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You’re Invited: Sabal Capital Partners & Mansion Global to Co-Host Virtual Roundtable for Commercial Real Estate Owners, Investors and Brokers on September 14

On Wednesday, September 14th, Sabal Capital Partners joins Mansion Global in Real Estate as an Investment in This Current Economic Climate, an educational roundtable designed for multifamily and commercial real estate owners and investors. Experts and economists will lead a vibrant discussion about the shifting real estate landscape, covering timely themes and issues including inflationary pressure, rising interest rates, the geopolitical landscape and climate change. The session will inform and provide today’s apartment and commercial real estate owners and investors with insight into how best to navigate the challenges of the day, while sourcing and accessing the financing necessary to keep real estate transactions moving forward.

Our roundtable panelists include:

Ann Atkinson, Managing Director, Small Balance Loan & Market Real Estate Production Manager for Sabal Capital Partners, LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank)

Jason Scott, Managing Director, Head of Conventional Loan Production for Regions Bank

Danielle Hale, chief economist with

Lucy Cohen Blatter, editorial director, custom content for Barron’s Group

Who should attend:

Current and prospective owners and investors in U.S. multifamily and commercial real estate properties; Multifamily and commercial real estate brokers; and anyone interested in the state of multifamily, commercial real estate and finance.

Instructions to attend:

The virtual event starts at 1:00pm eastern / 10:00am pacific and is free for all those interested. To attend, simply register here.

The U.S. Housing Marketplace is Challenging but Financing your Apartment Property Doesn’t Need to Be

By Ann Atkinson

The nation’s housing is in a state of crisis. New supply of for-sale homes, particularly in the first-time starter home category, continually fails to meet demand. This, coupled with recent interest rate rises, is pricing many would-be buyers out of homeownership. The impact on monthly mortgage payments of the 2.0 percentage point hike in interest rates from December 2021 to mid-April 2022 alone is equivalent to a 27% jump in home prices[i] (and rate hikes obviously didn’t stop in April).

Many who were in the market for a new home just months ago have been forced back into the rental arena where prices are also rising. According to CoStar data, recent growth for 4- and 5-star apartments was 13.5% year-over year in the first quarter of 2022, more than five times the 2.5% annual average in 2015-2019; rents for moderate-quality, or 3-star, units were up 12.1% in early 2022 from a year earlier, more than three times their pre-pandemic 3.8% average; and rents for 1- and 2-star units rose 5.9% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022, well above the 3.5% growth rate averaged in 2015-2019.[ii]

The uptick in construction of new multifamily units is somewhat promising. Starts hit a 30-year high in 2021 with 474,000 and continued into the first quarter of 2022 with 124,000, however the majority of new units have added supply almost exclusively at the upper end of the market, with rents generally out-of-reach for low- and moderate-income households.[iii] For the first-time ever, median rents in the 50 most populous U.S. metros is more than $2,000 and in no state, metro or county in the U.S. can a worker earning the federal or prevailing state or local minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour work week.[iv]

With new apartment supply targeting higher income Americans, lower income Americans are severely underserved. Demand far outweighs supply. Thus, the health of the country’s existing affordable units is key and the industry must do what it can to keep this supply available to renters. As a nationwide lender with a core specialization in the finance of workforce and affordable apartment properties, Sabal is committed to serving this segment of the rental marketplace. Our team offers a suite of debt solutions for borrowers looking to purchase, refinance and/or complete sustainability-focused improvements to affordable apartment properties across the country.

Exploring all available finance options can be daunting for borrowers, but our team is here to assist. Whether you’re looking for a long-term fixed rate or short-term hybrid ARM, we provide the most competitive options in the market. We also regularly help borrowers navigate all sustainability focused finance programs, to take advantage of incentives and better rates when possible. Contact us today and we’ll help you get started.

About the Author

Ann Atkinson is Managing Director, Small Loan and Market Real Estate Production for Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank, overseeing production across the nationwide lender’s Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loan programs. Visit

[i] Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2022,

[ii] Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2022,

[iii] Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2022,

[iv] National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2022: The High Cost of Housing,

Real Estate Lenders are Turning to Automation to Protect Borrowers’ Critical Data

by Matthew Stoehr

As is true for many businesses, cybersecurity has become an area of focus for commercial real estate lenders. A once slow adopter of technology and automation, the real estate finance industry has modernized over the past several years and, because of that, must take measures to prevent security breaches and protect customer data.

