• The 1990s

    James Clayton and JD Diabira were early market participants who saw and understood early in their Canadian banking careers the positive impact and multiplier effect that mortgage credit expansion has on a Country’s economic growth. While James had already founded one retail bank by then (now Bridgewater Bank), the late 1990s saw JD founding Ottawa-based Riskmont Institutional Loans Trading; Canada’s first independent loan portfolio valuation and trading platform. After a decade of successful operations, Riskmont was sold to US Investors in 2011.

  • The 2000s

    Continuing on his successful entrepreneurial endeavors, James left Bridgewater Bank to set up Resmor Trust, a pure-play residential mortgage bank, that in time grew to become one of Canada’s largest nonbank retail mortgage originators, before it was eventually sold to the Royal Bank of Canada. Resmor Trust was an early adopter of mortgage securitization and an early customer of Riskmont’s institutional loans trading business.

    While JD was still busy running and expanding Riskmont, James went on to fund and operate CFF Bank Canada, another residential mortgage lender which was rebranded Home Trust Bank in 2016 (CFF Bank was initially acquired by a Warren Buffet vehicle and sold to Home Trust Bank; Canada’s largest independent trust company.

  • 2011

    In 2011, JD and his partners sold their interest in Riskmont to US investors, but kept what was, since 2002, a wholly-owned subsidiary devoted to commercial real estate lending. The unit was rechristened Westbridge Structured Mortgage Credit.

  • 2014

    Westbridge Structured Mortgage Credit commences operations as Westbridge Mortgage REIT, focused on originating and trading commercial real estate loans in Canada’s nonbank market. The Company was structured as a classic mortgage bank, relying on warehouse lines of credit to fund construction loans to developers in the apartment, student housing, mixed-use and medical building segments.

  • 2017

    In August 2017, Westbridge made its first bank acquisition overseas; taking a 52% stake in BHCI Bank, the housing Bank of Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa). The state-run bank had been undercapitalized for most of its 20-year existence before the government enlisted the help of storied France-based investment bank, Rothschild & Co. to conduct the privatization. More than a dozen financial institutions participated in the auction before Westbridge was declared the winner in August 2017. Before exiting the investment 3 years later, Westbridge managed to transform BHCI into a modern lender, doubling the bank’s asset base and funding more than 16 major projects. Most notably, Westbridge initiated “Village BHCI”, a 152-house residential development for the bank’s employees, the first of its kind in the housing bank’s 20+ year existence.

  • 2020

    Westbridge further expanded its West Africa footprint through the acquisition of Banque NBM, a failed 26-branch retail bank in Mauritania. The bank was the classic case of self-dealing and fraud on a massive scale before it was taken over by the Central Bank of Mauritania. Westbridge’s acquisition of the bank occurred at the invitation of the Central Bank.

    Separately, in the same year, Westbridge also acquired MCL Leasing, an equipment financing entity founded in Mauritania in 2014. MCL Leasing is gradually expanding to become Westbridge’s equipment finance arm throughout the continent. MCL Leasing initial focus is working with Canadian mining groups operating in Africa.

    Westbridge Commodities Trading is a Westbridge’s subsidiary focused on trading agricultural products, minerals and metals and fertilizers. Westbridge Commodities Trading’s mission includes opening up African markets to Canadian products and know-now.

    In late 2020 we consolidated all of our African operations into a holding company; Westbridge Rwanda, based in the KIFC (the Kigali International Financial Centre).

  • 2021

    2021 saw the successful closing of our first acquisition in Rwanda. The newly acquired institution a decade-old entity being sold by its original investors. Once all regulatory approvals have been secured, the institution’s entire focus will be on originating retail and commercial mortgages and help expand Rwanda’s retail mortgage loans market, through world-class credit underwriting and secondary market sales and securitization.

    Westbridge Capital Markets is being formed in late 2021 to better take advantage of Rwanda’s new capital markets regulations pertaining to securitization and REIT formation. Westbridge Capital Markets’ mandate is to help spur growth in the regional mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market.
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