The 50 Most Important People in Commercial Real Estate Finance


It was a year of record-breaking prices, resurgent loan volumes and headline-grabbing mergers and acquisitions. And once again, we dug through public records and talked to dozens of industry experts to assemble our third annual list of the 50 Most Important People in Commercial Real Estate Finance. It’s our subjective take on who ruled the roost in the last year.

Some big players have left their roles or winded down their dealmaking, while many have ramped up lending or branched out into new products, building on the momentum of the recovery, which has by now morphed into a red-hot market for many asset classes. This year’s list includes both new and familiar faces, and as with our previous lists, many of them come in pairs or teams (this time, limited to two). We did our best to weigh hard numbers against the intangibles—stature and influence. Those can’t be underestimated in an industry that, as we are always told, is based on relationships.—Damian Ghigliotty and Guelda Voien

SEE ALSO: Jim Dillavou Talks Lincoln Property Retail Expansion at ICSC

Additional reporting by Jane K. Callahan, Adrienne Gaffney and Lauren Elkies Schram

2. Jonathan Pollack
Global Head of Commercial Real Estate and Head of Risk for Structured Finance at Deutsche Bank

Matt Borstein
Head of Commercial Real Estate North America at Deutsche Bank

Mr. Pollack and his team of lenders at Deutsche Bank, including recently promoted Matt Borstein, made headlines again in 2014 with several standout deals and another first-place finish in the CMBS race.

The German financial behemoth led the U.S. CMBS field with $23.5 billion in issuance, up from $18.5 billion in 2013 and $9 billion in 2012—making it the top bookrunner nationally and globally over the past four years, according to industry reports.

Kicking off 2015, Deutsche Bank served as the sole manager on a $1.34 billion acquisition loan to Ivanhoe Cambridge for its $2.2 billion purchase of 3 Bryant Park—marking the largest single-manager, single-asset financing ever done in New York City.

Over the summer, Mr. Pollack and his team provided a $900 million loan against New York investor Rubin Schron’s lucrative nursing home business. The deal, which Deutsche Bank structured and led, reopened a new-issue market for skilled nursing that had remained largely dormant since the financial crisis.

In March 2014, the bank originated a $250 million senior construction loan to a joint venture between the Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group for the first phase of development at Hudson Yards, budgeted at $1.1 billion.

In the same month, Mr. Pollack and his team oversaw the origination of a standalone $300 million, floating-rate loan collateralized against Bloomberg L.P.’s headquarters at 731 Lexington Avenue. The entirely AAA-rated deal proved to be a major hit with investors and underscored Deutsche Bank’s ability to lead CMBS transactions in New York’s highly competitive trophy asset market.

Among other standout deals in the last 12 months, the company provided a $1.25 billion loan to Brookfield Office Properties for the development of One Manhattan West, a $750 million loan against the Stahl Organization’s 277 Park Avenue and a $500 million loan against Related’s Time Warner Center.

“Deutsche Bank has continued to build on our prior success, and in 2014 we made a clean sweep of the five league tables for private-sector CMBS, the first time this has ever been done,” Mr. Pollack told Mortgage Observer. “We are proud of our market leadership in issuance, innovation and product mix. Our competitive advantage centers on structural creativity, speed of execution and expertise across all property types and markets.”
3. Barry Sternlicht
Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group and Starwood Property Trust

As founder of Starwood Capital Group, parent of Starwood Property Trust, the nation’s largest publicly traded commercial mortgage REIT, Mr. Sternlicht remained an outsize presence in commercial real estate in 2014.

Starwood Property Trust closed more than $7 billion in transactions last year and the carrying value of the lending segment’s portfolio was $6.1 billion—an increase of 44 percent from $4.5 billion in the same period in 2013 (the numbers reflect the first three quarters of each year).

Starwood Property Trust was behind the $200 million refinancing of London’s Aldgate Tower, the $480 million mortgage and mezzanine loan for the construction of a mixed-use skyscraper at San Francisco’s 181 Fremont Street and a mortgage of $264.2 million for the development of Marblehead luxury residential development in San Clemente, Calif.

The firm also took on its first core plus equity investment last year, putting $150 million toward a co-investment in a partnership designed to purchase and run four shopping malls. “We made considerable progress [in 2014], growing and diversifying our investment portfolio, reflecting our continued ability to source transactions that provide our shareholders with attractive risk adjusted returns in a yield-starved environment,” said Mr. Sternlicht in a statement to Mortgage Observer. “We also enhanced our management team with the additions of Jeff DiModica, Christian Dalzell and Carl Tash. Each has brought a fresh perspective to our investment and financing processes, and will play an integral role in supporting our next phase of growth.”

4. Alan Wiener
Group Head of Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital

It was a banner year, as real estate roared back, and Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital rode the wave. Mr. Wiener and his team last year lent double their 2013 total—handling $8 billion in debt in 2014, he told Mortgage Observer.

“We are starting to do more balance sheet lending,” said Mr. Wiener, who helms one of the country’s largest multifamily lending practices. “We have access to a big balance sheet and we have a real comfort doing it.”

The University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown law school graduate has helmed that multifamily business since 2006 (with Wachovia prior to its acquisition by Wells Fargo).

Among the deals Mr. Wiener and team completed in 2014 was the $230 million permanent financing of Silverstein Properties’ River Place, the luxury high-rise rental on 42nd Street between 11th and 12th avenues. They also refinanced Chelsea’s Emerald Green, a Glenwood Management multifamily project, to the tune of $260 million.

The Durst Organization scored a $411.5 million construction loan from a group of lenders led by Wells Fargo and Bank of New York Mellon, last October, to finance the development of its tetrahedron-shaped rental tower at 625 West 57th Street.

In the outer boroughs, Wells Fargo lent $325 million to refinance of the Parkchester, a Bronx housing complex, and arranged a $200 million Fannie Mae loan for TF Cornerstone’s 584-unit apartment building on Center Boulevard in Long Island City, the final building in the massive East Coast project.

Mr. Wiener has also served as the area manager of the New York office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as an assistant to the mayor of the City of New York and as a deputy commissioner in the city’s housing department.
5. Ralph Herzka
Chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group

Aaron Birnbaum
Executive Vice President of Meridian Capital Group

The Meridian Capital Group founding members, alongside partners Avi Weinstock and Jeff Weinberg, had a record 2014, brokering more total debt and equity than in any year prior. Messrs. Herzka and Birnbaum oversaw the closing of $30 billion of financing across the U.S. last year, up from $25.8 billion in 2013, the Manhattan-based company confirmed.