In a recent report on cybersecurity, McKinsey & Company identified three current security-related trends which directly impact businesses and must be addressed to ensure borrower data is protected: 1) growing on-demand access to ubiquitous data and information platforms, 2) increased use by attackers of sophisticated tools like artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation to launch advanced offensives, and 3) the ever-growing regulatory landscape and the gaps in resources, knowledge and talent that are outpacing cybersecurity.[i] All three increase the likelihood that a lender may experience a breach, making cybersecurity crucial.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have begun to address lending security concerns in a multitude of ways through data control, compliance management, SOC-2 compliance, appraisal processes, apps, and other means. Lender partners, including Sabal Capital Partners and Regions Bank, are required by the agencies to meet their cybersecurity mandates. Non-agency lenders face similar cybersecurity challenges and must find their own paths to addressing them.

One security concern for all lenders is the systems provided by third-party vendors which help power the technology behind their lending and servicing platforms. In order to optimize security, a lender must make sure all vendors are also compliant with security mandates. The management of vendors, no matter how paramount to overall security, can however become an administrative challenge.

SOC 2 compliance is another area of focus. Essentially an auditing procedure that ensures your service providers securely manage your data to protect the interests of your organization and the privacy of its clients, SOC 2 certification is issued by outside auditors. The process is costly but provides essential peace-of-mind to both lender and agency.  

Because data for rent rolls and other critical information is pulled during the appraisals process, this is another security focus. Like lending data, appraisals data must be secured with similar controls. A borrower’s data is ultimately only as secure as its weakest link.

Costs run high with all of these measures and established lenders are better able to absorb them than others who may find them too prohibitive to bear. Regardless, the answer to addressing many security concerns is automation. By its nature, automation must be thoroughly tested and it thus brings controls and efficiencies into the lending process. A manual environment without controls is one ripe for inconsistencies. Automation also provides reporting and monitoring functions, facilitating successful interaction between auditor and lender, and reducing costs. Automation leveraged well within security systems will also detect, notify and remediate any security breaches.

All of this may seem just a concern for lenders, but a borrower should care about the security measures employed by their lender. The more invested a lender is in terms of security, the more peace-of-mind to borrower. No borrower wants their private data concerning real estate holdings, guarantors, property, appraisals or loan transactions being accessed by hackers. Additionally, the more secure a lender is, the more time it will have to focus on the business of servicing its customers and their loans.

Matthew Stoehr is Chief Technology Officer of Sabal Capital Partners, LLLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank. Contact Stoehr at, visit

[i] McKinsey & Company, Cybersecurity Trends: Looking Over the Horizon, March 10, 2022,

Multifamily in Review: Inflation, Rising Costs and the Rise in ESG

By Ed Hussey

One thing that’s become clear is that the last two years catalyzed mass movements of renters now able to work remotely, out of expensive coastal metro markets – many in search of more space and larger units. Specific markets such as Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte and metros within Texas and Florida were widely reported recipients of these mass population migrations. A recent examination of financials for Freddie Mac multifamily loans, which calculated 3.50% growth in year-over-year NOI nationally, attributed NOI growth rates of 8.45%, 5.90% and 5.73% to the Mountain, South Atlantic and Southeast Central regions respectively due to the pandemic’s migration effects.[i]

However, the movement of renters into different markets is not the only thing causing rental rates to increase. Inflation is driving up operating costs across the board, with rises in everything from gas, labor, building supplies, insurance and utilities all contributing.[ii] Unwavering demand for rentals plays a key role as well, with problematic dynamics in the for-sale housing marketplace pushing many would-be buyers back into the rental sector. In addition to expensive home prices, recent interest rate rises instated by the Federal Reserve have also priced many who were home shopping just a couple months ago, out of home ownership.

Recently, some developers with on-the-board new construction projects, as well as owners of current apartment communities undergoing maintenance and renovations, have noted that building materials may be one cost starting to level off, allowing more projects to come in on budget. However, it could also be that they’ve gotten better at planning for higher priced materials. And, because the multifamily sector remains so hot, it’s easier today to ask your lender or equity provider for additional funds to cover material costs, because obtaining both higher rental rates and low occupancy is a given for the foreseeable future.

