Client Spotlight - Aaron Parker01.12.2023
It all began in 2006 when Aaron Parker acquired 20,000 square-foot office building in San Francisco’s Jackson Square district. The building needed to be gutted, seismically retrofitted, renovated, and re-tenanted. Two years later, the project was complete, and Parker’s building was operational and full. But the Great Recession had arrived, and commercial lending had entered a state of meltdown. When Parker tried to replace his construction loan with a conventional one, he came up dry.
“In those years,” Parker said, “many lenders were taking losses and didn’t want to lend to small commercial landlords like me.” He kept the building afloat for the next three years with bridge loans, an expensive way of “punting” until the right financing became available again. Then, in 2011, he established a business relationship with maverick Hitesh Bajaria. “The economy seemed to finally be coming out of the recession,” Parker said, “and Hitesh was different from other bankers. He understood me and my business, and was ready to finance the building.”
But then, just as the loan terms were taking shape, Parker and Bajaria each had their last brush with the recession. Many banks in 2011 were still getting consolidated – and Bajaria’s was one of them. In the same month, two of Parker’s office tenants went bankrupt. “I thought I had finally solved a three year problem,” Parker said, “but it didn’t come to pass until the end of the year.” In the middle of 2011, Bajaria joined Bank of Guam, now TASI®, and Parker replaced his bankrupt tenants. They were then finally ready to begin what Parker today calls a lifelong, and life-changing, banking relationship. Now, more than a decade later, Parker declares that not only is TASI Bank his bank, he feels part of the ‘familia.’”
“I feel it when I do business and at TASI events that I attend. It’s a night and day difference to my interactions with other banks.”
Soon after Parker joined the TASI ‘familia’ as a client, Jesus Leon Guerrero, grandson of the bank’s founder, joined the bank. He and Parker saw a little of themselves in each other and soon became friends. “Jesus was young and so was I. We were ‘kids’ when we met, trying to make it work, for him in banking and for me in commercial real estate. Even though Jesus has moved his base of operations for TASI to Southern California, he is my banker and my friend.”
The Chamorro spirit (aka “familia”) that Bank of Guam and TASI Bank exude, combined with a maverick approach to working with customers, has proved to be a perfect match for Parker. “It’s one thing to claim that you’re a maverick,” says Jesus Leon Guerrero, TASI Bank vice president, relationship manger. “And it’s another to turn that philosophy into something that benefits your customers. Aaron is a perfect example of how our maverick decision to stick with him became a major factor in his continuing success. That’s what a familia-based business does.”
TASI went out on a limb because it believed in Parker, which is what a maverick bank does. He was a small commercial landlord when he met TASI, but now is becoming a larger one. His most recent acquisition was a 100,000 square foot office building in Sacramento, and yet remains a loyal and satisfied customer of TASI bank.