Walker & Dunlop, Green Park Financial and Column Guaranteed Merge, New Entity Will Provide Financing Through All Agencies

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorBethesda, Md.–Walker & Dunlop, Inc. and Green Park Financial LP have merged with Column Guaranteed LLC, a subsidiary of Credit Suisse Group. The new enterprise, which will be named Walker & Dunlop, will provide Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) origination and servicing expertise.The new entity expects to originate over $3 billion of commercial mortgages on an annual basis for agency, HUD and other sources of commercial mortgage capital (life insurance companies, pension funds and conduits.) The company will be headquartered in Bethesda, Md., with additional offices in Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, New York, Plano, Texas, and Walnut Creek, Calif. Despite the timing, the merger had nothing to do with the tough economic conditions.“The main reason for this merger is that we were desirous of a Freddie Mac and HUD license,” Susan O. Weber vice president of marketing at Walker & Dunlop, tells MHN. “We have been wanting it for a while, but it is very difficult to get a Freddie Mac license.”The merger will allow Walker & Dunlop to get financing from all three agencies. “In today’s environment agency financing is so crucial, so the timing worked out very well for the company,” she adds.Credit Suisse will own a minority interest in Walker & Dunlop and will work with the firm to identify strategic growth opportunities. William M. Walker will be the company’s CEO and Mallory Walker will remain a board member. “This is a fantastic deal for all three companies,” says Willy Walker. “Access to the three major sources of government-sponsored capital coupled with zero balance sheet exposure to construction or conduit financing is a competitive advantage at this time in the economic cycle.” Kieran Quinn, president of Column Guaranteed, who will assume the role of vice chairman of Walker & Dunlop, says, “This venture will benefit from its alliance with Credit Suisse and its investment bank, asset management and private banking operations.”