Wells Fargo Appoints New Head of Community Lending and Investment Within CRE Group

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Wells Fargo has appointed a 20-year veteran of the bank as the new head of community lending and investment within its commercial real estate division, the bank announced Friday. 

Vanessa Rodriguez, who started at Wells Fargo in 2002 as a summer analyst, is the new head of the community lending and investment group, a leading debt and equity provider in the affordable housing space. Rodriguez, who will essentially oversee all debt and equity placements on affordable housing and “community-driven” projects, will report to Wells Fargo’s head of commercial real estate, Kara McShane.

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“Vanessa’s strong leadership skills, her industry expertise, and her passion for communities and giving, position her to run our top-ranked CLI [community lending and investment] platform and deepen our commitment to affordable housing solutions,” McShane said. “Throughout her tenure at Wells Fargo, she has gained exceptional industry knowledge and built strong client relationships that will serve us well as we seek to strengthen the impact of our CLI platform and continue to support communities across the U.S.” 

Rodriguez earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and joined Wells Fargo in 2002, completing the bank’s credit management training program three years later. 

Over the last 15-plus years, the banking professional has worked in a variety of roles at Wells Fargo as a relationship manager within the real estate banking, commercial baking and commercial real estate workout divisions. Since 2015, she’s been a co-market manager for the bank’s San Francisco Bay Area real estate banking practice, having previously served in the same role for the New York tri-state region. Over this time, she’s handled a commercial mortgage loan portfolio of about $8.5 billion. 

“I’m excited to lead [this] group, which is number one-ranked as an affordable housing investor and well regarded for providing economic development and affordable housing in communities of need, especially at a time when the need is greater than ever across the country,” Rodriguez said. “I look forward to working closely with Kara and her leadership team as we shape the future direction of our CRE platform to best serve our clients, and find meaningful ways to address the evolving needs of our communities.” 

Last year, Wells Fargo’s community lending and investment division supplied nearly $5 billion in capital through the federal government’s New Markets Tax Credit Program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, as well as through the government’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund; a portion of that $5 billion in capital was also used for lending on general construction that met the goals of the banking group.

Mack Burke can be reached at mburke@commercialobserver.com.