Leading in Tough Times: Charles Krawitz, Chief Capital Markets Officer & Head of Commercial Lending, Alliant Credit Union

Throughout the month of August, Connect CRE is running a series titled “Leading in Tough Times.” We’ve asked leaders around the U.S. and across the commercial real estate spectrum to share their wisdom and discuss lessons learned. In this installment, you’ll hear from Charles Krawitz,, chief capital markets officer & head of commercial lending, Alliant Credit Union.

Q: What leadership lessons have been taught by the experience?

A: There is a tendency to get caught up in headlines and to allow the news of the moment to have an oversized impact on both short-term decisions and longer-term strategy. Taking a longitudinal view of macro and micro factors is never easy in the face of trepidation stemming from a market dominated by unknowns, and a future shrouded in cloudiness. While lessons from the past may not apply to the present, true paradigm shifts are incredibly rare. The prospect of such a shift does, however, make for compelling headlines. Knowing this, leaders should avoid falling into immediacy traps and routinely question the veracity of the news du jour.

At Alliant Credit Union we have assembled a team of highly experienced originations, underwriters, closers and portfolio managers that look well beyond the headlines. This team has won industry accolades and awards by not falling prey to alarmist headlines but rather viewing opportunities in a broader context.

Q: Should lenders head to the sideline during tough times?

A: At the start of my career I authored an article that postulated that timing was more important than location when it came to commercial real estate lending. While ascending markets may feel good, the promise of an ever upward tomorrow causes bad decisions to be made. Inevitably “location, location, location” becomes subsumed by “timing is everything” as markets move through cycles. With this in mind, there is no better time to lend than when capital is scarce and uncertainty rules the roost. This allows for transactional selectivity, conservative loan constructs and pricing that better aligns risk and reward.

Q: What makes you an accomplished leader?

A: I genuinely value others and their insights. By treating my co-workers as colleagues, and never as subordinates, I have been able to foster commitment, ideation, and a culture of ownership. Time and time again, these factors have combined into leading performance.

At Alliant Credit Union I am fortunate to work with highly devoted professionals. Regardless of tenure, opinions are encouraged and individuals are respected.

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