David Bouton and Joseph Dyckman
Co-heads of U.S. CMBS at Citigroup
Last year's rank: 7
It may seem like a long time ago now, but 2019 was one heck of a year for Citi.
The bank priced 35 CMBS transactions in 2019 (a total loan contribution of $11.6 billion) and was ranked the No. 1 U.S. CMBS loan seller and bookrunner for both conduit and SASB deals. On the SASB side, Citi served as left lead on the BXCMT 2019-XL, the largest SASB deal since 2007 and the second largest in history at $5.6 billion. In addition to the standalone execution, Citi led a mortgage and mezzanine syndication for the transaction, making the deal ($8.8 billion in total) the largest private real estate trade globally. Bravo!
“We had a really strong 2019,” David Bouton, who co-heads the firm’s U.S. CMBS team alongside Joseph Dyckman, said. “We were doing really well in all phases of our business, and clicking on all cylinders, so to speak. If you look at our CMBS franchise business, we ended up ranking No. 1 in the league tables in really every category. It was a banner year from that perspective.”
When COVID hit and the CMBS market pressed pause, Citi — like most other lenders —narrowed its focus on its current balance sheet and securitized positions, ensuring those loans had the proper attention from an asset management perspective.
“We very quickly were able to get our arms around our own balance sheet position, and that allowed us to really start focusing on new business,” Bouton said. But then, it was go-time.
In May, Goldman Sachs and Citi re-opened the CMBS market with its conduit deal, GSMS 2020-GC47: a $772 million deal built to withstand some COVID-related market risk. The deal was oversubscribed.
“It was great to see that the market was receptive and investors were very supportive,” Bouton said. “The deal had no lodging exposure and very minimal retail exposure. The leverage was also very moderate, at 53 percent loan-to-value, and so it was a great deal to go out and reopen the conduit markets.”
As for the rest of 2020, “I think it’ll probably be similar to last year’s strategy where we’ll be focused on doing the right business for the right clients, across all our product sets,” Bouton said. “In this new environment, we’re looking to see if there are new types of opportunities, but we’ll also stick to our knitting. We’re being cautious and prudent as the market recovers, but at the same time we’re very active in terms of trying to be on the offensive for the rest of the year.”—C.C.