In total, Meridian negotiated 3,477 loans with 175 different lenders, averaging $120 million per business day.

Deals of note in 2014 included the $737 million in acquisition financing for the six-property multifamily Putnam portfolio, the $700 million financing for the acquisition of the leasehold interest in the Mobil Building at 140 East 42nd Street, and the $261.3 million in permanent financing for Roosevelt Island’s 1,107-unit Manhattan Park.

“While leadership in the small and middle markets remains Meridian’s hallmark, in 2014 we closed more than two dozen single-asset transactions in excess of $100 million,” Mr. Herzka said. “Our institutional and large loan practice is growing rapidly and, given the talent and relationships we have accumulated, we are bullish on our ability to grow volume and service levels across our markets.”

Mr. Birnbaum, who oversees Meridian’s commercial, conduit and structured finance platforms, noted that while many associate the 24-year-old firm most closely with New York multifamily deals, Meridian has expanded its footprint in other markets.

“We are active nationally, as evidenced by the $300 million construction loan obtained for the Faena District hotel and condominium project in Miami, the $210 million in CMBS acquisition financing we negotiated for the Beverly Connection retail center in Los Angeles, and the $142 million acquisition financing we arranged for the Southfield Town Center office property in Southfield, Mich.,” he told Mortgage Observer.
6. Raymond Qiao
First Vice President at Bank of China

Bank of China’s New York branch went full speed ahead in 2014. The banking team, led by Mr. Qiao, shifted its strategy to focus more aggressively on big multifamily deals.

And they succeeded—among their transactions last year was a $539 million loan with the New York State Housing Finance Agency for the Moinian Group’s 605 West 42nd Street, an 80/20 development. The bank also provided $480 in construction financing for Brookfield Properties’ Manhattan West residential tower, and a $260 million loan for Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.’s $365 million purchase of Avalon Chrystie Place in Lower Manhattan. (Ullico served as a lending partner on the first two deals.)

“The office market is too competitive, pricing-wise, and is also very expensive,” Mr. Qiao told Mortgage Observer. “We see more opportunity in residential right now.”

While making the bigger push into the city’s red-hot multifamily market, Bank of China still has an appetite for particular office deals. Last year, Mr. Qiao and his team took part in a $575 million club deal with HSBC, Union Bank, Germany’s Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and Germany’s DekaBank to refinance Vornado Realty Trust’s Two Penn Plaza.

In Chicago, Bank of China in January took a $120 million senior portion of Mesa West Capital’s $220 million refinancing on the conversion of 1000 West Fulton Market, where Google will move soon, according to a broker who eyed the deal.

Consistent with previous years, Mr. Qiao estimates that the bank lent between $2 billion and $3 billion in 2014 and will do so again in 2015.

“Every year we put out a few billion dollars,” he said. “We never get too aggressive.”
7. James Carpenter
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer at New York Community Bank

As the head of lending at New York Community Bank, Mr. Carpenter saw earnings of $485.4 million in 2014, putting the bank $9.9 million over 2013’s total. At the same time, his team lent $9.34 billion on commercial and multifamily properties in the last year, while increasing the bank’s total commercial real estate portfolio by 11.7 percent to $31.74 billion, from $28.42 billion the year prior.

As a result, NYCB again ranked as New York City’s most active commercial real estate lender by both dollar and deal volume, city data aggregated by Actovia shows. The bank also flexed its muscles in other regions outside of the five boroughs, including Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Notable deals for Mr. Carpenter’s team last year included a $107 million loan for a 351-unit luxury housing development at Williamsburg’s 101 Bedford Avenue and a $92.2 million mortgage for Pa.-based Lindy Communities’ purchase of the Towers at Wyncote, a high-end apartment complex in Wyncote, Pa.

NYCB also provided a Coney Island Mitchell-Lama cooperative $200 million toward the refinance of an existing underlying mortgage and major capital improvements, according to the bank. “We experienced exceptional growth in 2014, which is a testament to the strength of the relationships we’ve developed over the years and our long-term commitment to commercial real estate and multifamily finance, particularly in the New York City metro market,” Mr. Carpenter told Mortgage Observer.

“We were able to achieve these results while remaining true to our underwriting models and despite competitive pressures to be more aggressive,” said the banking executive, who came into his current role in January 2006.
8. Michael Nash
Chief Investment Officer of BREDS and Executive Chairman at Blackstone Mortgage Trust

Since joining Blackstone in 2007, Mr. Nash has transformed Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies into a household name in the commercial real estate lending arena. And 2014 was another active year for BREDS, with total loan originations in North America and Europe of $6.5 billion—an increase of 55 percent from 2013, when that total was $4.2 billion.

In 2014, BREDS provided Fort Capital with a $290 million construction loan for the Four Seasons Surf Club condominium and hotel development in Surfside, Fla. The project boasts 153 luxury condos and 80 hotel rooms. BREDS II, a fund that makes high-yield commercial real estate loans, lent a $100 million mezzanine piece on the Diplomat Hotel in August, in connection with the acquisition by Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties of the Hollywood, Fla., lodge. In Europe, BREDS provided KSL Capital with £315 million of acquisition financing for the De Vere Villages resort portfolio, which consists of 28 hotels in the U.K.

In November, Mr. Nash's team provided a $600 million construction loan to the Howard Hughes Corporation for the construction of two luxury condo towers in Honolulu—the first phase of a $10 billion project currently underway in Hawaii.
9. George Klett
Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Commercial Real Estate Committee at Signature Bank

Signature Bank’s head of commercial real estate lending showed no signs of slowing down in 2014. Under Mr. Klett’s leadership, the New York bank closed $4.2 billion among 983 loans, up from $4 billion among 1,120 loans in 2013.

The bank’s outstanding commercial real estate debt totaled $12.5 billion as of Dec. 31, 2014, up from $9.5 billion the year prior. As a result, Signature ranked as the second busiest multifamily lender in the city last year, according to city data culled by Actovia.

Mr. Klett, a 41-year industry veteran, holds a hallowed spot among New York’s banking elite—an effect that one of his competitors described as “the cult of Klett.” Signature also keeps all of its loans on its portfolio, a testament to the bank’s commitment to long-term borrowers.

“It’s all about relationships,” said Mr. Klett, who assumed his current role in 2007. “In any given business, you must know your client and product and deliver great service. We know the metro New York area market intimately, which affords us the ability to make quick decisions and close loans more efficiently.

“If the subway doesn’t go there, we don’t lend on it,” he added.

