Finance  ·  CMBS

Lev Hires Société Générale CMBS Head to Expand Platform


Tech-focused brokerage Lev has tapped veteran commercial mortgage-backed securities lender Wayne Potters from Société Générale to launch a new CMBS platform, Commercial Observer has learned.

Potters joins Lev after six years of constructing the CMBS business at Société Générale as managing director and head of commercial mortgages for the global bank. He has been involved with the origination and securitization of more than $40 billion of loans over the course of his career. 

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“It speaks volumes that someone like Wayne, who built the CMBS business at a $1.7 trillion bank, has gravitated to Lev and our mission to improve commercial real estate,” Yaakov Zar, CEO and founder of Lev, said in a statement. “Wayne’s experience encompasses working with some of the most prolific banks and borrowers in the industry.”

Prior to Société Générale, Potters led RBS’ commercial real estate group for five years after working at Fortress, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse in various senior roles. He has worked with a variety of CRE sponsors to obtain financing including Blackstone (BX), Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) and Simon Property Group

In addition to building up Lev’s CMBS lending platform, Potters will assist the proptech firm toward executing its goal of digitizing and streamlining CRE transactions.

“I’ve launched several CMBS businesses at traditional banking institutions over the years, but the chance to completely overhaul the typical process in a way that benefits all sides of the marketplace couldn’t be passed up,” Potters said. “Lev presents an opportunity to be nimble in an industry that can often be slow and cumbersome, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work together.”

Lev hired Potters amid a period of sizable growth for the Manhattan-based firm, which was founded in 2019 with a vision of combining human CRE expertise and artificial intelligence to assist lenders and investors. The company’s business grew tenfold in 2021 from 2020 with $1 billion worth of deals facilitated and in late 2021 it formed a partnership AppFolio Investment Management to produce real-time CRE financing quotes. 

“To say we’re excited is an understatement,” said Zar of the Potters hire. “With his background, having launched various CMBS businesses and his knowledge of tech’s impact across banking, we’re poised to launch a lending experience and securitization product not currently offered by anyone else in the market.”

The addition of Potters brings Lev’s headcount up to 80 employees. Zar, who last fall hired Shami Waissmann from L&L Holding Company as director of lending strategies, said he expects that figure to rise to 200 by the end of 2022. 

Zar has also recently added Aviva Fink as Lev’s first vice president of marketing. Fink led marketing efforts at Reonomy the past four years, through its acquisition by Altus Group. She previously held leadership roles at VTS and Hightower.

“At every step in my CRE career, I’ve gravitated towards businesses that were doing something truly innovative for the industry,” Fink said in a statement. “Yaakov has an incredible vision for this business and how it can improve the experience of lenders, borrowers, service providers and others in the debt space.”

Andrew Coen can be reached at