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CMA
December 06, 2019  

Canadian Bridge Lender Eyes US Expansion

Canada-based Trez Capital is taking steps to raise its profile as an originator of U.S. bridge loans, starting with recent changes in senior management.

The former No. 2 executive, president Greg Vorwaller, left on Oct. 31. He has been replaced by a three-member executive committee that oversees the firm’s day-to-day operations and will spearhead the expansion.

One of those executives, Resource America alumnus Dave Bloom, was recruited as chief investment officer, a new position. The two other committee members are longtime Trez executives — Sandy Manson and John Hutchinson. The trio reports to chief executive Morley Green, who founded Trez in 1997.

Trez has a roughly C$4 billion ($3 billion) portfolio of commercial mortgages. About 60% of that pool is backed by U.S. properties, with the rest of the collateral in Canada. But the company is seeking to increase its U.S. footprint, and about three-quarters of recent financings have been in the U.S.

“We will stay consistent in Canada and increase originations programmatically in the U.S, where we are poised for significant growth,” Bloom said.

Trez originates floating-rate loans on transitional properties and also writes construction loans, especially in the multi-family sector. Loan sizes generally range from $15 million to $100 million and average about $20 million, but “we clearly have an appetite for increasing loan sizes over time,” Bloom said.

Trez is on track to originate some $1.7 billion of bridge loans in the U.S. this year, up roughly 50% from last year, and expects to exceed $2 billion in 2020, with bigger increases in subsequent years, according to Bloom.

The Vancouver company has originated some of its U.S. loans via Trez Forman Capital, a joint venture it formed in 2016 with Forman Capital of Boynton Beach, Fla. Plans call for phasing out the Trez Forman name early next year to present a single brand to borrowers.

Trez Capital initially focused on the Southwest and West, with an office in Dallas. But it is stepping up efforts to lend nationwide. It gained an office in Boynton Beach under the joint venture with Forman and opened an outpost in Atlanta last year. A month after his arrival in September, Bloom opened Trez’s fourth U.S. office, in New York. The firm is looking to hire 2-3 seasoned loan pros there by early next year.

Bloom spent 17 years at Resource America, also in New York. He was a senior vice president and co-head of real estate when he departed in March 2018, following the Philadelphia firm’s takeover by C-III Capital in 2016.

Bloom simultaneously held senior positions at various Resource America subsidiaries. He was head of real estate at Resource Capital since that REIT, now called Exantas Capital, was created in 2005. In that role, Bloom oversaw the post-crash issuance of five commercial real estate CLOs totaling $1.7 billion. He was also the longtime president of Resource Real Estate, which originated and managed the floating-rate mortgages collateralizing those CLOs.

The other members of Trez’s executive committee are retaining the same duties. Manson, who is based in Vancouver, is chief financial officer. Hutchinson, based in Dallas, oversees lending in the Central and Southwest regions.

There’s no word on Vorwaller’s plans. He was a prominent U.S. commercial real estate broker before joining Trez in mid-2015. Vorwaller spent 17 years at CBRE, including a stint as capital-markets chief, and moved over to Cushman & Wakefield as global capital-markets chief in 2010, leaving at yearend 2013. He was subsequently a managing director at Trekker Property Investment, a boutique investment firm in Chicago, before joining Trez.