Signature’s top deals in 2014 include a $210 million debt package on six multifamily buildings on the Upper East Side and a $72 million loan on a 17-story rental building on West 45th Street in Manhattan for a client with whom Mr. Klett has maintained a 30-year relationship.

“We close loans anywhere from $500,000 to $75 million,” the executive vice president told Mortgage Observer. “Despite size, we are there for our clients day in and day out.”

10. Brian Baker
Managing Director, Global Head of Commercial Mortgages at J.P. Morgan Securities

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s CMBS guru saw his firm’s origination volume grow to $15.4 billion in 2014, up from $13.8 billion in 2013. Both nationally and globally, J.P. Morgan ranked second in CMBS issuance, only to Deutsche Bank, for the fourth year in a row, industry reports show.

Mr. Baker, a member of the bank’s real estate council, has been with J.P. Morgan for 20 years. The Brooklyn native and St. John’s University graduate played a key role in building the firm’s CMBS trading and securitization business.

In the past 12 months, Mr. Baker and team have closed a $430 million loan to The Pyramid Companies on Destiny USA—a six-story shopping and entertainment center in Syracuse, N.Y.—as well as a $250 million loan to 150 Amsterdam Avenue Holdings on the Aire multifamily tower at 200 West 67th Street. Last May, they issued a $180 million loan to Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty on 17 State Street in Downtown Manhattan.

“J.P. Morgan’s CMBS business has been a leader in the market over the past five years,” Mr. Baker said. “I’m honored to lead a talented group who helps us maintain a top spot in the market year over year, supporting our clients and their needs.”

11. David Schonbraun
Co-Chief Investment Officer at SL Green Realty Corp.

SL Green began 2014 with a $1.3 billion loan portfolio, and today that clocks in at just north of $1.6 billion. The firm’s gross loan origination volume hit $1.7 billion last year, of which they ended up holding about $800 million, Mr. Schonbraun told Mortgage Observer.

The company made several deals that caught the media’s attention, including the arrangement of the $539 million in financing with the Bank of China that will allow The Moinian Group to complete its 60-story 605 West 42nd Street residential development.

Mr. Schonbraun said the deal, which included $50 million in mezzanine loan interest, gives SL Green the option to take an ownership stake in the asset.

“Our focus is a hundred percent in New York, which is one of our advantages,” said Mr. Schonbraun, who has executed over $25 billion in equity and debt investments during his time with SL Green. “We know the market unlike anyone else ... we know every building in the city. A lot of our deals end up being repeat deals with previous customers because we have the ability to take down entire loans. We give a quote, we understand the deal and we proceed to closing.”

They’re off to a strong start for 2015. In January, the company closed a $142.5 million loan to Silverstein Properties for the acquisition of 514 11th Avenue, a former Mercedes-Benz dealership; Silverstein will turn it into a 900-unit residential skyscraper. Mr. Schonbraum added that the firm managed to close that deal in just a couple of weeks during the holidays.

12. Robert Merck
Senior Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Investments at MetLife

Mr. Merck hit a new high in 2014, his 32nd year with the New York-based life insurance company. MetLife originated $12.1 billion in commercial real estate loans globally last year, a 5.2 percent increase over the $11.5 billion the company lent in 2013.

Mr. Merck and his team at MetLife Real Estate Investors also committed roughly $1.7 billion in equity on real estate in 2014 through direct acquisitions and joint-venture partnerships, according to a company spokesperson. That put them ahead of the pack in the life insurance lending arena.

Despite criticism over MetLife’s size—which resulted in a lawsuit the company filed against the U.S. government—the life lender continued to build on its long-term relationships with prime sponsors in commercial real estate.

Among its top deals in New York, MetLife provided a $225 million loan to Strategic Hotels & Resorts to refinance the JW Marriott Essex House, a $190 million loan on TIAA-CREF’s 685 Third Avenue, and a $138.8 million loan on Park West Village at 400 Central Park West.

Among several major national deals, the company provided a $350 million first mortgage on The Shops at La Cantera in San Antonio and $315 million first mortgage on Galleria Dallas and Westin Galleria Hotel in Dallas.

The largest transaction that MetLife closed in 2014 was a $508 million loan for an overseas portfolio collateralized by three Central London office properties.

“MetLife had a record year in 2014,” Mr. Merck told Mortgage Observer. “Achieving these results in the current environment is a testament to our industry-leading platforms and to our people, who are the best in the business. We look forward to working with our customers and partners in 2015 to produce equally impressive results.”

13. Andrew Farkas
Chairman and CEO of Island Capital Group

Of Island Capital Group’s many subsidiaries, the most noted is surely C-III Capital Partners, one of the largest CMBS investors and special servicers in the U.S. C-III is the special servicer for approximately $130 billion in commercial real estate loans, and the primary servicer for over $16 billion in loans, according to the firm.

Island 's founder, Mr. Farkas, created that company following his exit of Insignia Financial Group in 2003—a firm that went on to become the world’s largest commercial real estate services company through its merger with CBRE.

Through subsidiaries other than C-III, Island also operates funds with over $3.7 billion of assets under management. Clients include some of the largest pension and insurance funds in the nation.

14. Doug Mazer
Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Capital Markets at Wells Fargo

As head of Wells Fargo’s real estate capital markets group, Mr. Mazer led his team through another successful year in 2014, marking its third consecutive year with nearly 15 percent year-over-year growth in loan volume.

Mr. Mazer’s New York City-based team, with six regional offices throughout the U.S., funded $9 billion of CMBS and balance sheet loans, up from $8 billion the year before. They were also the top contributor of CMBS deals by loan count for the third year in a row and remained the third largest U.S. and global CMBS bookrunner, according to the bank.

Wells Fargo wrapped up a number of notable large loans in the last year, including a $400 million CMBS loan for Bank of America Plaza in Los Angeles, a $350 million CMBS loan for St. John’s Town Center, in Jacksonville, Fla., and a $335 million balance sheet loan for the National Industrial Portfolio.

At the same time, Mr. Mazer’s team funded 137 small loan program loans for $503 million, up from 97 loans for $360 million in 2013.

The group also expanded its presence in floating-rate CMBS loan issuance, executing three such deals in 2014, totaling $0.9 billion, compared with one deal in 2013.

15. David Lehman
Global Head of Real Estate Finance at Goldman Sachs Group

Mr. Lehman—who was appointed to his newly expanded role in January 2014 after serving as a managing director and co-head of at Goldman Sachs Group’s mortgage trading desk—has stayed under the radar, but by no means off the field over the last 12 months.

