Washington Mutual has been one of the most prolific lenders to the multifamily industry, originating at least $9 billion in debt annually for the last three years.
So when the company was acquired by JPMorgan Chase last fall in a marriage arranged by the federal government, questions arose about the long-term prospects of its multifamily division. But the newly formed Chase Commercial Term Lending division wants borrowers to know that it's open for business.
The division is headed by Al Brooks, who was the chief lending officer for Washington Mutual's Commercial Group. “From the beginning, Chase executives told us that they like our business and want to integrate it into the combined company,” he says.
The acquisition gives Brooks a foothold in markets where Washington Mutual had hoped to increase its presence. While Washington Mutual dominated many West Coast markets like Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle, it was less effective in New York and Chicago, where Chase is very active.
Chase Commercial Term Lending will pick up where Washington Mutual left off , emphasizing smaller-balance loans that don't contain legal fees or appraisal fees, a big consideration for borrowers with multiple transactions. The company also touts its deal cycle speed as a competitive advantage. “We can fund loans in fewer than 30 days, versus the industry standard of 60 days,” says Brooks.
Washington Mutual also was a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lender and will continue to offer those agency executions as Chase Commercial Term Lending. Unlike many of its competitors, JPMorgan Chase's balance sheet remains healthy, and the company is profitable: In January, the company reported net income of $5.6 billion in 2008.