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Saturday, 13th April 2024
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A Day in the Life: Donal Courtney, Chief Financial Officer of Capmark Europe Bank and International Rugby Referee Back  
Donal Courtney is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has been chief financial officer of Capmark Europe Bank for the last five years. Capmark is a fully regulated bank by the Irish Financial Regulator and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capmark Finance Group Inc, a US based commercial property finance company. The Irish bank is focused on providing finance to the commercial property industry in Europe by the provision of debt and equity products and is a significant issuer of commercial mortgage backed securities(CMBS). Donal is also an international rugby referee in his spare time, and has officiated at Six Nations', European Cup and Magners' league level.
6.30am I get up and go to the gym for a pilates session with fellow international rugby referee Alan Lewis. The session commences at 7am and lasts for approximately one hour. I generally have breakfast after this session and aim to be at the office for 9am, traffic permitting.
Donal Courtney

9.00am to 10am I use this period to catch up with overnight emails of which there can be many given the fact that Capmark's head offices are in both Philadelphia and San Francisco so there is a significant time difference to manage. Also I use this time to set up any required conference calls for later in the day with my US colleagues so that they can assess their availability when they get into the office. I also use this time to chat with the staff, of which I have eight, to discuss priorities and requests for work from both our UK originations office and the group finance team in the US.
10am to 12.30pm Every two weeks we have a European senior management team meeting. The agenda for this meeting can vary but on a monthly basis I will give a presentation about the European financial performance. This generally focuses on a business unit analysis of financial performance versus budget and versus forecast. We have four main business units within our European operation as follows: lending, equity investing, asset management, and servicing. The purpose of my presentation is to focus on key transaction events that have happened within a month and their financial impacts and also to provide the business unit leaders with a snap shot of where they are vis a vis their original budgets and identify any trends of either a positive or negative nature.

The meeting also includes a presentation by each of the business leaders where they themselves explain what is happening in their respective businesses and also what is happening in their respective markets. This is useful in that I can pick up on specific future transactions and this helps me deal with any specific potential future accounting, taxation or regulatory issues. This meeting is generally followed by a sandwich lunch.

12.30pm to 2.00pm I use this time to prepare for afternoon conference calls and read emails that have arrived during the morning.

2.00 to 3.00pm A 'pipeline' meeting to discuss transactions on a case by case basis. We typically divide these into the following specific categories:

1. Transactions approved but not closed. We will discuss when transactions will fund and what is required vis a vis closing documents in order to close and fund a loan to a borrower.
2. Transactions which have been approved at a 'heads up stage' but have not yet gone to credit. Here the focus is on what remains to be done to bring a transaction to credit and when this is likely to happen or indeed the transaction may have gone away since 'heads up' due to competition and there will be a discussion as to why this may have happened.
3. Potential new transactions. The lending team will discuss what new transactions they are working on and give an indication of when they are likely to be in a position to formally present at 'heads up' stage.

3.00 pm to 4.00pm Meeting and conference call with local staff and head office finance team, to discuss the UK/IFRS/US GAAP and regulatory implications of our latest co pooled securitisation offering. This meeting will also be attended by Rory Conway, our head of regulatory. We discuss FAS 140 true sale issues and focus on the make up of the trust vis a vis swaps. In addition, we focus on the structure which needs to be explained to the Financial Regulator in order for us to be in a position to claim capital relief on the assets sold to the securitisation trust. The discussion also focuses on the concept of servicer advances. This is something that Capmark has been developing and is led by Robbie Hughes, the managing director of our servicing operation based in Mullingar.

4.00pm to 5.00pm I chair the ALCO committee of the bank and we have a meeting every two weeks. There is a set agenda for the meeting and it is attended by our treasurer, head of credit, head of operations, head of regulatory and also a number of our US treasury colleagues. The meeting focuses primarily on the funding position of the bank, the pipeline for funding transactions for the next three months and also on the derivative positions we hold in terms of interest rate and FX positions.

5.00pm to 6.30pm I use this time to catch up on the further email traffic and also to discuss with Paul McDowell (Financial controller) about any matters of concern that have arisen during the day. I also discuss the days events with Peter Kearney, the bank president, and we have a general discussion on any matters from his perspective he feels relevant for me. In particular we have up coming board meetings and we discuss what presentations are required and who will present what.

I generally try to leave the office at around 6.30pm to battle the traffic to Blackrock.

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