Goldman Sachs ranked fourth among U.S. CMBS bookrunners last year with total originations of an estimated $8 billion, up slightly from 2013, according to industry reports. The multinational investment-banking giant also came in fourth place in global CMBS transactions in 2014.

In his new role, Mr. Lehman plays an important part on the financing side for both residential and commercial deals, a spokesperson for the bank told Mortgage Observer last year.

In May, Goldman Sachs raised $4.2 billion—including leverage—for its second global real estate finance fund, with 50 percent earmarked for Europe. That fund provides additional fuel for Mr. Lehman and his team to finance deals at home in the states.
16. Katy Gnapp
Commercial Real Estate Banking Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Ms. Gnapp, who has been with the bank since 1982, took a step up from her previous position as commercial real estate banking executive for the West region to take the reins of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s commercial real estate banking teams across the U.S.

Last year, the bank closed more than $24 billion of real estate transactions across its platforms.

Ms. Gnapp said that the bank expects modest growth this year, and will continue their “disciplined approach” to servicing clients.

“While the market remains frothy, we are still seeing a lot of activity across the real estate spectrum,” Ms. Gnapp told Mortgage Observer. “However, the abundance of capital is putting downward pressure on structures. We expect this will continue.”
17. Paul Vanderslice
Managing Director and Co-Head of CMBS for Citigroup

New CMBS issuance volume at Citigroup was up 36 percent in 2014, to $6.95 billion, data from the company shows. Meanwhile the total U.S. CMBS market grew by only about 10 percent. Deal volume for the CMBS group also grew—to 21 deals from 17 last year.

In 2014, the firm was the sixth largest bookrunner globally, according to industry reports, and the fifth largest nationally.

“Citi has a long and steady standing in the market and is one of the preeminent franchises in the CMBS business,” Mr. Vanderslice said in a statement to Mortgage Observer. “Citi’s success is based on its ability to originate and to execute.”
18. James Flaum
Global Head of Commercial Real Estate Lending at Morgan Stanley

The 20-year Morgan Stanley veteran took over as the bank’s global head of commercial real estate last fall and has since overseen steady growth in the business.

With a strong footing in New York and a growing presence in Europe, Mr. Flaum’s team lent $15 billion globally in 2014, up from $9 billion the previous year.

The New Jersey native helped start Morgan Stanley’s commercial real estate lending group in 1995 alongside colleague Steven Stern.

After the group dialed back its lending activity in the summer of 2007, Mr. Flaum went over to work in the bank’s real estate investing arm for two and a half years, where he oversaw a $1.5 billion mezzanine fund. He then joined his old team in 2010 to help restart the core commercial lending business.

The move into his new role from U.S. head was a “natural progression” after Mr. Stern took over lending risk across Morgan Stanley, Mr. Flaum told Mortgage Observer.

Among the bank’s biggest New York deals in 2014, Mr. Flaum’s team lent $700 million to David Werner on 150 East 42nd Street, $400 million to General Growth Properties and RXR Realty on 530 Fifth Avenue, and $300 million to SL Green Realty Corp. on 420 Lexington Avenue.
19. Steve Kenny
East Region Real Estate Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Brad Dubeck
Senior Vice President of New York and New Jersey at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Mr. Kenny was named east region executive for commercial real estate banking in March of last year. He was succeeded in his previous role as the top commercial real estate banking executive for New York and New Jersey by Brad Dubeck.

In 2014, Bank of America financed gallerist Larry Gagosian’s purchase of his 11th Avenue outpost with a $48 million mortgage and participated in a syndicated $1.25 billion mortgage to Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Company to refinance the ground below its Saks Fifth Avenue building at 611 Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Kenny joined the bank in 2000. He graduated from Sate University of New York at Plattsburgh.

Mr. Dubeck joined Bank of America in 2005. He has a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and Master of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
20. David Brickman
Executive Vice President and Head of Multifamily at Freddie Mac

John Cannon
Senior Vice President of Production, Sales and Marketing at Freddie Mac

Mr. Brickman and his top executives, including Mr. Cannon, had another strong year in 2014 with $28.3 billion in loan purchase and bond guarantee volume for Freddie Mac’s multifamily business, up 10 percent from $25.9 billion the year prior. The GSE’s K-Deal volume totaled $21.3 billion in 2014, compared with 2013’s record of $28 billion.

“Over the history of the program we’ve done 73 deals and $93 billion,” Mr. Brickman told Mortgage Observer. “For 2015, we expect to issue approximately $25 billion in multifamily securities across 17 to 20 K-Deals.”

The firm also ended 2014 “with zero multifamily credit losses, zero REO properties and only a 4 bps delinquency rate,” he said.

In October, Freddie Mac launched a new platform to purchase and securitize small multifamily loans between $1 million and $5 million on properties with at least five apartment units. That initiative is part of an ongoing effort to support affordable housing preservation and development.

“We believe our initiative will increase liquidity in the small multifamily loan space,” Mr. Brickman said in a prepared statement when the program launched.

Mr. Cannon—Freddie Mac’s “main voice to the origination market,” as his company bio states—has played an increasingly vital role in the GSE’s success, according to several industry insiders.

In that role, Mr. Cannon leads the firm’s production and sales team that purchases conventional multifamily mortgages and manages Freddie’s Program Plus network of lenders. Those lenders include Walker & Dunlop, Arbor Commercial Mortgage and Capital One Multifamily Finance, among others.
21. Jeffrey Hayward
Executive Vice President and Head of Multifamily at Fannie Mae

Michele Evans
Senior Vice President and Multifamily Chief Operating Officer at Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae, the country’s largest source of financing for multifamily housing in the U.S., provided approximately $434 billion in liquidity to the mortgage market in 2014. Fannie Mae provided $28.9 billion in financing to the multifamily market in 2014, with a book of business at year-end of more than $200 billion.

As the main stewards of the enormous multifamily portfolio, Ms. Evans and Mr. Hayward are responsible for helping thousands of Americans find and remain in affordable homes. Over 85 percent of the units financed since 2009 have been affordable housing.

And the multifamily division does loans of all sizes—from a $1 million single-asset loan to a $1 billion structured transaction facility.

Mr. Hayward, a graduate of Widener University, has been with Fannie since 1987. Ms. Evans, a graduate of Tulane University, has been with the GSE since 1992.

Correction: A previous version of this profile misstated that Fannie Mae provided approximately $434 million in liquidity to the mortgage market in 2014. Mortgage Observer regrets the error.
22. Larry Kravetz
Managing Director, Head of CMBS Finance at Barclays Capital

Mr. Kravetz joined Barclays Capital in 2011, one of many hires to come from Lehman Brothers, where he had worked for more than 15 years before its bankruptcy in 2008.

