Spotlight Series: George Khoury

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Assetline Capital’s Managing Director of Construction and Development Finance, George Khoury is all about action.  He learned what it takes to get things built early in his career, and loves seeing great development opportunities through to conclusion.

We asked George to share what drives his passion for development finance and what construction lending means to him.

Spotlight Series Profile George Khoury
What attracted you to work in property and construction finance?

I was exposed to some really interesting property transactions at a young age, and found my passion for it. As an 18 year old, I would read planning maps and Development Control Plans. I quickly understood that finance is the backbone of development, and got a job with a large developer helping them source capital. It was a great opportunity for me, and I ran with it.

Construction lending means lending to a process, not a product. To achieve a successful outcome for the broker, builder and the business, you need to know what’s going on at every point.

You’ve come a long way since then, and are now Managing Director of Construction and Development Finance at Assetline Capital – what excites you most about this opportunity?

I’ve seen how our business has evolved in recent years to become a sophisticated set up that’s already settled over 1,000 deals. We’ve quietly been achieving great things, and I think it’s time we shared some of the great stories. People are often surprised by the capabilities of our team – we have expertise in quantity surveying, town planning, architecture and development management. Our borrowers are able to turn these great resources into their advantage.

How do you work as a team to problem solve for developers?

For me, it is all about operational excellence and problem solving. I head up the construction lending side of the business, and that means lending to a process, not a product. To achieve a successful outcome in construction lending, you need to know what’s going on at every point.

We have a partnership mindset – working closely with the borrower to provide support at every stage of the process. That might mean visiting projects frequently, tracking development milestones, and cross-checking builds to mitigate any delays in obtaining occupation certificates.

Problem solving is also about accountability. We do what we say we are going to do, and we expect the same from our borrowers and brokers. They know we are a lender they can work with to find solutions to complex scenarios – because we all know there will be challenges, and as long as everyone is transparent upfront, we can manage the risk effectively.

What do you love most about what you do every day at Assetline Capital?

Every day is different – you’re never doing the same thing, there are always challenges and problems to be solved. Seeing the outcomes is what makes it all worthwhile. We can see the impact for developers and the end users or property buyers. It’s always a win-win-win; for the borrower, their customers and for us.

For example, a recent deal that meant a lot to me was with a café owner in Bondi with limited development experience, and the decisions he had made were effectively costing him money. From the first day we met him, we worked with him to get his project over the line. For us, it’s not just about providing the capital. We helped him value engineer the site, get a new DA, and helped him shape his exit strategy. He walked away with significant equity. It has had a life-changing impact on him and his business.

What has been a highlight so far in your career?

Sitting in our loan book review meeting every week makes me realise just how far this business has come. Right now we have over 80 construction loans, and it’s a part of the business that only started three years ago.

Did your family instil any values in you that still guide you today?

My dad always used to say, ‘we’re not better, we’re different’. Our family is always about doing the right thing. My parents arrived in Australia in the 1970s, and they understood the importance of treating everyone with respect so you can hope to get that respect back. I think we’ve engrained that with our staff, because that is how we build strong relationships with our brokers and borrowers.

If a colleague was asked to sum you up in one word, what would it be?

Busy! I’m the person in the office who doesn’t sit still. There is always something happening that I want to get involved in and add value.

If you’re interested in discussing construction loan scenario with George, please get in touch or reach out to him on LinkedIn.

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