M&T Launches CRE Innovation Office

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M&T Bank is expanding its commercial real estate lending reach through what it calls a new innovation office, Commercial Observer has learned.

The Buffalo, N.Y.-based regional bank announced the launch on Tuesday. It will be based in Manhattan and be led by real estate  banking veteran Brooke Cianfichi. The office is aimed at better linking M&T’s overall platform, including its CRE lending and debt capital markets practices as well as its agency and insurance company placements. It will also offer new CRE financing solutions such as strategic third-party capital.

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“M&T has deep experience in the commercial real estate space and the innovation office marks our commitment to continued expansion in diversified commercial real estate solutions,” Peter D’Arcy, head of commercial banking at M&T Bank, said in a statement. “This is a substantial opportunity to build upon our already strong capabilities in this space and it further complements M&T’s trustworthy and forward-thinking approach to exceed client expectations.”

The bank’s existing CRE lending infrastructure includes M&T Realty Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of M&T, which is authorized to originate loans under agency programs from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Cianfichi takes on her new leadership role after serving as  an executive vice president at M&T  covering strategy for M&T’s $48 billion in CRE debt commitments. She first arrived at M&T in 2004 as a commercial relationship manager and shifted to the CRE side in 2006. 

“Often when a client approaches a large financial organization, they can feel siloed into one group or another, with those groups not communicating efficiently,” Cianfichi said in a statement. “At M&T, we recognize the value of connecting the client to what they need in a coordinated way.”

The CRE innovation office at M&T will feature Lopa Kolluri, a senior vice president who arrives at M&T from HUD, where she served as principal deputy of the Federal Housing Administration. Additional hires for the office include Laura Murphy, a senior vice president, from TF Cornerstone, and Ashley Mitchell from People’s United Bank. She will be a vice president and the new office’s lead commercial segment support analyst.

“We understand the client well because many of us were once the client,” Cianfichi said. “The clients’ needs guide our priorities today and into the future.”

\Andrew Coen can be reached at acoen@commercialobserver.com