Walker & Dunlop chairman and CEO Willy Walker today highlighted a few of his firm’s successes: among them, the firm has grown to become the #1 Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS) and #3 Freddie Mac Program Plus lender.
But Walker didn’t shy away from the company’s shortcomings on the CMBS side, as Walker & Dunlop Commercial Property Funding, a joint venture with Fortress Investment Group, fell well short of a $1bn origination target set for its first year of business in 2014.
“That venture is up-and-running and has taken longer to get the volumes we were hoping for,” Walker said at the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Mortgage Finance Conference in Midtown Manhattan, adding that the business originated between $300,000 and $350,000 in CMBS loans last year.
“We have to get volumes up but do it in measured fashion… we want to grow and there is great opportunity to grow.”
As such, the $1bn target stands for 2015, with Walker noting that “we are very pleased with the business we have done so far,” that “profitability has been good,” but that the firm is poised to harness its platform and size (with 22 offices across the country) to boost volumes while maintaining discipline and keeping risk levels low.
“At the end of the day our money is as green as anyone else’s,” Walker said.
The venture with an affiliate of a fund managed by Fortress Investment Group, formed in late 2013, provides first mortgage loans, high-yield whole loans, mezzanine debt and preferred equity on commercial assets across the US.
The joint venture is headquartered in New York and overseen by Tim Koltermann, a 25-year industry veteran in commercial loan originations, CMBS trading, loan pricing and structuring, and CMBS securitisation.