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NewPoint Bulking Up Bridge Lending

NewPoint Real Estate Capital launched a fast-paced ambitious bridge-lending program this week, following five months of hiring that has established a veteran leadership team.

The Plano, Texas-based company is a joint venture between Meridian Capital and Barings, with additional backing from Stone Point Capital. It’s been ramping up activity since it took over Barings’ multi-family lending unit in June. At the time, the group had 90 staffers and had originated about $220 million of multi-family agency loans year to date. The staff has increased to 136, and originations are expected to reach $1.8 billion by yearend.

Chief executive David Brickman, who led Freddie Mac before leaving in January, said the bridge-lending program should sign-up $500 million by the end of the first quarter of 2022, with a goal of $1 billion of originations next year.

NewPoint lends nationwide, with a floor of $5 million and a ceiling of $50 million for now. It’s focused on light transitional properties, including development projects in the lease-up phase. That strategy is in line with its focus on financing properties via Freddie, Fannie Mae and HUD. Most of NewPoint’s loans are expected to be bridge-to-agency takeouts.

The firm also is laying the groundwork to be a top originator of loans on affordable housing. That sector is attracting interest from private lenders that see opportunities stemming from a looming housing crisis and stepped-up government-policy initiatives.

With its aggressive growth plan, NewPoint has attracted staffers from top competitors. They include key members of the new bridge-lending team such as proprietary-lending head and senior managing director Mark Silverstein, who arrived in June from Arbor Realty Trust, and managing director Brian Skurnik, program leader for bridge lending and preferred equity.

Skurnik left Pacific Western Bank last year and has been working as a consultant. He previously spent 13 years at CapitalSource and also had stints at Barclays, Lehman Brothers and Heller Financial. He’s based in New York and will lead day-to-day operations with help from director Joe Savarese, who joined from Lument. Director Michael Golfman, previously with Hunt Real Estate Capital, focuses on bridge loans, mezzanine debt and preferred equity in Boca Raton, Fla.

The firm also has made a number of additions to its affordable-housing financing team. In recent weeks, managing director Robert Wrzosek joined as head of non-agency affordable housing from Bluefin Capital.

Originators Karen Kim and Bryan Dickson, also managing directors, moved over from Greystone and Citigroup. Kim represented borrowers seeking financing from Fannie and Freddie. Dickson was at Freddie for nearly 11 years before joining Citi.

NewPoint’s head of affordable housing, Joshua Schonfeld, spent 21 years at Freddie before joining Barings in March. Karu Arulanandam, head of affordable-housing underwriting, held a similar job at CBRE prior to starting at NewPoint in June.

Other NewPoint executives who have arrived since June include: president Jeff Lee, a 25-year veteran who was last at Capital One; head of production Geri Borger Urgo (Freddie); chief operating officer Phil Spellberg (CapOne); capital-markets leader Elie Tannous (Berkadia); and general counsel Geraldine Hayhurst (Freddie).

The new team complements former Barings staffers John Lloyd, head of asset management and servicing; Brad Casey, chief underwriter; and Ryan Stutz, chief financial officer.

Brickman, who played an instrumental role in developing Freddie’s multi-family program, said he’s been focused on innovative financing strategies for affordable housing for decades. “If you are going to be competitive in financing in the multi-family space, you have to serve a broad spectrum of need — value-added, lease-up, all kinds of properties in different states,” he said. “At the same time, by definition you have to be involved in affordable housing, a huge and growing part of the multi-family universe.”

– Originally published by Green Street’s Commercial Mortgage Alert

– December 3, 2021