02/04/2011

Guggenheim Hires Quinn, Eyes CMBS Loans

Guggenheim Partners has hired veteran lender Kieran Quinn as it prepares to expand its fledgling loan platform beyond agency product to securitized mortgages.

The move reunites Quinn with Robert Brennan, who was recruited by Guggenheim last May to oversee its new commercial real estate finance group. Brennan and Quinn both had long stints at Credit Suisse Brennan headed the bank's CMBS group, and Quinn oversaw the Column Financial conduit unit. Quinn left Column in early 2009 and joined multi-family lender Walker & Dunlop of Bethesda, Md., as vice chairman.

Quinn, who started at Guggenheim this week as a managing director, will help the Chicago firm make a push beyond an initial focus on multi-family loans. Last year, Guggenheim bought a Fannie Mae-approved lender, helping to jump-start its real estate finance group.

Now the operation is preparing to move into lending on other property types, via both portfolio and CMBS loans. The company is shooting to originate about $500 million of CMBS mortgages this year, joining a long list of lenders entering the sector. It plans to write another $1 billion of loans in total for clients especially insurance companies and pension funds and for its own balance sheet.

Guggenheim expects to hire at least a dozen staffers in coming months to staff planned regional lending offices.

The company started putting its real estate group together in late 2009, initially focusing on the trading of CMBS. Its agency-lending business was propelled by the acquisition of Bulls Capital Partners of Vienna, Va., one of only about 25 lenders pre-approved to originate loans for sale to Fannie under its Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS) program. As part of the deal, Guggenheim assumed the $355 million Fannie servicing portfolio of Bulls, which has been renamed Pillar Multifamily.

Over the past several months, Pillar has been staffing up. It hired Mark Van Kirk as chief operating officer, Rob Russell as head of production and Howard Laskow as chief underwriter.

In addition to helping Guggenheim expand into new lending areas, Quinn will also have a role at Pillar. He has maintained a high profile in the industry, speaking frequently at conferences and holding senior posts at two leading trade groups, the CRE Finance Council and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Quinn, who is based in Atlanta and reports to Brennan, joins a long list of Credit Suisse alumni at Guggenheim's real estate operation. Others include senior managing director Anand Gajjar, head trader Barry Polen, directors Prashant Raj and Jason Fruchtman, and vice president Yousaf Sami.

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