As Philadelphians, it’s easy to think that 2012 has been a disappointment.  Our beloved Eagles are 4-9, the Phillies had the most disappointing season in recent history and the Sixers traded last year’s best player for someone who has not yet set foot on the court this season (to avoid any rage from hockey fans, we will omit any discussion of the state of the Flyers).

As morose as Philadelphians are these days when discussing our sports teams, it should not be a surprise to anyone in the commercial real estate finance industry that the latest in CREFC’s series of after-work seminars, held in Philadelphia on December 6, had a decidedly optimistic tone. The seminar included a distinguished panel of commercial real estate lenders, including Richard Bendit of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC, Andy Coler of PNC Bank, Raphael Licht of Rait Financial Trust and Bernie Shields of M&T Bank.  The panel discussed the year in review for 2012 from the lender’s perspective, and pulled out their crystal balls to discuss industry trends for 2013.

There was general consensus among the panel that 2012 was a good year for lenders and that 2013 should be even better.  The head-winds of the great recession clearly gave way to at least a moderate tail-wind in 2012.  Each of the lenders represented on the panel increased its lending business in 2012 from 2011, and all expect the trend to continue in 2013.  The uptick in CMBS lending made the lending market more competitive in 2012, and each panelist expects a growing CMBS market to create even more competition in the year ahead.  The panelists also agreed that we can expect to see an increase in mezzanine and other subordinate financing in 2013.  With greater competition in the market, and a general increase in lending, the panelists believe that 2013 will be a good year for borrowers as well as lenders.

The Philadelphia CREFC after-work seminar was a preview of the discussions that we can expect at the CREFC January Conference to be held from January 14-16 at the Loews Hotel in South Beach, Miami.  We will again be live blogging throughout the conference.  We expect a great turn-out at the January Conference and more optimism for the year ahead.  Please check back with CrunchedCredit after the New Year for our annual preview.  As we’re writing this post, the Eagles just completed a last-second, come-back victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  It looks like even Philadelphians may have some reason for optimism in 2013.

By: Ken Hackman and Laurie Nelson