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Banking on brokerage expertise 4 min read

Growing real estate firm benefits from a bank that understands brokerages

Calgary-based commercial real estate entrepreneur, Glen Checkley, shares learnings from launching in turbulent times – and why business owners should bank on a financial services partner with industry expertise. 





Starting a commercial real estate business in 2021 – over a year into the pandemic – takes vision, boldness, and perseverance. But Glen Checkley always knew he wanted to blaze his own trail.

His Calgary-based company, Tristone Commercial Real Estate is a fully-integrated firm whose services include investment sales, property management, leasing, rental pool management, and condominium management. Tristone may be a relatively new kid on the real estate block, but it stands out from the crowd in its commitment to disrupt old-school transactional methods and surpass the basic linear solutions many of its competitors offer.

It’s a business approach that spills over into Checkley’s banking needs and preferences – and so in 2021, tired of wrestling with the rigidity of the big banks, he made the move to CWB.

Today, he’s enjoying the advantages of a well-matched financial services partnership built for flexibility and creative problem solving. CWB’s relationship-based banking model now gives him a strategic mix of day-to-day banking solutions and dedicated expert guidance to poise his young company for success through an impressive growth trajectory.

Checkley shares insights about his experience as an entrepreneur – including what he’s learned and why it’s important to work with a bank that understand owners and their businesses.


When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

My parents and friends would probably say my ambition and focus have always made me think and approach things differently than most people. So, I think self-determination in my career and in business was always going to be my path.

Glen Checkley in Calgary office.

Give us a small window into the life of a business owner.

There are always ups and downs – and be prepared for some rough times and late nights. But if you’re in the business you’re meant to be in, and working with the right partners and clients, the fun times will far outweigh the challenging ones. 


What’s the vision behind Tristone?

Tristone began as an idea to create a different kind of commercial brokerage. By leveraging relationships, knowledge, ability, and investing in technology and software, we offer a full- service package focused on property management, leasing, and investment sales. 


What’s surprised you the most about Tristone so far?

Tristone's growth took me by surprise. To give you a picture, we went from having $0 in real estate investment assets under management at the beginning of August 2021 to over $150,000,000 in real estate investment assets under management at the beginning of February 2023. We’re nearing finalization on another $225,000,000 in assets value for property management by the end of February 2023. 

Capitalizing on this kind of growth means being quite ruthless with my time. When you’re poised to grow like this, it requires a lot of discipline. At every given moment you need to be laser-focused on the important things that move the needle.


What are your biggest learnings?

I’ll give you two: The first is to learn to tap into your resiliency when you’re under pressure. The second is that if you believe in a course of action, you’ll be most effective if you think slow (reflect) and act fast (execute).


How do you navigate a commercial real estate business in a volatile economy?

I'm always tuned into the oil markets, interest rates and how they both affect how we do business in Alberta. I also look at volatility as an ongoing opportunity to reposition our business. It’s important to stay alert, stay positive, and

when your gut tells you to act – act.  

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Why did you decide to partner with CWB as your business bank?

We chose CWB because of the bank’s reputation with entrepreneurs. Their understanding of how a brokerage needs to operate and account for funds makes dealing with them a far better experience than with some of the other banks. When we win a deal, we need to open trust accounts quickly. CWB turns those requests around for us in hours versus days.


Having a dedicated CWB Cash Management Team and multiple contacts is also huge benefit. When urgent matters arise, there are multiple people available to assist. It’s a refreshing way for a bank to do business – and it's allowed Tristone to explore other sectors because we know the bank is ready to support our ambitions.

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Any final words of wisdom?

Relationships are so important – so it’s probably no surprise that we decided to partner with a bank that’s known for its focus on client relationships. From an entrepreneurship perspective, whether it’s banking, or customers, or other stakeholders, be sure to invest in your relationships. And be intentional about who you surround yourself with. You never know which relationships will proudly open doors for you – or quietly close others.