Since expanding its CMBS finance business at that time, the firm has been busy, achieving the No. 8 ranking of both global and U.S. CMBS bookrunners in 2014, according to Commercial Mortgage Alert, and the No. 2 spot among agency CMBS bookrunners.

Barclays lent a total of $4.9 billion in 2014.

Noteworthy transactions included a $400 million floating rate financing of a portfolio of suburban office properties for Blackstone, which Barclays securitized this August. The firm also financed the Miami International Mall for Simon Property Group, a $160 million fixed-rate loan. Lastly, Barclays led the $180 million financing of Queens Atrium for the Feil Organization.

In 2014 the firm also expanded its activity to include facilities for floating rate loans that will ultimately be executed through CLOs, a person familiar with the firm’s business told Mortgage Observer.
23. Rick Lyon
Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Real Estate at Capital One

Ben Stacks
Market Manager, Greater New York Commercial Real Estate Banking at Capital One

After Capital One combined its balance sheet and agency lending groups into one entity—Capital One Multifamily Finance—last year, they wasted no time closing major deals: the new entity placed fifth in total multifamily agency originations in 2014 with loans totaling $3.1 billion. Fannie Mae announced that Capital One ranked first in 2014 for affordable housing loans in its DUS program.

Capital One’s current commercial and multifamily real estate debt portfolio reached $23.1 billion at the close of last year—a 12 percent increase from 2013.

“Bringing them under a single banner enhances our ability to serve clients more efficiently, while signaling to the marketplace that we intend to become an even greater force in the multifamily business,” said Mr. Lyon.

The multifamily finance division expanded its national reach by establishing a new office in Orlando, Fla., and the bank and has been looking to move to West Coast markets as well.

Mr. Stacks, who is responsible for a $6 billion portfolio of loans consisting of construction, permanent and renovation, aided Mr. Lyon in several big New York City deals.

Last year, the two syndicated a $277 million construction loan that allowed Levine Builders to develop the final phase of the Edge development in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and arranged a $165 million, 10-year Freddie Mac loan for TF Cornerstone to refinance 95 Horatio Street, a residential property in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
24. Jeff DiModica
President at Starwood Property Trust

In September, Mr. DiModica took the reins of the nation’s largest commercial mortgage REIT, Starwood Property Trust.

The non-bank balance sheet lender made a number of massive debt deals in 2014, closing $7 billion worth of transactions. In San Francisco they lent developer Jay Paul Company a whopping $480 million in construction funds to continue building 181 Fremont Street, a mixed-use project in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

Prior to joining Starwood Property Trust, Mr. DiModica spent seven years at RBS. He is a graduate of Boston University and received a Master of Business Administration from Dartmouth College.
25. Chad Tredway
Head of Commercial Term Lending East at Chase Bank

It’s been a great year for the Chicagoland native, who oversees a team of more than 130 employees and a rapidly growing portfolio.

Mr. Tredway became the youngest senior manager at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. last spring when he took over as head of Chase Bank’s commercial term lending business for New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., at the age of 30.

In 2014, his group’s pipeline grew to more than $1 billion for the first time in the division’s history.

Chase CTL East’s New York book grew 17 percent year-over-year in 2014, and with several big hires from Santander, People’s United Bank and Massey Knakal, Mr. Tredway has beefed up the bullpen at his Midtown office. Chase ranked as the city’s third largest multifamily lender in 2014, according to data provided by Actovia.

The largest deal Mr. Tredway’s team’s closed last year was a $155 million loan package to Samson Management for a portfolio of 12 multifamily properties in Queens and Westchester County. Chase CTL East also provided a $56.4 million loan to Rockwood Capital for the purchase of four apartment buildings on Manhattan’s East Side.

“The New York market represents a significant growth opportunity for us,” the rising star at Chase told Mortgage Observer. “Our goal is to continue building our business through relationships with strong sponsors.”
26. Gino Martocci
Executive Vice President at M&T Bank

Peter D’Arcy
Regional President for New York City and Long Island at M&T Bank

M&T Bank’s 2014 commercial real estate originations exceeded $6 billion with roughly $2.5 billion of that in New York City. M&T’s commercial loan portfolio now sits at more than $25 billion of debt throughout the Mid-Atlantic, with more than $7 billion allocated to the five boroughs.

With the long-awaited close of the firm’s Hudson City Bancorp purchase—first announced in 2012—M&T’s overall portfolio is projected to grow in 2015, pending regulatory approval.

Among the bank’s notable New York City deals in 2014 was a $250 million loan to TF Cornerstone for the construction of 33 Bond Street in Brooklyn that M&T agented while acting as co-lead for the developer’s massive 606 West 57th Street development. The bank also provided a $95 million construction loan for the Empire Stores conversion on Dumbo’s waterfront, and lent $69 million for the repositioning of RFR Realty’s 90 Fifth Avenue.

“As the market continues to expand, we are mindful that we are getting deeper into this cycle,” Mr. Darcy told Mortgage Observer. “Our business model of sticking with the best operators in the marketplace has been the prime reason we have successfully managed through the ups and downs that are inevitable.”
27. David Durning
President and CEO of Prudential Mortgage Capital

Mr. Durning oversaw Prudential Mortgage Capital’s second highest ever year in terms of originations in 2014. That included over $3 billion in agency loans—Prudential’s highest agency production volume in the company’s history—$7.9 billion in portfolio lending and $900 million in CMBS issuance under the Liberty Island conduit program.

The firm also grew its international presence, closing its first deal in Germany and closing the deal with international assets under management over $2.1 billion.

Just last month, Prudential closed a $228 million refinance of CBRE Dutch Office Fund World Trade Centre, Amsterdam, a fund managed by CBRE Global Investors. The six-year, fixed-rate loan is secured by the World Trade Center office complex in Amsterdam.
28. Simon Ziff
President of Ackman-Ziff

Mr. Ziff’s time in commercial real estate finance began inauspiciously—he replied to a help wanted ad in 1995 for an analyst position at financial brokerage firm Ackman Brothers & Singer. Since then, Mr. Ziff and his colleagues have brokered more than $20 billion of debt, mezzanine and equity financings for prominent developers across the country, and this year alone the firm has closed a total of $6 billion. Always the team player, Mr. Ziff stressed that his accomplishments were “100 percent an Ackman-Ziff team effort.”