It’s true that most apartment rents are increasing. Prices on the other hand appear to be softening. The rising interest rate environment has caused cap rates, in turn, to increase. Some buyers in the process of transactions have been forced to renegotiate with sellers as they can no longer, due to higher interest rates, get the same financing. Buyers today simply can’t pay as much as they could just a couple months ago. Luckily financing is still available, in general. While some of the more aggressive lenders have slowed or stalled their lending activity because of the volatility in the market, the more conservative lenders remain in the game, better able to hedge risks. The agencies – including FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac – are prime examples.

The agencies also happen to be some of the industry’s larger proponents of ESG, a movement which continues to grow in momentum the U.S. A recent study of ESG found that, of the three ESG categories, sustainability is the primary focus today for investors. Additionally, the study found that LEED-certified multifamily assets were shown to garner 3.1% higher rents and pointed out that GSEs (like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) have established significant incentive programs for apartment assets that satisfy green building certifications and efficiency metrics. Incentives include lower interest rates and additional loan proceeds.[iii]

Both the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sustainable finance incentive programs target multifamily owners who facilitate property enhancements that improve efficiency in both the energy and water saving categories. For owners whose properties also qualify as affordable, the incentives and rates provided are even greater. The bottom line is that sustainability and the overall interest in ESG will continue to grow in the apartments sector because tenants want to reduce their Earth impacts and are willing to pay more to live in efficient communities. Additionally, investors are looking to increase allocations in ESG investments, including real estate.

Finally, with asset repositioning being one of the best ways to increase apartment community yields today, the owners that incorporate energy and water efficiency enhancements into their repositioning plans will not only be able to increase their rents, but many will also be able to access a lower financing rate, in another boon to their ROI.

About the Author

Ed Hussey is Head of Conventional Agency Lending for Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank, overseeing production across the nationwide lender’s Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loan programs. Visit

[i] Trepp, Multifamily Net Operating Income Growth Across the Country: Trepp’s Round-up Part Two, June 15, 2022,

[ii] Multifamily Executive, Multifamily Industry Navigates Rising Costs, July 5, 2022,

[iii] Cushman & Wakefield, Green is Good: The Impact of Sustainability on Real Estate Investment (Part  Three: Multifamily Performance),

Today’s Senior Housing Outlook and Finance Options

By Russell Phillips

The senior housing sector faced challenges during the height of the pandemic. Illness was widely reported among residents and staff, and restrictions increased inside the nation’s facilities. Additionally, many families chose to keep elder parents and relatives living with them, rather than allow them to reside in senior housing. A reduced demand for units followed and investor interest, transactions, finance availability, and new construction all slowed. However, market fundamentals have bounced back as restrictions lessen and demand tailwinds persevere.[i] Additionally, while rising interest rates are causing concern among all involved in senior housing, lenders, borrowers and investors alike remaining bullish on the sector overall, as the pandemic continues to recede and another surge of baby boomers is on the horizon.[ii]

The sentiment of lenders active in senior housing is on the upswing. However, lenders’ willingness to finance is somewhat based on the senior housing asset and loan types in question, in part because recovery in asset sub-sectors varies. For example, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) released research in March 2022 indicating demand for assisted living properties is bouncing back after a pandemic-related drop. [iii] On the other hand, the Omicron variant caused COVID-19 cases to spike at the beginning of the year, seemingly stalling the occupancy recovery in skilled nursing facilities. Occupancy in these facilities remains low compared to the pre-pandemic February 2020 level of 86.1%.[iv]

Financing trends and options for senior facilities

Owners of assisted living and skilled nursing facilities can explore numerous paths to finance. Three agencies offer finance solutions for these properties – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financing is designed specifically for existing, stabilized and purpose-built senior housing properties. Benefits of these offerings include customized solutions, flexible yield maintenance periods and competitive pricing. Loan terms are typically 5 to 15 years and may be fixed- or variable-rate. Borrowers seeking to begin a financing relationship with either Fannie or Freddie may contact us directly for information.

HUD offers financing via FHA Section 232/223(f). Eligible properties must have been completed or substantially rehabilitated at least three years prior to the date of the firm commitment application. Fixed-rate and non-recourse, the program supports borrowers comprising a single asset and single purpose entity (either for-profit or nonprofit). Rates are determined by market conditions at the time of the rate lock. Given the potential pitfalls, and sometimes rigid process, of FHA/HUD financing, we encourage borrowers to contact us for guidance and to explore the finance options available based on financial projections.

