Senior Vice President and Commercial Real Estate Market Manager for the Mid-Atlantic region and Boston at Capital One
What’s been the biggest market lesson learned during COVID?
Sponsorship matters. During the pandemic, experience, expertise and professionalism are more important than ever.
How are you winning the deals for which you’re competing most aggressively today?
We are winning deals based on relationships. Clients want certainty of execution in uncertain times — which means that they are turning to bankers they’ve worked with before. At Capital One (COF), we take pride in the relationships we establish with our clients. As a result, the premium on relationships we’ve seen during the pandemic has served us well.
How has your loan portfolio fared through the pandemic? Any surprises during asset management in the early days?
Our loan portfolio has been pretty stable, because our strategy has always been to back strong sponsors in strong markets. We were not surprised to see retail go down. The pandemic just accelerated trends that were already underway. The blow to lodging, however, was unprecedented, though, given the circumstances, not unexpected.
Which closed deal, post-COVID, are you most proud of and why?
We closed four multifamily construction deals in multiple markets with some of our top relationships. They demonstrate that it is possible to bring new product online right now, but it likely requires an experienced developer to pull it off.
Any interesting anecdotes about a remote closing experience?
After the first month, people realized that this was going to be a long-term situation and adjusted to remote closings by adopting technology like DocuSign. We realized that dropping off signed documents in person was not something we could do indefinitely.
What strengths do traditional lenders and non-traditional lenders bring to the market today? Who’s emerging stronger post-COVID?
Nontraditional lenders are taking more risk and doing more deals than traditional lenders, though with higher loan-to-value and higher costs. Because they are more tightly regulated, traditional lenders have to monitor their portfolios more closely and tend to be more cautious.
How has your underwriting changed post-COVID? Is there more of an emphasis on underwriting or asset management today?
Underwriting has become significantly more conservative. [Loan-to-value] has decreased, while coverage requirements have become more stringent. The number of transactions that traditional lenders are doing has dropped by at least 50 percent, and, in this environment, the emphasis has naturally shifted to asset management. Banks are focusing on building in reserves for any losses they might incur.
Do you feel urban living is dissipating as a result of COVID-19? Why or why not?
In the immediate term, there will be some out-migration from urban areas, but I would not count cities out. Once the pandemic is behind us, people will start returning — especially young people. By the end of 2021, the pendulum will have started to swing back toward cities.
Biggest overlooked market opportunity today?
I am not sure whether they are overlooked, but life sciences, data centers, single-family rentals, and self-storage have all shown staying power.
“When I’m not doing deals while working from home, you’ll find me…” (please complete this sentence)
“…reading a book.”
Favorite TV show you binged during quarantine?
“Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Have you eaten inside a restaurant post-COVID, and if so, which one?
Maydan, a Middle Eastern restaurant in D.C.
Any new hobbies taken up during COVID?
Where is your COVID hideaway?
The Outer Banks
Number of haircuts in past six months — family trim or professional?
One, just two weeks ago.
Dream Zoom happy hour date?
I don’t want to do any more Zoom than I have to! If I were to meet a new person, I would rather do it face to face.
Home office or actual office?
Have you been on a plane post-COVID? If so, where did you go? If not, where will you fly first?
No, and I’m not flying anywhere until we have a vaccine.
Best book you read during COVID?
“Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson and “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Both very thought-provoking.
Which will rebound first: retail or hospitality?
Favorite post-COVID secondary market from a lending perspective?