2021 Lenders

By November 8, 2021 9:00 AM

Well, it’s been one heck of a 20 months, folks, but — dare we say — our annual Lenders Issue comes with a distinct air of optimism this year. 

In stark contrast to November 2020 — a time when uncertainty reigned supreme and sweatpants were the dress code de rigeur — today our lenders see increased opportunity, are back in the office (in regular clothes), and even traveling once again. 

As 2021 draws to a close, we polled 21 lenders on what’s piquing their interest, what keeps them up at night, and, heck, we even asked what their fast-food guilty pleasure is (because we need to know what’s fueling these titans). 

After all, following a brief “lender’s market” window shortly after the pandemic hit, the pendulum has now firmly swung back in borrowers’ favor. As such, competition in the debt markets has returned full throttle (with the exception of a few asset classes, and some of the extra hairy deals) and there’s a pile of capital as high as the Empire State Building on the sidelines, just waiting to be deployed. 

So, now that they’re back in battle mode, how are our lenders winning key deals today? 

To find out, we interviewed a broad cross section of the industry. Banks? We got ‘em. Debt funds? Comin’ right up! Agency lenders? On deck. We also included a C-PACE — Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy — lender for the first time. 

What Commercial Observer found is that lenders are approaching the market with prudence where warranted, but also with an overall feeling of positivity. For the right deals, they’re breaking out the big guns and are ready to lend. 

That’s not to say that we’re truly back to “normal” by any means. Hugs can still be scary things and in-person events often call for a quick COVID test afterward for peace of mind. But, we’re slowly inching back to some semblance of normalcy and — we hope — a better version of what we once were; more humble, more compassionate and with a fuller understanding that the invisible thread that binds us all — in the commercial real estate industry or otherwise — is our humanity.

Kwasi Benneh

Morgan Stanley

Abbe Franchot-Borok


Thanh Bui

Clarion Partners

Kate Byford

Capital One

Devin Chen


Jeff Fastov

Square Mile Capital Management

Nailah Flake-Brown

Brookfield Asset Management

Mansoor Ghori

Petros PACE Finance

Jason Hernandez

Nuveen Real Estate

Tim Johnson


Karen Ramos

Crédit Agricole CIB

Jonathan Roth

3650 REIT

Neha Santiago

Cerberus Capital Management

Dennis Schuh

Starwood Property Trust

Shaunak Tanna

Basis Investment Group

Chris Tokarski

ACORE Capital

Vincent Toye

JPMorgan Chase

Anthony Wong

Bank of China

Sang Yu

Apollo Global Management