NEW YORK - At the Commercial Mortgage Association's Eleventh Annual Convention held here last week, participants focused on the evolution of deal structures, which has been a major theme in the CMBS market over the past year.

Participants at the panel called The Man Behind the Curtain - Who's Structuring This Deal Anyway? said that competitive pressures have been the single driver of structural innovation in CMBS. There has also been a clear "chipping away" in loan structure with LTVs rising, amortization in loans diminishing - even in hotel collateral - and loan pricing dramatically changing. Panelists added that for the right pricing, borrowers could now get a "detailed menu" of loan characteristics specifically tailored to their needs. For instance, panelists said that many floating rate features are now being structured into fixed-rate commercial mortgages.

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