Anthony Wong and Raymond Qiao
Senior vice president and head of U.S. commercial real estate lending at Bank of China; Executive vice president and chief lending officer at Bank of China
Last year's rank: 48
With $1.2 billion of loan originations over the last 12 months, Bank of China (BOC) USA kept pretty busy in 2022.
Led by Anthony Wong, BOC organized a lending strategy around durable cash-flow assets, such as Class A multifamily and industrial assets — especially those in high barrier to entry markets like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Moreover, even with a portfolio made up entirely of term-funded loans, BOC still kept less than 20 percent of its CRE commitments in ground-up construction loans.
“We’re more selective on construction lending than on other types of lending,” Wong told CO. “We’ve always pursued construction lending projects on a highly measured basis, and they’ve turned out according to our underwriting assumptions because we were very selective and prudent.”
That diligence came in handy down in Miami, where BOC initially provided a sponsor with a $249 million renovation loan in 2017 to upgrade a 685-key, 1.3 million-square-foot JW Marriott Hotel, and turned around and refinanced that loan with a $412 million term facility in August 2022 once the hotel’s performance proved sustainable. “It was a great upgrade and a tremendous value-add,” Wong said. “The demand was there.”
Another highlight came in Boston, where BOC originated a $315 million construction loan on the ground-up development of a 350,000-square-foot life sciences building. Wong’s team sourced the opportunity with a joint venture investment group — which was a repeat sponsor — negotiated the loan structure, and brought in another lender to close the deal, he said.
This type of interpersonal business style with repeat customers is the hallmark of BOC’s ethos, according to Wong. He described BOC’s business strategy as one that doesn’t aggressively chase particular deals or asset classes, but pursues long-term relationships that enable the borrower to achieve its business objectives, while also meeting BOC’s underwriting criteria.
“We define success not as a particular transaction. Rather, our culture defines success as developing relationships, nurturing them, getting repeat business, getting word-of-mouth from that business, and executing,” he said. “What sets us apart is we listen, we communicate well, we structure, and we execute.”
Another separation point is the bank’s emphasis on diversity: Women hold executive leadership roles throughout, notably in corporate banking, trade finance, retail banking, and across the legal, compliance and IT departments. “At the end of the day we’re a family reflective of a true melting pot of talented, diversified professionals,” Wong said. —B.P.