“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight. Rising up to the challenge of our rival.” — Survivor
Once our Power Finance honorees absorbed the brutal one-two punch that COVID-19 delivered in 2020, they were ready to get back into the ring in true Rocky Balboa style.
And with market conditions firmly on their side, everyone on this list came out fighting, racking up some record-smashing origination activity across the board — despite heavyweight competitors vying for the championship belt.
“It was a record year for most people,” Starwood Property Trust’s Jeff DiModica said. “And, if it wasn’t a record year for you, you should probably reconsider what you’re doing for a living, because the amount of transactions was off the charts.”
Damn, DiModica. (But also … where’s the lie?)
Indeed, in 2021 lending conditions were sent from the heavens above, facilitating origination numbers worthy of Guinness World Records: Real estate continued its reign as a safe haven asset class for investors looking to deploy pent-up capital, interest rates remained fairly low, and the world returned to some vague sense of normalcy in 2021— with the exception of omicron stepping in as the Grinch who stole Christmas, just as everyone was ready to raise an eggnog to the festive season.
As part of their record years, several firms further expanded their product offerings, meeting their borrowers’ needs while also boosting revenue streams.
“For us, things continued to build throughout the year, and we had record deployment across property types and borrowers,” Apollo’s Scott Weiner said. “There was also a shift to bigger first mortgages, whereas I would say historically mezzanine financing has always been part of our DNA.”
Others further established their national — even international — footprints, following clients wherever they needed financing.
“It really was a record year for us,” Cushman & Wakefield’s Rob Rubano said. “I feel really good about how we’re positioned nationally, with the biggest borrowers and top institutional clients.”
Others utilized all of their capabilities to duck the market’s jab, cross and hooks, and serve their clients.
Case in point: When the bond market got choppy at the end of the year, some lenders who’d enjoyed a peak performance single-asset, single-borrower CMBS market earlier in 2021 flipped executions to the balance sheet side of their business to make sure deals closed without delay.
“There aren’t a lot of groups who could step up last December for a $740 million balance sheet loan,” Barclay’s Larry Kravetz said, adding: “We execute when we say we’re going to,” he added.
Damn straight, Kravetz.
Throughout this past year, our Power Finance honorees proved their might in the market, and broke records despite all the punches thrown at them, including 2022’s extreme market volatility.
As Rocky Balboa said: “It ain’t how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”