In addition to facilitating agency provided financing, Regions Bank offers on-balance sheet lending options for senior housing and/or skilled nursing facility owner/operators, primarily in the form of construction, bridge and short-term loans. Notably, as facility occupancy and operating incomes have fluctuated during the pandemic, bridge financing has become an ideal option for many borrowers seeking a short-term debt solution as a conduit to future Fannie, Freddie or HUD longer-term permanent financing.

The team at Regions Bank is happy to assist any borrower interested in any of these agency and bank loan options.

Russell Phillips is Managing Director of Real Estate Capital Markets for Regions Bank, a nationwide senior housing, multifamily and commercial real estate lender. Visit or contact Russell about senior housing finance options at or 813.226.1138.

[i] JLL Research, Seniors Housing & Care: Investor Survey and Trends Outlook, Spring 2022,

[ii] NIC Notes: Insights in Seniors Housing & Care, Financing Market Faces Headwinds, Rides Tailwinds, May 11, 2022, 

[iii] NIC Notes: Insights in Seniors Housing & Care, Skilled Nursing Medicare Mix Increased Significantly Due to Omicron, March 31, 2022,

[iv] NIC Notes: Insights in Seniors Housing & Care, Assisted Living Demand Bouncing Back Relatively Swiftly, March 17, 2022,


Ann Atkinson named small balance loan and market real estate production manager, Ed Hussey moving into the role of head of conventional agency lending

IRVINE, Calif. – May 2, 2022Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Regions Bank and a nationwide commercial real estate lender, today announced it has added 11 new hires to support the next phase of the company’s strategic growth following its acquisition by Regions Bank. Notable new hire Ann Atkinson joins Sabal Capital Partners as small balance loan and market real estate production manager. The additional new hires will support origination, underwriting and servicing for Sabal’s agency and non-agency programs, which include Freddie Mac Optigo® Small Balance, Freddie Mac Optigo® Conventional, Fannie Mae Small Loans, and Sabal’s CMBS conduit loan program. Ed Hussey, formerly head of agency lending at Sabal, is moving into the role of head of conventional agency lending.

“Through an experienced team, a passion for a superior client experience, and the union of Sabal’s and Regions’ finance capabilities, we are well positioned to accelerate our growth while connecting more clients with high-value services,” said Troy Marek, head of Real Estate Capital Markets for Regions Bank. “These new additions reflect continued momentum as Sabal Capital Partners and Regions Bank offer a distinctive blend of customized insights and leading-edge technology to meet the specialized needs of clients.”

In her new role, Atkinson is responsible for managing small balance and market real estate production. Atkinson comes to Sabal after two decades with Fannie Mae, where she most recently led a team responsible for production strategy and loan deliveries from the nationwide network of Fannie Mae DUS Lenders. She also managed Fannie Mae’s Small Loan Program, implementing and overseeing multifamily small loan production strategy nationally. Prior to Fannie Mae, Atkinson was a multifamily credit underwriter with Berkshire Mortgage Finance. She earned her Bachelor of Science in finance from Northern Illinois University and is based in Northbrook, Illinois.

“Ann Atkinson’s experience is invaluable to the Sabal lending platform, which traditionally specializes in multifamily small balance loans,” adds Marek. “We are extremely pleased to add her, as well as all of these incredibly skilled individuals, to our rapidly expanding team.”

The additional new hires at Sabal include:

  • Daniel Conn, underwriter (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Colin Daruns, transaction analyst (Dallas, Texas)
  • Eric Amend, portfolio analyst (Pasadena, California)
  • Kate Mann, underwriting manager (Great Neck, New York)
  • Austin Barrett, production associate (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Tony Le, portfolio analyst (Pasadena, California)
  • Grant deWilde, director CMBS trading, (New York, New York)
  • Timothy Kraics, transaction analyst (Setauket, New York)
  • Brian Walior, transaction manager (Dallas, Texas)
  • Cynthia Zelaya, servicing associate (Pasadena, California)

In addition to its new hires, Sabal has named Ed Hussey, formerly the head of agency lending, as head of conventional agency lending. In this new role, Hussey will focus on expanding the production of the conventional loan business, which now includes the full spectrum of agency conventional loan products for multifamily lending that, combined with an active balance sheet, position Regions and Sabal uniquely to service customers. As part of this expansion, the team will be adding new origination and origination support positions to support superior levels of service across the client base.

