Bank On It Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group announced in May that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ARCS Commercial Mortgage, the No. 1 Fannie Mae lender for the last several years. For PNC, which is not a Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing lender, the deal will significantly bolster its agency lending business and complement its work as a Freddie Mac Program Plus and FHA Multifamily Accelerated Processing lender.

The consolidation is another sign of the need for lenders to offer a full spectrum of products to compete effectively in today's aggressive lending environment. “The industry has changed,” says Howard Levine, founder and CEO of Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based ARCS. “Being just a Fannie Mae DUS lender without the banking balance sheet and the conduit capability, we were at a disadvantage compared to most DUS lenders that have sold off to major financial institutions.” —Jerry Ascierto, senior editor of Apartment Finance Today and Affordable Housing Finance, sister publications of MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE

Election Day Voters in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch approved a ballot measure on May 12 prohibiting landlords from renting to undocumented aliens. The measure, which was backed by City Councilman Tim O'Hare, passed with 67 percent of the vote. “This sends a message loud and clear that illegal aliens are not welcome in Farmers Branch, Texas,” O'Hare told reporters following the vote. Dallas lawyer Bill Brewer plans to challenge the referendum in the courts. Pending the outcome of those legalities, the measure will go into effect on May 22. —C.W.

Higher Standard The National Multi Housing Council's Multifamily Information and Transactions Standards data standard is helping the emergency relief efforts in the Gulf Coast. HUD's new National Housing Locator System will be built using the standards created by NMHC's MITS initiative, which created a common data standard that allows apartment-related software packages to communicate with each other. HUD's system will help disaster relief aid workers locate vacant rental housing near disaster-affected areas. —R.Z.A.

Historic Find Looking for a historic tax break? A 36-block area surrounding New York City's Wall Street district has been entered into the National Register of Historic Places, opening up tax incentives for the preservation of these historic buildings. The district will stretch approximately from Trinity Street in the west to Pearl Street in the east, Maiden Lane in the north, and Bowling Green in the south. —R.Z.A.

RealPage Deal Carrolton, Tex.-based multifamily industry software provider RealPage announced April 14 its acquisition of Multifamily Internet Ventures, the parent company of LeasingDesk Insurance Services. As the largest provider of resident insurance programs for the multifamily industry, LeasingDesk considerably expands RealPage's risk management offerings, creating what RealPage CEO Steve Winn says is a “win-win” for owners and residents who are engaged in a full-participation renter's insurance program. —C.W.

Executive Feedback Q & A What do you think will happen with cap rates in the next six A months?

A: “Cap rates should remain at current levels over the next six to 12 months as the environment for multifamily remains strong. We have seen and should continue to see an unprecedented amount of domestic and foreign capital target U.S. real estate with increasing allocations to multifamily. Interest rates are still at historically low levels, and demographics.”—Jeffrey L. Goldberg, co-managing partner, The Milestone Group

A: “Given how hot the sales market has been over the last couple of years and the general consensus that interest rates are destined to rise, it is hard to imagine that cap rates will do anything other than rise over the near term.”—Jon Segner, president and COO, Dominium Management Services

A: “In the multihousing arena, there is so much liquidity in the system for both investment and financing that I expect cap rates to remain low and possibly even decline a bit for trophy assets in great locations.”—Peter Donovan, senior managing director, Multi-Housing Group, CB Richard Ellis