Mortgage Observer

Walker & Dunlop Launches Commercial Property Funding Business at MBA Orlando Conference

From right to left: Tim Koltermann, Sandor Biderman, Brian Casey

Earlier this evening Walker & Dunlop unveiled the launch of Walker & Dunlop Commercial Property Funding, LLC, the company’s new specialty finance joint venture with Fortress Investment Group, which it first announced in November 2013.

“This is a big day for us,” Tim Koltermann, the division’s newly appointed CEO, told a room of attendees at the Mortgage Bankers Association‘s 2014 CREF/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla. “As the company has grown, the need for the company to change has come. We’re going to be aggressively expanding to meet the needs of borrowers throughout the country.” Read More

Mortgage Observer

Life Companies Are Back and Strategically Competing Against Big Banks. Here’s How.

Illustration by Thomas Pitilli.

It’s easy to see why life companies continue to plow money into commercial and multifamily real estate mortgages: They have provided strong returns, inflicted virtually no losses and match up perfectly with their long-term liabilities.

“Mortgages have proven to be really good, solid investments for life companies,” said Robert Merck, head of real estate investors for MetLife, the top life insurer in this space and the subject of a longer profile in this month’s Mortgage Observer. Read More

Mortgage Observer

MetLife’s Robert Merck Poised for Another Good Year as Competition Heats Up for Life Insurance Lenders

Robert Merck

Robert Merck is still trying to score his first hole in one in golf, he told Mortgage Observer one recent afternoon, half in jest. In addition to this more leisurely goal is another involving slightly higher stakes: to maintain MetLife’s position as the top life insurance lender in the U.S., while growing the company’s dealings overseas.

To that effect, 2013 has been a solid year for Mr. Merck, with several more multihundred-million-dollar deals under his belt. The senior managing director and head of MetLife’s real estate debt and equity businesses is on track to see his team’s origination performance meet or exceed 2012’s $9.6 billion as he spends his 31st year with the New York-based life insurance company. Read More

Mortgage Observer

In Development


Doug Stern had a real estate dream. In his early 40s, after years in private equity and managing his family’s commercial real estate properties, he longed for a career change and a development project on his own. His mission became clear in Bayonne, N.J., where, he said, he fell in love with the former headquarters of the intimate apparel company Maidenform. Located two blocks from the Hudson-Bergen light rail 22nd Street station, the four-story, 94,000-square-foot brick complex—over 100 years old—was familiar to generations of Bayonne residents, many of whom had worked there until the company moved to Iselin, N.J. in 2007. Mr. Stern saw the potential for the historic, vacant property into a Brooklyn-style 99-unit residential building.

Although he could buy the building, he figured that he needed upward of $20 million in construction financing to redevelop it. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Competition Hot in Multifamily


Record-low mortgage rates have helped to fuel the nation’s refinancing activity for residential homes. In July, the number of mortgage applications filed hit a three-year high. Freddie Mac also reported that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.49 percent for the week ending July 26.

Likewise, attractive rates are fueling financing in the multifamily market, where financing for low-leveraged rental buildings has reached its lowest levels in decades. The result? Fierce competition among lenders looking to provide financing for the asset class, particularly in the Big Apple. Read More

Mortgage Beat

CWCapital Sale to Walker & Dunlop Completed, Berman to Leave After Transition

Willy Walker.

Walker & Dunlop said on Tuesday that it has completed its purchase of CWCapital. The completion of the deal, which was announced back in June, makes Walker & Dunlop one of the largest commercial real estate lenders in the United States. At the same time, it illuminated the role that Michael Berman, CWCapital’s CEO, will play now that the acquisition is complete. Read More

Mortgage Beat

Commercial Mortgage Delinquency Rates Fall

Jamie Woodwell.

Chandan Economics and the Mortgage Bankers Association released data last week that points to continued improvements in the commercial real estate market.

Chandan released its Q2 2012 Bank CRE Default and Lending Report, which analyzed second quarter call report data. This data showed that the default rate on commercial mortgages held by banks  had fallen to its lowest level since the middle of 2009—to 3.11 percent. This marked a 34 basis point drop when compared to the previous quarter. Read More

Mortgage Beat

Trepp: CMBS Delinquency Rate at High, But May Drop Soon

Manus Clancy.

CMBS loans 30-plus days delinquent continued their steady upward march in June, rising to a new all-time high of 10.16 percent for the month of June 2012, according to Trepp. As of now, $59 billion in the loans are delinquent, excluding loans past their balloon dates but current in interest payments.

Driving the upward trend are the huge numbers of CMBS loans packaged and issued in 2007. Read More