For eligibility and details on Sabal’s robust multifamily and commercial real estate loan programs, visit

About Sabal Capital Partners, LLC

Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Regions Bank, is a national commercial real estate lender that has originated nearly $6 billion in financing and maintains a $5 billion servicing portfolio. Sabal Capital Partners keeps brokers and borrowers ahead of the curve with comprehensive debt solutions encompassing both agency and non-agency options. The lender is recognized for advancing the industry with SNAP™, an innovative proprietary technology platform that optimizes origination and servicing and enhances the customer experience. Sabal Capital Partners is a nationally rated Commercial Primary Servicer and Commercial Special Servicer by Morningstar with a CS2 ranking, an S&P Global rated Commercial Mortgage Loan Special Servicer with an average ranking, as well as a Fitch rated CMBS Primary Servicer with a CPS2- ranking and CMBS Special Servicer with a CSS3+ ranking. For more details, visit

About Regions Financial Corporation

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $163 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,300 banking offices and more than 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at

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Making Sustainability Improvements on your Apartment Community? Access Finance Incentives While Reducing Impacts on the Earth

Apartment property retrofits aimed at making communities environmentally friendly are on the rise. Not only are these improvements more affordable to complete than they were even just a decade ago, but they may help attract tenants. A growing number of renters today are seeking units and communities with a reduced environmental footprint. The good news for borrowers purchasing or refinancing sustainable communities is the agencies providing financing for existing apartment communities are offering valuable incentives.

Demand for Earth-friendly Rentals

Research points to the marketability of sustainable apartments. Eighty percent of apartment residents believe that living in green multifamily communities is good for their health and 61% of renters say they are willing to pay more in monthly rent to live in an eco-friendly apartment. Notably, younger generations of renters are increasingly concerned about the environment. Gen Z and Millennials are two of the biggest cohorts supporting sustainability today.[i]

Climate Change Awareness

Climate change likely plays a big role in the sustainability concerns of renters. The issue is now widely discussed across the news, political stage, in entertainment and in schools, leading to a greater awareness among consumers about its effects. In the scientific community, most scientists agree the phenomenon is progressing at an alarming speed. Greenhouse emissions originating from human activity are now higher than ever and the resulting warming of the earth has led to numerous catastrophic effects, including increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts and fires, as well as ocean acidification and a significant decline in non-human species.[ii] 

The primary cause of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of fossil fuels, specifically for electricity, heat and transportation. Real estate plays a leading role in this. Buildings use about 40% of energy produced in the U.S. and are responsible for approximately 30% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions[iii]. Reducing that energy consumption, and the emissions resulting from it, is a priority.

Available Agency Finance Solutions

Apartment owners that reduce the environmental impacts of their properties benefit from lower energy bills, increased marketability and helping protect the earth. Loans for sustainable apartment properties are available at lower-than-market rates through both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and can help offset improvement costs. Each agency offers a package of incentives designed for owners whose properties demonstrate sustainability metrics and/or certifications.

Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Green Advantage® program is ideal for owners reducing the consumption of energy and water by 30% or more within workforce apartment communities. Two paths to finance are offered, Green Up® and Green Up Plus®, providing qualifying borrowers with better loan pricing and increased funding for the enhancements.Borrowers must complete a Green Assessment® property analysis demonstrating how property enhancements will enable energy and water savings. Freddie Mac reimburses up to $4,000 for the assessment cost. Borrowers must engage a third-party data collection firm. Another plus? Tenants of qualifying properties save $114 per year in utility bills, on average.

Fannie Mae’s green loan products are also available to borrowers driving energy and water efficiencies within their properties. Program benefits for affordable apartment owners include preferential loan pricing, additional loan proceeds to cover the cost of energy and water retrofits and a free Energy and Water Audit Report. Borrowers with green certified properties, or who are investing in Active Design and/or Resident Services, may also qualify for a lower rate.

