works for them. They've been my client for more than 10 years now so I'm proud that I continually meet and exceed their expectations."
Close relations are important to Thompson and her team. Clients appreciate the extra lengths the bank goes to bring a deal to fruition.
"I've been at this for some time now and what's great about clients working with Torrey Pines Bank is they can take advantage of our flexibility in providing a loan that fits the nuances of their development project," she said. "They don't have to fit in a box, and we come up with creative solutions to meet their financing needs.
Like many others on Torrey Pines Bank's executive team and staff, Thompson has a wealth of local knowledge that not only helps existing clients succeed, but also helps the bank bring in new business. Much of it is generated through referrals.
"Our clients talk to their peers and [say] that our team has the capacity and creativity to meet the demands and timeline of their projects," she said.
"Every transaction is exciting. They all have different nuances. Our clients appreciate having access to senior management, which provides them added support to talk through scenarios, risks and other opportunities. Plus, Torrey Pines Bank is fun place to work and equally fun place to help dynamic people in their pursuits."