The brokerage is expanding across the country as it grows its client base nationally. The company has added employees to investment sales and to its joint venture equity business, counting new hires in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“We did over $2 billion in business in California, our third year over $1 billion,” Mr. Ziff said. “We now have boots on the ground in San Fran and Los Angeles, and our Miami office had its busiest year ever, where we now have nine professionals.”

Last year, Ackman-Ziff oversaw financing for a California multifamily building that netted $1.2 billion in debt and subordinate equity and refinanced a $220 million office building of over 577,000 square feet in Northern Virginia.
29. Willy Walker
Chairman, President and Ceo of Walker & Dunlop

In 2014, Bethesda, Md.-based Walker & Dunlop saw a 26 percent increase in total volume lent at $11.4 billion, up from $8.4 billion in 2013. The firm closed the $145 million refinance of Moanalua Hillside Apartments in Honolulu and a $108 million, 10-year, fixed-rate loan with Fannie Mae for a manufactured housing community refinance in Lakeland, Fla.

Walker & Dunlop also had a great year with its GSE partners. The firm grew its market share with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by 12 percent and 10 percent respectively, making it Fannie’s largest DUS Lender three years in a row.

Near the end of 2014, Walker & Dunlop acquired Johnson Capital’s loan origination and servicing platform. That grew Walker & Dunlop’s originator headcount to 102, up 67 percent from the end of 2013.

The company’s record number of transactions generated $361 million in total revenues for the year.

“Our strong finish turned 2014 into an exceptional year," Mr. Walker told Mortgage Observer. "We grew our annual origination volume for the sixth consecutive year, and established a new benchmark by originating $11.4 billion of commercial real estate loans … with a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent since going public in 2010."

The company has also beefed up its salesforce, establishing new offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., and growing the Boston office. Walker & Dunlop’s servicing portfolio surpassed $40 billion and continues to grow.
30. Robert Verrone
Principal at Ironhound Management Company

You don’t get a nickname like “Large Loan Verrone” for nothing. In 2014, Ironhound Management, the firm established in 2009 by Bear Stearns veteran Mr. Verrone, closed more than $3 billion in business.

Mr. Verrone brokered the $550 million construction loan for Moinian’s 605 West 42nd Street, as well as $125 million against Ashkenazy Acquisition’s 635 Madison Avenue in the last 12 months.

He also nabbed $555 million for The Chetrit Group, backed by four Midtown office properties.

In terms of restructuring, the firm also had a big year: handling the $105 million A/B note restructuring at Fortis Property Group’s NEC America Corporate Center in Irving, Texas, and the $90 million restructuring of loans on Water’s Edge, a corporate office project in Los Angeles developed by Robert Maguire.

Last year also saw Ironhound create IH Capital, a CMBS shop that is partnered with BNY Mellon to originate and securitize commercial loans.

The firm hired 18 people, including Chuck Wolter, formerly of Starwood Mortgage Capital, as CEO, and Ken Dickey, formerly of Deutsche Bank, as originations chief.
31. Matt Galligan
President of CIT Real Estate Finance

CIT Finance capped off three years of rapid growth—since kicking off operations in 2012—with the July 2014 acquisition of the California-based OneWest Bank for $3.4 billion. The firm also made $2.4 billion of commitments last year, up 50 percent from the year before.

Mr. Galligan’s team closed a $60 million loan to Rockwood Capital for a renovation of Torrey Pines Court, a 206,128-square-foot San Diego office complex popular with biotech and software companies on 9.24 acres overlooking the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. The group also refinanced Five Tower Bridge, an eight-floor office building overlooking the river in West Conshohocken, Penn., with a $55 million loan to owner MIM-Hayden Real Estate Fund. CIT also served as lead arranger for $140 million that went to Kushner Companies and KABR Group for a 50-story residential development at 65 Bay Street in Jersey City.

“We’ve shifted from purchases of syndicated debt to more direct transactions with our sponsors,” Mr. Galligan told Mortgage Observer. “You have more of a direct relationship with the clients who are more loyal.”
32. Greg Murphy
Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Finance Americas at Natixis Real Estate Capital

Last year, Mr. Murphy’s team originated $3.5 billion in loans, about two-thirds of which were CMBS and one-third of which were floating-rate, structured bridge loans. In 2013, the firm originated approximately $2.3 billion.

Last June, Natixis closed a $240 million construction loan to complete the redevelopment of 20 Exchange Place, a Financial District office tower formerly known as the City Bank-Farmers Trust Building.

Mr. Murphy said that one of the important factors in Natixis’ growth is the capital backing from Groupe BPCE, France's second largest bank, which has “increased our portfolio limits by more than 35 percent this past year.”
33. Mark Finerman
President of Loancore Capital

Mr. Finerman's firm is capitalizing on the robust real estate market of the moment. LoanCore Capital lent $2.28 billion over the last 12-month period and the firm’s portfolio grew by the end of 2014 to $2.7 billion versus $2.2 billion at the end of 2013.

“We are still having fun,” Mr. Finerman told Mortgage Observer.

The firm’s biggest deals last year include a $200 million floating-rate first mortgage secured by four General Services Administration properties located throughout the United States, a $166.7 million floating-rate financing secured by a mixed portfolio of properties located throughout the United Kingdom and a $160 million first mortgage and mezzanine package secured by retail and office properties in New York City.

The firm also launched a new lending platform in the U.K. in July focused on debt restructuring opportunities.
34. Christopher LaBianca
Managing Director and Head of Originations at UBS

After a year and nine months at UBS, Mr. LaBianca has hit his stride.

“UBS has effectively positioned itself to provide comprehensive real estate financing solutions to its core wealth management clients as well as owners and operators of commercial property nationwide,” Mr. LaBianca told Mortgage Observer.

UBS recently provided a $505 million 10-year fixed-rate loan on Times Square Plaza, at 1500 Broadway, as well as a seven-year fixed-rate loan with $375 million in proceeds for the Hilton Orlando.

MO reported in November that prolific hotelier Sam Chang and Jubao Xie, sponsors of the Holiday Inn Financial District, a full-service hotel at 99 Washington Street, refinanced their debt on the property through a $135 million UBS loan.
35. Gregg Gerken
Head of U.S. Commercial Real Estate Lending at TD Bank

The last 12 months saw TD Bank's portfolio swell to $13.5 billion, up from $12.1 billion at this time last year.

