CWCapital Expands into Life Company Lending

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

San Francisco–CWCapital, a subsidiary of CW Financial Services and a specialist in multifamily lending, has launched a new multifamily life company lending platform. The platform’s offerings will be in addition to CW’s existing offerings through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA, which total about $13 billion.

CWCapital’s first life company deals closed recently. Funded by ING, the loans provided $28 million in refinancing for two multifamily property portfolios in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the S-101 Management Portfolio, comprising two loans totaling $11.5 million, and the Fuller Enterprises Portfolio, comprising four loans totaling $16.4 million.

The company’s multifamily life platform will be led by Tom MacManus, managing director for CW and president and COO of ARA Finance, the joint venture finance platform of Apartment Realty Advisors and CW. The company also recently hired Mischa Guenther, former director of Wells Fargo’s New York multifamily division, as senior vice president, and Mark Plenge, as vice president in the firm’s San Francisco office. Plenge oversaw the closing of the aforementioned first life company deals for CWCapital.

Life-company lending is still a relatively small part of the multifamily finance universe, though it’s slowly increasing in size, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. At the end of the first quarter of 2011, life insurance companies held $47 billion in outstanding multifamily mortgages, or 6 percent of the total.

That compares with agency and GSE portfolios, with $327 billion or 41 percent of the total outstanding. They are followed by banks and thrifts with $214 billion, or 27 percent of the total. CMBS, CDO and other ABS issuers hold $98 billion, or 12 percent of the total; state and local governments hold $75 billion, or 9 percent of the total; and the federal government holds $14 billion, or 2 percent of the total.

Between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, life insurance companies increased their multifamily lending by $140 million, or 0.3 percent, notes the MBA. That’s roughly in line with the quarter-over-quarter increase in total multifamily mortgage debt outstanding during the same period, which was 0.4 percent.

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