A new name entered the multifamily arena last week, when Berkadia Commercial Mortgage was born out of the ashes of Capmark.
A partnership between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National acquired the mortgage origination and servicing business of Capmark Financial Group for about $515 million.
Berkadia is the third name for the organization that spun off from GMAC Commercial Mortgage in 2006, only to file for bankruptcy three years later. But the faces are the same: Nearly 1,000 employees that worked for the origination and servicing divisions will move over to Berkadia. Company veteran Michael Lipson has been named president and CEO of Berkadia, while John Cannon continues to head the mortgage origination business.
Like Capmark, Berkadia will originate loans for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA, as well as life insurance companies. Despite the dire straights the company was in throughout 2009, it expects to be among the top Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and FHA lenders for the year, having originated “multiple billions” in those executions, according to the company.
Capmark’s financial situation did cut in to its market-share, however, as some borrowers shied away. “Capmark’s financial situation in 2009 had an impact on our origination volume, but the cloud of uncertainty has been removed,” says John Cannon, executive vice president of mortgage banking for Horsham, Pa.-based Berkadia. “Given the fact that we are now on a stable platform, and that we’ve received a very significant credit facility from Berkshire, our expectation is that we will gain back whatever little market share we lost in 2009.”
Berkshire Hathaway’s legendary CEO Warren Buffet will sit on the company’s board of directors, joined by Berkshire CFO Marc Hamburg, and Leucadia National’s Chairman Ian Cumming and President Joseph Steinberg.
Capmark’s financial problems can be traced to its spin-off from GMAC Commercial Mortgage in 2006, when it took on a sizable amount of corporate debt. As of the second quarter of 2009, the company had a negative net worth and was technically insolvent. But the company’s creditors continue to extend the debt in hopes of a resolution.
Capmark, the top originator of Freddie Mac and FHA loans in 2008, entered into a “put” agreement with Berkadia in September, agreeing to sell its origination and servicing businesses for about $415 million. A month later, Capmark filed for bankruptcy. During bankruptcy proceedings, PNC Financial Services reportedly entered into a bidding war with Berkadia, ultimately driving up Berkadia’s offer.
Armed with a new name and the same team of originators, the company is anxious to turn the page and begin anew. When asked to pull a silver lining out of the year, Lipson said, “The highlight of the year was getting bought by Berkshire and Leucadia, and everything else was water under the bridge.”