First National Bank


Black swan events are bad for business—especially banks. The financial crisis of 2007 wrecked First National Bank of Arizona’s (FNBA) bold plans for a national mortgage lending platform, leaving its leaders scrambling to mitigate expenses and close the office in Charlotte, where they recently signed a long-term 25,000 SF Class-A office lease.


Cardinal orchestrates a fast “win-win-win” deal with the client, a new tenant, and the landlord to get FNBA off the hook.


In 2006, FNBA made a bold move into North Carolina and leased a 25,000 SF regional headquarters on the top floor of a new Ballantyne tower. About 18 months into the lease, the financial crisis hit, and the bank retreated to Arizona. 

They hired Cardinal to mitigate the fallout from what was looking like a bad decision by the bank’s leadership. Using our Prepared to Win-Win™️ Negotiation Worksheet, Cardinal provided a thorough assessment of the executives’ interests and those of the landlord and a sub-tenant. 

The exercise stimulated discussion at the table, identified strong alternatives, and generated a novel proposal. The result was that the landlord tore up the lease, and the client paid less than half of what it was prepared to pay to make the problem go away.

Excess space Vacant and expensive
Great Recession Glut of subleases
Sensitive project Regulators watching
Blight on bank’s image Leadership regrets past decision

Project Highlights

Strong-credit subtenant landed faster than client’s expectations
FNBA reversed a $1B write-down
Saved 50% of the client lease mitigation budget
In a time where an expedient resolution to finding a tenant to occupy our space in order to offset our expenses was crucial to our organization, I found Cardinal’s dedication to First National Bank of Arizona to be refreshing. You gave me the impression that we were truly your only client.
Ted Turner, RPA/FMA, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate Manager, First National Bank of Arizona
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