The firm handled over 240 deals with commitments of over $6.3 billion last year including portfolio transactions for Blackstone, Fortress Investment Group and Simon Property Group. “We continue to support existing clients in their endeavors to grow and diversify, whether strategic acquisitions or repositioning of their portfolios,” Mr. Gerken said.
36. Justin Wheeler
CEO of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage

Mark McCool
President of Berkadia Commercial Real Estate Services

Last January, Mr. Wheeler was appointed CEO of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, after serving as interim CEO since Hugh Frater stepped down the previous April. And his leadership so far has produced prodigious results. Berkadia was named the biggest originator of HUD loans in 2014 as well as number two Program Plus Seller according to Fannie Mae, with $4.4 billion in origination. The firm was also the second most active senior housing lender and third most active DUS lender.

As a servicer, Berkadia Commercial Real Estate Services handled $236 billion in commercial loans in 2014—making it the third largest servicer in the country. The firm was also the fourth-largest servicer of commercial loans in U.S. CMBS, CDOs and ABS.

Last May, Berkadia purchased Keystone Commercial Capital, which services more than $2 billion in commercial real estate loans.
37. Sam Giarruso
Head of Commercial Real Estate Lending at BankUnited

The M&T Bank veteran was lured out of retirement in 2013 to helm commercial lending at BankUnited. Since that time, the bank has capitalized on the soaring prices and rising demand for loans in New York City, growing its commercial portfolio by 95 percent last year, with $1.3 billion lent.

The bank’s deals of note in 2014 include a $65 million mortgage on a Downtown Chicago mixed-use project, $49.3 million for a multifamily building in the Windsor Terrace section of Brooklyn and a $49 million loan on a shopping center in Suffolk County, Long Island.
38. Peter Nicoletti
International Director at JLL Capital Markets

Aaron Appel
Managing Director at JLL Capital Markets

Appointed to head debt and equity in New York for JLL in 2010, Mr. Nicoletti has since led his team on a meteoric rise through the city’s debt placement world. With relationships with such blockbuster names as Bruce Ian Eichner and Scott Rechler, Mr. Nicoletti is aiming to steer his team the top. As he told Mortgage Observer last year, “The goal is to be the top equity and debt provider in New York City ... It’s not a long-term plan.”

The plan is coming to fruition: His team sourced $7 billion in debt in 2014. They brokered a $200 million refinance of 101 Sixth Avenue for Edward Minskoff, as well as a $450 million construction loan for the Zeckendorfs’ 520 Park Avenue.

And one of Mr. Nicoletti’s biggest producers is Mr. Appel, a broker who joined last year. In 2014, he did $2.26 billion in deals, including a $390 million loan for Ben Shaoul's condominium conversion of a Lower Manhattan office building to residential.
39. Richard Spengler
Chief Lending Officer and Executive Vice President at Investors Bank

Investors Bank raised $2.2 billion in new capital in May 2014 by completing a second-step stock offering, making the firm a 100 percent publicly traded company. The bank’s commercial real estate lending business seems to benefit—the bank’s portfolio was up nearly 25 percent, from $6.7 billion in 2013 to $8.4 billion in 2014, according to statistics from Investors.

The firm lent a total of approximately $2.7 billion last year, with $1.6 billion of that in loans for multifamily properties and $148.4 million in construction lending.

Recent notable deals include a $52 million adjustable rate mortgage to refinance a 103-unit multifamily building in Downtown Brooklyn at 180 Nassau Street and a $35 million refinance of a Manhattan office building at 220 Fifth Avenue.
40. Stephen Rosenberg
CEO of Greystone

Mr. Rosenberg, who attended dental school before finding real estate finance, helms Greystone, the largest FHA originator by dollar volume in the U.S.

The firm had an impressive 2014: they lent $4.5 billion, up 25 percent from the $3.6 billion they did in 2013 and Greystone’s total CMBS issuance last year was nearly $700 million.

The firm was also the number one small loan Fannie Mae DUS lender in the nation, a representative for the firm said.
41. Josh Zegen
Managing Member and Co-Founder of Madison Realty Capital

Mr. Zegen and team’s laser focus on special situations—such as value-add opportunities or deals with extreme time constraints—has worked to their advantage.

In addition to developing properties, MRC did $700 million in lending and debt acquisition in 2014, up from about $500 million in that segment the year before, Mr. Zegen told Mortgage Observer.

Last year, MRC provided $81 million in financing for 55 Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where developers will build a 260,000-square-foot mixed-use property with restaurants, hotel, retail and office space. MRC also loaned $66 million for a 100,500-square-foot retail and office property, a 24,000-square-foot retail condominium, and an 88-car parking garage in Flushing, Queens.

"We expect to close 800 million in debt transactions in 2015," Mr. Zegen said. "Our latest debt fund, Madison Realty Capital III, has a target of 750 million of equity, which will have $3 billion of investing capability with leverage and recycling of capital during our four-year investment period."
42. Jay Sugarman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of iStar Financial

In 2014, iStar Financial made investments and commitments of $1.3 billion, according to the company’s fourth quarter financial statement. That bumped full-year profit for the real estate finance segment of the firm to $72 million, Mr. Sugarman said in the report, up from $24 million in 2013.

Last year, the publicly traded iStar provided first mortgage and mezzanine construction financing to the tune of $407.5 million for the ground-up construction of a 40-story Edition Hotel at 701 Seventh Avenue. iStar also provided a $195 million first mortgage for a condominium conversion at 100 Barclay Street in Tribeca and $274 million in senior financing for a condo conversion at 212 Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Sugarman has helmed Starwood spin-off iStar, which struggled some in recent years, since 1997.

“We focus on providing highly-customized capital for stand-out properties with premier sponsors in the top three or four markets in the country,” Mr. Sugarman told Mortgage Observer.
43. Angela Mago
Executive Vice President and Head of KeyBank’s Real Estate Capital Group

Last April, Ms. Mago was appointed the executive vice president and head of KeyBank Real Estate Capital, and since then Cleveland-based KeyBank’s national platform has grown loan production to a record level.

For the third year, her team was the number one Fannie Mae lender in the senior housing sector. In addition, KeyBank was a top five Freddie Mac lender in 2014, and also the number two senior housing lender for the GSE.

“Key’s relationship-driven business model is very focused on owners of real estate who value our ideas and the comprehensive platform of capabilities we bring to the table,” Ms. Mago, who joined KeyBank’s real estate capital group in 2003, told Mortgage Observer.

New balance sheet originations totaled roughly $7 billion, while off-balance-sheet originations amounted were $5.4 billion. The bank raised $42 billion for clients last year, a representative said.

