Bridger Commercial Funding will resume originating new commercial real estate loans on income-producing properties, the firm said today. 

Loans made under Bridger’s new program will be underwritten to fit eligibility standards for securitization under Term ABS Loan Facility (TALF).

Separately, Bridger also announced that it has hired staff from Whitegate Advisors, a New York-based real estate capital markets specialist firm, to support its new CMBS origination activity.

The Whitegate team, comprising Julian Vulliez, Edward Dale and David Weiss, brings to Bridger direct capital markets execution capabilities. All three will be based in Bridger’s New York City office.

Bridger’s new program is believed to be the first next generation multi-borrower CMBS loan program started since the onset of the credit crisis in early 2008.

Even though the program is designed to allow investors buying new triple-A-rated CMBS to access TALF financing, the program will  also offer commercial real estate borrowers the flexibility to access a range of alternative financing structures. Individual borrowers to-date have been locked out of TALF-supported financings as a result of the pooling requirement for newly originated loans. This new program addresses this hindrance by assembling a diversified loan pool from many different borrowers that will be eligible under TALF.

“Recent activity in the CMBS market is signaling that the credit logjam plaguing commercial real estate lending for the past two years is starting to break,” said Bridger Executive Vice President Peter Grabell. “CMBS bond yields have fallen throughout the year, to the point where newly originated CMBS loans are becoming a viable financing option once again for borrowers.”
Bridger’s new program is open to applications for new loans from $2 million to $20 million. Qualifying property types are multifamily, manufactured housing communities, office, retail, industrial/warehouse, and self storage. Fixed rate loan maturities from three to five years will be offered, with traditional amortization and balloon payment features.

“We are bringing together two firms with highly complementary expertise and relationships within different segments of commercial real estate finance,” former Whitegate principal Weiss said. “Bridger’s longstanding reputation within commercial banking as a leading independent CMBS lender, combined with the Whitegate team’s proven capital markets track record, positions Bridger to lead the industry in bringing debt capital to commercial real estate in 2010 and beyond,” he added.

Aside from originating TALF-eligible CMBS loans, Bridger offers structured financing alternatives for other loan types. Via Bridger’s BankXchange network and direct loan placement services, borrowers with more complex financing needs can access financing from anarray of real estate and fixed-income investors.

Bridger offers commercial real estate portfolio advisory services and lending programs to financial institutions. It originates CMBS and other secondary market loans secured by commercial real estate. Its BankXchange division handles institutional loan and REO sales, and develops and executes loan restructuring strategies for banks to strengthen balance sheets and provide regulatory capital relief.

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