Robin Bolz: How to Harness and Leverage Data in Today’s CRE Markets

MBA NewsLink interviewed Robin Bolz, Managing Director and Head of Commercial Real Estate Strategy at JPMorgan Chase, about the future of data and commercial lending.

Bolz will participate in a May 18 webinar, Harnessing and Leveraging Data in Today’s CRE Markets. Moderated by Reonomy Founder and Executive Chairman Rich Sarkis, the webinar will also include CBRE Senior Director of Capital Markets Operations Bryan Doyle, Berkadia Chief Data Officer Gary Mumford and Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital Director of Transformation and Partner Management Eric Tupta.

Bolz’s career centers on driving long-range, forward-looking strategic thought. His early career was spent working for a large electronics firm in the Silicon Valley during the 1980’s, then he earned an MBA at Stanford University. From there he went to work at a growing software company in Redmond, Wash. named Microsoft.

Bolz later accepted a position at a bank working with a long-time friend who ran the commercial real estate business there. That bank was purchased by JPMorgan Chase, which provided him with a platform for exploring and implementing new ideas as banking and commercial real estate both move toward digital futures.

MBA NEWSLINK: How do you use data in your day-to-day job and how does it enhance your business strategy?

Robin Bolz

ROBIN BOLZ: As the Head of CRE Strategy at JPMorgan Chase, I wouldn’t say that I personally “use” a huge amount of data per se in my day-to-day job. However, certainly a very significant portion of our current and future business strategy is predicated on an increasingly sophisticated use of more and more data. 

Nearly every industry on the planet (OK, maybe not hot dog stands!) has been and is being transformed by an ever-increasing use of data to make faster, better decisions for the benefit of their business, and more importantly for the benefit of their partners and customers. We truly believe that being the absolute best in our industry at procuring, organizing and using data to provide us and our clients with the best possible information is a key competitive advantage and that the importance of that will only grow over time.

NEWSLINK: What are some of the ways our industry can leverage even more technology to be more efficient and effective?

BOLZ: To me, the most obvious thing the CRE industry can do in this area is to adopt industry standards for data, at least in a few key, strategic foundational areas. There is certainly no shortage of data in this industry, but unfortunately, it’s all stored in very disparate ways by a myriad of collectors and users. What’s lacking is the ability for industry participants to quickly and efficiently tie all of that data together in simple, straightforward ways. 

Can you imagine how today’s securities industry would function without a standard CUSIP number for every issued security? That single element of data standardization revolutionized that industry’s ability to transact in the volumes and at the speeds it does today. How much more efficient would the CRE industry be if we could all simply agree, for example, on a standardized descriptor for each commercial property in the world? Not only would existing business models be turned upside down, but imagine the new ones that would emerge for the benefit of the entire industry and society.

NEWSLINK: Where do you see data fitting into the future of commercial lending?

BOLZ: As data usage becomes greater and more sophisticated, the market’s tolerance for bespoke, hands-on lending processes and transactions will diminish greatly. As leading lenders use data to deliver continuous improvements to clients in terms of transaction processes, speed, accuracy and experiences, the market will soon realize that there is no need for a deal to take as long as it traditionally has, or to be such a manual exercise. 

Of course, the unique nature of each real estate asset and the nuance differences of every transaction will always require at least some level of human care and feeding. But as customers realize the obvious speed, accuracy and experiential benefits they receive when data is used intelligently to enhance the more standardized, repeatable elements of the lending process, it will force lenders to continually press the boundaries of increased process and decision automation fed by data.

(Amanda Straub is Senior Training Coordination Specialist with the Mortgage Bankers Association. Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to NewsLink Editor Mike Sorohan at or NewsLink Editorial Manager Michael Tucker at