Kate Byford

Kate Byford

Senior Vice President and Head of Agency Finance at Capital One

Kate Byford
By November 8, 2021 9:00 AM

What are the key lending opportunities you see as we round out 2021?

For fourth quarter 2021, I think the key opportunities will be around certainty of execution and speed because most clients are eager to book as much business as possible in 2021 to avoid a potential shift in the market next year.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known in March 2020 that you know now?

I wish I had known how quickly the multifamily lending market would bounce back. While Capital One (COF) was far from out of the market in mid-2020, there was a real opportunity to step in and gain a much larger market share while other lenders were on the sidelines. But that opportunity — like most — was relatively short-lived before the agencies and other lenders came roaring back in the second half of the year.

Where are you seeing the most competition for deals today? What’s the greatest weapon in your bidding arsenal?

We are seeing the most competition for deals coming from the debt-fund space. There is a huge amount of competition from debt funds and banks in the five- to seven-year term loan market at the moment, with debt funds especially aggressive on leverage and opportunistic acquisitions.

We maintain our competitive advantage in this market by having the full suite of balance sheet and agency products in our arsenal, including construction, bridge, permanent and specialty lending. We rolled out a new bridge-to-agency program earlier this year that has had amazing success so far, and we expect to close over $1 billion of that product by the end of the year. We will continue to develop additional products in the future, to ensure we remain competitive in the market and satisfy our clients’ financing needs.

Another advantage is our people. Our team is made up of dynamic, hardworking and knowledgeable real estate professionals who can tackle the most complex transactions in the industry. Their ability to creatively structure deals to solve for our clients’ needs sets us apart in the industry.

New York City: “I want to be a part of it”?

Capital One remains highly committed to the New York market, both on the balance sheet and the agency finance sides of the business. While things looked admittedly bleak a year ago, the New York rental market has surged back in 2021, even before everyone has returned to the office. New York has proven yet again to be a resilient multifamily market, and we plan to keep our feet firmly planted there.

What’s your favorite secondary market and why? 

Nashville is a favorite from both a personal and a professional standpoint. There’s a lot going on in that market and we see potential for growth and development across the market. In fact, we just converted one of our first-ever bridge loans as part of our new bridge-to-agency lending program to a Fannie Mae takeout just outside the city in Murfreesboro, Tenn. We plan to continue targeting that area as we expand our presence in the Southeast.

What’s the most important initiative President Biden can implement for the real estate industry?

An expansion of [Low Income Housing Tax Credits] similar to what’s being proposed as part of the latest budget package would be a major boost to the creation of affordable housing. Widening the breadth of that program, along with continued growth in the agencies’ lending mandates, are key policies to continue ensuring a healthy supply of affordable housing in the U.S.

What keeps you up at night?

As we continue to operate in a virtual or hybrid work environment, one thing that keeps me up at night is how to keep our associates engaged and driving toward a common goal. Especially for our junior associates, I think there are many benefits of learning by osmosis while in an office setting and physically around your other team members, and as leaders we need to do everything we can to replicate those benefits and ensure our associates are getting the support they need to thrive and grow. This is a challenge being faced by many employers.

As a result, we’ve increased our focus on associate engagement, and are being more deliberate with virtual learning and development opportunities. Additionally, we host coffee chats and trivia events to ensure our broad agency team feels connected and well-informed, regardless of physical location.

Lightning Round 

Stabilized or transitional assets?


First work trip post-COVID?

Park City [in Utah].

Fast-food guilty pleasure?


“Ted Lasso” or “The Morning Show”?

“Ted Lasso.”

Peloton bike or outdoor cycling?

Peloton Tread.

Last book you read?

“Dare to Lead,” by Brene Brown.

Who would play you in the biopic of your life?

Ellen Pompeo.

“If I hadn’t pursued a lending career I’d be …”

A veterinarian.

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