CRE V Michigan

Dennis Bernard: Balancing family and commercial real estate

Dennis Bernard is justly proud of his many career accomplishments. He’s successfully run his commercial mortgage banking firm, Southfield, Mich.-based Bernard Financial Group, since founding the company in 1991. Today, it is one of the most important sources of commercial financing in the Midwest, having financed more than $6.2 billion for its many clients.

Dennis Bernard, president of Bernard Financial Group, last year made the first class of Midwest Real Estate News' soon-to-be-annual Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. As you read his profile, we're sure you'll understand why.

Dennis Bernard Position: President Company: Bernard Financial Group Location: Southfield, Mich.

Dennis Bernard is justly proud of his many career accomplishments. He’s successfully run his commercial mortgage banking firm, Southfield, Mich.-based Bernard Financial Group, since founding the company in 1991. Today, it is one of the most important sources of commercial financing in the Midwest, having financed more than $6.2 billion for its many clients.

But what’s Bernard most proud of? The fact that he makes it home for dinner each evening with his family, and that he spends his weekends at home, too.

Bernard understands that career success is terrific. But he also realizes that making time for family and friends is equally important to a well-rounded life.

This might be why Bernard Financial Group is such a good place to work. Bernard stresses, too, that his employees need to have a life outside the job. In a business as competitive as commercial real estate, this fact sometimes falls to the wayside.

“There are many talented professionals in this business. But Dennis stands apart from them all in his ability to remain committed to his family and outside interests while building a thriving mortgage banking business,” said one nominator. “He’s found the balance that so many others are striving to attain.”

Bernard has proven that you don’t have to care only about work to have a successful career in the commercial real estate industry. Bernard’s own success provides plenty of evidence.

Before founding Bernard Financial Group in 1991 and Bernard Financial Servicing Group in 1993, Bernard worked as a vice president and branch manager for Cushman & Wakefield’s Financial Service Group in Detroit. From 1988 until the day he left, Bernard impressed his peers at Cushman with both his abilities and his dedication to his craft.

He’s now spent more than 25 successful years in this business, turning Bernard Financial Group and Bernard Financial Servicing Group into the state’s largest commercial mortgage banking firm.

Others in the industry have recognized Bernard’s impact on Michigan’s commercial industry. Because of this, he’s been a lecturer on real estate finance at the University of Michigan’s Graduate School of Business. He’s also appeared as an expert witness on real estate interest rates and financing in Michigan, New York and Texas.

Of course, there’s also that home life to brag about. Bernard isn’t about to change his priorities: No matter what’s for dinner, he’ll be there. And when the weekends arrive, he’ll be around, too. It’s all about making time for the important things.