Common Sustainability Enhancements

Freddie Mac reports that showerheads and kitchen and bath aerators are top selections because of their low cost and dual energy- and water-saving potential. The agency notes that the top four energy improvements include exterior and common area LED lighting, unit interior LED lighting, HVAC thermostats and insulation.[iv] Fannie Mae provides borrowers with Green Rewards Guidance[v], and its program’s High Performance Building Report offers suggestions for energy and water efficiency measures that are tailored to meet the needs of the property in question.

About the Author

Ed Hussey is Head of Agency Lending for Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank, and oversees production across the nationwide lender’s Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loan programs. Visit


[i], Multifamily Data Research: Renters Want Sustainability, February 5, 2021,,is%20good%20for%20their%20health.&text=In%20fact%2C%2061%25%20of%20renters,the%20desire%20for%20sustainable%20apartments.

[ii] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers,

[iii] Lee Paddock, associate dean for environmental law studies, and Caitlin McCoy, associate professor of law and environmental program fellow, George Washington University Law School, Deep Decarbonization of New Buildings Report, 2018

[iv] Freddie Mac Multifamily, Green Improvements in Workforce Housing, December 2021,

[v] Fannie Mae, Green Rewards Guidance,


Bulk of 80 Loans Financing Affordable and Workforce Rental Properties, Emphasizing Current Demand within the Sector Amidst Housing Affordability Crisis

Irvine, Calif. – April 05, 2022Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank and a nationwide commercial real estate lender, today announced the successful close of approximately $264 million in multifamily property loans during the period of January 1 through March 31 of this year. Totaling 80 loans for 80 properties across 21 states from coast-to-coast, the transactions include both acquisition and refinance loans, and represent transactions from three of the company’s many offered loan programs only. The bulk of the multifamily loans were financed through small balance Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agency programs serving affordable and workforce rental properties, reflecting deep demand within the sector today amidst an ongoing home affordability crisis in the United States.

“Sabal continues to address borrower needs within the affordable and workforce housing sector and our Q1 pipeline reflects that,” says Ed Hussey, head of agency lending for Sabal Capital Partners. “These loans are important as they ensure that rental units across the country remain available to individuals and families who can’t afford market rate apartments near their places of employment.”

Current research indicates ten million low-income renter households routinely spend more than half, when ideally they should spend no more than 30%, of their income on rent. Additionally, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour falls well short of both the two-bedroom and one-bedroom National Housing Wages. While 30 states, the District of Columbia, and numerous counties and municipalities now have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, the average minimum wage worker must still work nearly 97 hours per week (almost two full-time jobs) to afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rate.[i]

27 of the 80 total loans were completed through Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Small Loan program, which provides loans up to $6 million for smaller rental properties that tend to be more affordable, are concentrated in urban areas close to transportation and jobs, and that provide housing for working families. 47 of the completed loans were financed through Freddie Mac’s Optigo® Small Balance Loans Program, which offers $1 million – $7.5 million loans nationwide for small apartment properties between 5 and 50 units and which serve the nation’s workforce.

The remaining six loans were closed via Sabal’s CMBS Conduit loan program, which provides non-recourse loans up to $50 million for core commercial real estate properties, including multifamily communities, located nationwide. All of the CMBS loans provided financed multifamily properties with the exception of one, which financed a self-storage asset. Of the 80 transactions, 18 financed acquisitions and 62 were refinance loans. The 80 loans do not include transaction activity for the remaining, combined Sabal Capital Partners and Regions Bank portfolio of loan programs. The company’s complete acquisition, refinance and construction solutions offering includes Fannie Mae DUS, Fannie Mae Affordable, Fannie Mae Small Loans, Freddie Mac Affordable, Freddie Mac Optigo® Small Balance Loans, Freddie Mac Optigo® Conventional, USDA, FHA/HUD (both MAP and LEAN), Bridge, Structured Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loans and CMBS Conduit programs.

The 2022 first quarter transaction closings follow the recent news of the Regions Bank acquisition of Sabal Capital Partners announced on December 2, 2021.

