New Wells Fargo Multifamily Head Brings Deep Public Finance Roots

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Wells Fargo’s newly appointed head of multifamily capital (MFC), Peter Cannava, brings a 22-year run on the public finance side of investment banking that he expects to pay dividends as the company looks to increase its  government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) commercial real estate transaction activity.

Cannava, who is leaving his role as head of public finance at Wells Fargo to lead the bank’s MFC business, said his new position will benefit  from established relationships fostered from years of financing affordable housing projects with GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He will report directly to Kara McShane, Wells Fargo’s head of CRE, in the banking giant’s Manhattan office and will start Feb. 27.

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“I’ve always specialized in multifamily housing, securitization, project finance and real estate secured bond financings, so in a way there was always a natural affinity towards real estate finance,” Cannava told Commercial Observer. “I’ve worked very closely with state housing finance agencies in helping them finance affordable housing in their jurisdictions and partnering with the GSEs, and I’ve worked closely with the affordable housing developers across the country, so there’s a lot of synergies and there was a lot of partnership built up over the years.”

The Wells Fargo MFC group Cannava will spearhead provides financing for multifamily housing projects through the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan programs. It tackles transactions with GSEs for market-rate apartments, affordable housing, manufactured housing, student housing, health care properties and senior housing developments. 

As head of public finance leading Wells Fargo’s origination businesses within the Municipal Products Group, Cannava collaborated with MFC in creating an affordable housing platform. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2009, he spent nine years at Bank of America (BAC)

Cannava said his decision to shift from Wells Fargo’s Municipal Products Group to the CRE end of the bank’s business was made further attractive because of the opportunity to work with McShane. The CRE finance titan was ranked No. 1 in CO’s annual Power Finance 50 list last year after shepherding a record $84.8 billion of lending volume in 2021.

“She’s an amazing leader, she’s a great communicator, she’s got a ton of energy, she knows the details better than anybody, and she asks the right questions,” said Cannava of McShane. “Having someone like Kara, who understands deals, understands client needs, understands the importance of the balance sheet and has a diligence to the way she approaches things I think is going to be great for my new role.”

Wells Fargo’s CRE business under McShane is already active on the affordable housing front  as a construction lender and low-income housing tax credit investor. Cannava is looking to lead continued growth in this area to be the No. 1 participant in the marketplace through the launching of new products that aid municipalities, particularly through the bank’s construction lending arm.

A graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, Cannava holds board positions on the Municipal Forum of New York and Community Preservation Corporation.

“Pete brings exceptional experience and perspective, from throughout his tenure at Wells Fargo, including critical relationships across the government and agency finance sector, and is well positioned to lead our top-ranked multifamily platform,” McShane said in a statement. “We look forward to leveraging his expertise and insights as we continue to further position our multifamily capital platform for future success.”

Andrew Coen can be reached at acoen@commercialobserver.com