The bank also closed the $92 billion purchase of primary- and master-servicing rights from Bank of America last year and implemented a servicer-sharing agreement with Berkadia.

The loan-servicing group at KeyBank also grew its market share to 16.1 percent, up 7.6 percent over the previous year.
44. Diana Reid
Executive Vice President at PNC Real Estate

Thomas Hyland
Senior Vice President and Market Manager for New York at PNC Real Estate

In 2014, the New York metro offices of PNC Real Estate closed 74 loans with commitments in excess of $2 billion, according to Mr. Hyland. Overall, the firm was the second biggest commercial loan servicer in the U.S. in 2014, with $396.8 billion, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Ms. Reid helms the real estate business at PNC, and has since 2007, while Mr. Hyland manages the firm’s New York presence.

“PNC maintains a strong balance sheet,” said Mr. Hyland. “We are positioned to lend to our clients through business cycles. Some of our top relationships began during the last downturn, when real estate sponsors turned to PNC Real Estate while other lenders sat on the sideline or shut down.”

The bank’s recent deals include an $80 million term loan on an urban power center and a $49 million construction loan for a 175-unit multifamily project in Long Island City, Queens.
45. Brian Harris
CEO and Co-Founder of Ladder Capital

Greta Guggenheim
Chief Investment Officer and Co-Founder of Ladder Capital

The Ladder Capital co-founding executives and their fellow partner Michael Mazzei continued to grow the seven-year-old commercial real estate debt and equity shop over the past year.

The firm’s year-to-date debt origination amounted to $3 billion as of Sept. 30, 2014, up from a full-year total of $2.5 billion in 2013.

Some of the firm’s largest 2014 deals included a $350 million first mortgage to Vornado Realty Trust on 909 Third Avenue, and a $146 million loan on a multifamily portfolio with assets throughout New York City.

The firm also completed an IPO last February, and now has a market capitalization of $1.9 billion. In January 2015, Ladder elected REIT status, targeting annual cash distributions of $100 million.
46. Andrew Singer
Chairman and CEO of The Singer & Bassuk Organization

Time and again, the great real estate families of New York City call upon Mr. Singer to broker their loans both big and small.

The four-time Real Estate Board of New York “Most Ingenious Deal of the Year" award winner had a gratifying 2014.

His 20-year-old boutique firm arranged more than $2 billion in debt for some of New York’s top-tier developers—long-term clients that include TF Cornerstone, Rockrose Development, World Wide Group and Rose Associates.

Among those was a $450 million construction loan for a mixed-use condominium, apartment and retail building at 252 East 57th Street, a $300 million permanent loan on 4545 Center Boulevard in Long Island City, and a $240 million repositioning loan on 20 Exchange Place.

“Our advisory business continued to soar in 2014 as we were engaged to review the debt on several significant owners’ portfolios and make specific recommendations as to any changes which would support the long-term goals of those owners,” Mr. Singer, who has 47 years in the debt and equity brokerage business, told Mortgage Observer.

The Bronx-born University of Wisconsin graduate attributed his firm’s ongoing success to the commitment of his son, Scott Singer, and his colleague Kathleen McSharry—as well as some key industry ties.
47. John Costa
Executive Vice President and Head of New York Commercial Real Estate at People’s United Bank

Mr. Costa and his team at People’s United Bank continued to expand their offerings in New York’s multifamily market in 2014.

Last year, People’s United premiered a new a four-year loan product, a new floating-rate permanent mortgage product, coupled with a derivative transaction in which the bank retains counterparty risk, and a new three-year bridge loan product, Mr. Costa said.

Compared with year-end 2013, People’s United grew its outstanding multifamily loans by 33 percent. The Bridgeport, Conn.-based bank also expanded its multifamily lending platform to include the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas.

On Long Island, the bank grew originations by 50 percent, while their Long Island deposits doubled from the prior year.
48. Wendy Cai-Lee
Executive Vice President, Head of Eastern and Texas Regions at East West Bank

Ms. Cai-Lee and her diverse team of bankers in East West Bank’s Midtown office capitalized on their middle-market lending power—particularly among Chinese and Chinese American borrowers—and reaped solid returns over the past year.

The indefatigable executive saw her New York commercial real estate portfolio grow roughly 25 percent in 2014, she said, but declined to provide the total book size. East West’s full portfolio totals $21.8 billion, with about $7 billion allocated to commercial real estate, according to figures from the Pasadena, Calif.-based bank, which had its fifth straight year of record earnings.

Two East West recent deals of note in the New York market include a $30 million acquisition loan to Gordon Lau for the purchase of two buildings on the Lower East Side and a $29.4 million construction loan to Erol Devli and Sam Gelin for the development of 109-room boutique hotel at 42-44 West 29th Street.

Ms. Cai-Lee, who manages a total of 300 employees in 27 offices throughout the bank’s Eastern and Texas regions, told Mortgage Observer last fall that the bank has “a unique ability to serve Chinese customers both from a business standpoint and a cultural standpoint.”

“I would say every six to eight months I have a new territory or new responsibility as a result,” she added.
49. Scott Weiner
Chief Investment Officer of Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance

Mr. Weiner and his team at Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance have maintained their reputation as one of the leading New York-based investment shops in the mezzanine debt arena.

The publicly traded commercial mortgage REIT completed more than $1.5 billion in commercial real estate debt transactions in 2014, marking the “company’s most active year since inception,” according to the firm.

In January, Apollo’s real estate debt arm reported an $82.5 million mezzanine loan, $49 million of which was funded at closing, for the development of a mixed-use property on the Upper West Side of New York City. The total project is being financed with $582.5 million of debt, which includes a $500 million first mortgage loan and Apollo’s mezzanine loan, according to a company press release.

The firm also recently entered into a $52 million financing facility with Goldman Sachs.
50. Richard Horowitz
Principal at Cooper-Horowitz

Mr. Horowitz, the second generation of the same name to lead the prolific brokerage that bears his name, is one of New York City’s most seasoned mortgage brokers.

Recently, Cooper-Horowitz nabbed a $72 million bridge loan to refinance existing debt and fund predevelopment costs for a condominium project in Miami Beach. Mr. Horowitz and team also closed a $58 million loan from Ullico for Westchester landlord Robert Weisz, of RPW Group, to buy a Garment District office building last year.

And despite the fact that Cooper-Horowitz has been around since 1964, they are still willing to think outside the box—in one recent deal, they brokered a loan for The Ark, a $50 million project at JFK airport that will become “the world’s first and only privately owned airport animal handling facility,” in Mr. Horowitz’s words.