All of Sabal’s loan programs are accessible through SNAPÔ, the proprietary online lending platform that enables unparalleled efficiencies and convenience for brokers and borrowers throughout the loan process, from application through servicing. Visit

About Sabal Capital Partners

Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank, is a national commercial real estate lender that has originated nearly $6 billion in financing and maintains a $5 billion servicing portfolio. Sabal Capital Partners keeps brokers and borrowers ahead of the curve with comprehensive debt solutions encompassing both agency and non-agency options. The lender is recognized for advancing the industry with SNAP™, an innovative proprietary technology platform that optimizes origination and servicing and enhances the customer experience. Sabal Capital Partners is a nationally rated Commercial Primary Servicer and Commercial Special Servicer by Morningstar with a CS2 ranking, an S&P Global rated Commercial Mortgage Loan Special Servicer with an average ranking, as well as a Fitch rated CMBS Primary Servicer with a CPS2- ranking and CMBS Special Servicer with a CSS3+ ranking. For more details, visit

[i] National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2021: The High Cost of Housing, 


Pandemic Recovery is Underway, but Rising Rates a Concern

by Richard Rennell

We are now two years past the start of the pandemic in the U.S. Some real estate sectors have fared better than others, however research points to recovery across the asset classes and a greater willingness among finance providers, albeit to varying degrees, to lend. Yet a rise in interest rates was cemented when January’s 7.5% year-over-year inflation number marked the biggest gain since 1982. Thus, while lenders may be more comfortable financing more property types, borrowers will need to adjust to a new rate reality.

The recovery data is compelling. In February, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released a report on commercial and multifamily mortgage originations for the fourth quarter of 2021. The report pointed to the quarter as a record end to a record year of lending. MBA’s numbers demonstrated a 79% increase in originations year-over-year and a 44% increase over the previous quarter.[i] Notably, low interest rates were one reason cited for the jump.

The sector hit hardest by the pandemic, hospitality, is rebounding and finance availability is as well. MBA’s figures indicated a 167% year-over-year increase in the dollar volume of loans for hotel properties. Even so, borrowers should expect cautiousness among lenders as this sector continues to recover.

The MBA noted a 122% year-over-year increase in the dollar volume of office loans. COVID’s Omicron surge moderately slowed demand for new space inquiries in December, however sublease space availability fell.[ii] Office lenders today are looking at locations, tenant stability, credit of the tenants, as well as lease rolls during the loan terms.

The retail sector delivered a 109% year-over-year increase in the dollar volume of loans, per the MBA. Likewise, Trepp’s Year-End 2021 report found annual retail property loan delinquency rates declined, however, noted a significant drop specifically in CMBS loan activity, demonstrating that lenders remain cool and cautious on this sector.[iii]

The MBA found the year-over-year increase in industrial loans by dollar volume was 113%. In 2021, investors couldn’t get enough industrial space and the sector held onto its place as the top performing asset class. Lenders view industrial today favorably. Retailers and suppliers are stockpiling inventory and the move away from brick-and-mortar spaces continues as online shopping reigns supreme. 

Multifamily hit a 53% year-over-year increase in dollar volume of loans. Apartments continue to prove they are essential and the sector is still favored by lenders. Under the current administration, agencies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have strengthened their commitment to ensuring finance is available for affordable and workforce housing properties.

Borrowers must understand that, despite commercial real estate’s ongoing recovery from pandemic-related distress, inflation and rising rates are today’s realities. Buyers should consider moving more quickly on any present deals as lenders are being forced to increase their pricing. In specific cases discounts are emerging, for example with the agencies’ for some affordable and workforce housing transactions. Ultimately, borrowers and lenders both need to adapt to a changing interest rate environment, but expect commercial real estate transactions to continue.

About the Author

Richard Rennell is managing director of CRE Term Lending with Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regions Bank and a nationwide commercial real estate lender. Visit

[i] Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Commercial/Multifamily Borrowing Jumped 70 Percent to New Record in  the Fourth Quarter of 2021, February 14, 2022,

[ii] CBRE, Omicron Surge Slows U.S. Office Demand in December, January 26, 2022,

[iii] Trepp & CRE Direct, The Year-End 2021,


Owen Bouton and Michael Cozza to join as CMBS managing directors, Christopher West to serve as production manager

Irvine, Calif. – February 16, 2021Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a diversified financial services firm specializing in commercial real estate, lending and investing, today announced it has added 14 new hires to support its strategic growth as a nationwide lender providing a comprehensive range of multifamily and commercial real estate (CRE) debt solutions. The new team members span Sabal Capital Partners’ agency and non-agency programs, which include Freddie Mac Optigo Small Balance, Freddie Mac Optigo Conventional, Fannie Mae Small Balance, Bridge AFR and S-CRE, Sabal Capital Partners’ CMBS program.

