There’s been plenty of speculation about insurance companies crowding out commercial mortgage bond investors this year. Volatility in the capital markets in the first quarter, combined with new and impending regulations, have made it difficult for firms that underwrite loans for sale to securitization conduits to compete with so-called portfolio lenders.

Now there’s evidence that insurance companies were busy refinancing loans out of CMBS conduits even earlier, in the second half of last year.

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