Wells Fargo flies in Bottles to refresh real estate lending operation in UK

US bank Wells Fargo is moving Scott Bottles, a senior member of its real estate banking group, to London to be head of credit. He is expected to join the Covent Garden-based UK real estate lending team this spring.

The move will enable new loan decisions to be made more quickly, giving Mike Acratapulo’s origination team more power to compete in an increasingly competitive lending market.

Wells Fargo, the largest commercial mortgage lender  in the US, bought the former Eurohypo UK business last August to expand its international real estate lending ambitions.

Bottles has spent 22 years in the US bank, in two stints. His real estate finance experience spans capital markets, originating senior loans and mezzanine, distressed debt and equity investments.

Wells Fargo’s latest UK loan is £40m of acquisition finance for fund manager Aerium’s  £61.75m purchase of New Uberior House and Princes Exchange in Edinburgh. The buildings, which total 158,500 sq ft, are let to Lloyds’ Bank of Scotland for a further 12 years.

Aerium is thought to have had strong interest to finance the regional buildings and a number of reverse enquiries from banks. Wells Fargo’s largest UK  loan to date will be £700m of loan-on-loan finance for Lone Star’s acquisition of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation’s Rock and Salt non-performing loan portfolios.

Dallas-headquartered Lone Star, which was selected by IBRC in March, is one of the bank’s biggest US clients and  bought the non-performing loans in the Eurohypo UK book in a joint bid with Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo is also converting its German representative office to full branch status for corporate banking, but has no plans yet to lend on real estate there.