Owen Bouton and Michael Cozza have been hired as managing directors of the company’s Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) group, which provides non-recourse loans up to $50 million on commercial real estate properties nationwide.

With more than 15 years of experience, Bouton is a skilled CRE loan originator. Most recently, Bouton served as an executive director of loan production at CIBC, where he headed southeastern balance sheet and CMBS origination efforts for floating and fixed rate loans totaling $100 million. He has also served as vice president of loan production at Hunt Mortgage Group and vice president of loan production at LStar Capital. Based in Atlanta, he has been involved in more than $2.75 billion in financing throughout his career. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and earned his MBA from Georgia State University.

“With an impressive breadth and depth of loan offerings, Sabal boasts some of the industry’s most comprehensive debt solutions,” said Bouton. “I look forward to leveraging my experience in the CMBS space to further expand Sabal’s presence in the marketplace.”

With more than 25 years of experience, Cozza is a knowledgeable and innovative originator with strong client relationships and extensive borrower and mortgage broker contacts.   Previously, Cozza served as executive director and senior loan originator at CIBC World Markets, where he generated more than $19 million in revenue across all property types and closed approximately $1.1 billion in fixed and floating rate CRE loans. Cozza has also served as vice president and loan officer at Northfield Bank as well as vice president and senior loan originator at JP Morgan Capital. Based in New Jersey, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hofstra University.

“Providing a unique life of loan experience, Sabal’s CMBS offerings fill an important gap in the marketplace,” said Cozza. “The company is well positioned to expand its CMBS business in 2021, and I look forward to being part of such a dynamic, client-centric team.”

Additional hires for Sabal’s non-agency loan programs include:

  • Darius Rybinski, conventional underwriter (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Lisa Dunn, conventional underwriting analyst (Lebanon, Ohio)
  • Luan “Jay” Tang, portfolio analyst (Pasadena, California)

On the agency lending side, Christopher West joins Sabal as production manager of term lending sales, where he originates loans through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. With 10 years of experience, West is a client-oriented originator with extensive experience in real estate finance, multifamily loan origination, underwriting and property valuation. He previously served as mortgage originator at Greystone Servicing Co., where he originated approximately $20 million in multifamily loans. He has also served various roles at Basis Investment Group, Walker & Dunlop and CBRE. Based in Atlanta, he earned his bachelor’s degree in management and entrepreneurship from Clemson University.

“These hires will be extremely instrumental in Sabal’s growth as we continue to expand our loan pipeline and teams to serve more borrowers and brokers nationwide,” said Pat Jackson, founder and CEO of Sabal. “We have continued to counsel and provide solutions for our customers without interruption throughout COVID-19 and look forward to a strong year in 2021 bolstered by the expertise of these additional team members.”

Additional hires for Sabal Capital Partners’ agency programs include:

  • Collin Rodgers, senior underwriter, term lending (Sarasota, Florida)
  • Varduhi Hunanyan, underwriter, term lending (Sunland, California)
  • Judy Huynh-Smith, underwriting analyst, term lending (Murphy, Texas)
  • Scott Regan, senior associate, production and sizing (New York City)
  • Gamil Saad, servicing associate (Pasadena, California)
  • Kerri Spalding-Thompson, underwriting manager (Irvine, California)
  • Brendan Whaley, underwriting analyst (Kansas)
  • James Nguyen, programmer analyst (Ontario, California)

For information on Sabal’s loan programs, visit for details and eligibility.

About Sabal Capital Partners, LLC

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Sabal Capital Partners, LLC and its commercial real estate lending and servicing subsidiaries and affiliates have originated over $4 billion nationally through their highly specialized wholesale lending platform. Sabal strives to keep clients and investors ahead of the curve, representing a corporate philosophy based upon the core practices of innovation, partnership, commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Sabal’s dedication to advancing the financial services industry has led to the development of SNAP™, an innovative platform designed to optimize the lending and investment processes and enable a highly efficient interaction between Sabal and its client and investor base. Sabal is a nationally rated Commercial Primary Servicer and Commercial Special Servicer by Morningstar with a CS2 ranking, an S&P Global rated Commercial Mortgage Loan Special Servicer with an average ranking, as well as a Fitch rated CMBS Primary Servicer with a CPS2- ranking and CMBS Special Servicer with a CSS3+ ranking. For more information about Sabal, visit

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