Keeping Current with TD Bank Commercial’s Gregg Gerken

MBA NewsLink interviewed Gregg Gerken, Head of Commercial Real Estate for TD Bank. He is responsible for a $20 billion investment real estate portfolio and a $2 billion LIHTC Equity portfolio. He has over 32 years of banking experience, spending over 20 years in the real estate industry.

Prior to joining TD Bank, Gerken’s responsibilities included real estate lending in New Jersey for Fleet Bank, National Westminster Bank & Citizens First National Bank, which were combined through mergers. He held positions of increasing responsibility including Team Leader-Real Estate Lending and was Real Estate Division Manager. He currently serves as Chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Capital Council.

Gerken is also a member of the Real Estate Roundtable’s Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee and the Homeland Security Task Force Committee.

MBA NEWSLINK: A little over halfway through 2020 and the year has been dominated by COVID-19, forbearance, the CARES Act and protests across the country highlighting the struggle of systemic racism. Any perspective on these developments and how do you manage a business with so many historic developments jammed into such a small timeframe?

TD Bank Head of
Commercial Real
Estate Gregg Gerken

GREGG GERKEN: TD Bank has taken swift and decisive action throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to assist our customers, employees and communities and protect their health and well-being, which remains our top priority. Through our comprehensive TD Cares program, we have provided financial relief to thousands of impacted customers, including fee refunds, payment deferrals, loan assistance and mortgage forbearance. TD Bank has also been a leading participant in the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, helping small businesses secure more than 80,000 PPP loans totaling approximately $8.4 billion so far. To lend a helping hand in our communities, we are awarding millions of dollars in grants through TD Ready Challenge, a North American initiative, to organizations developing innovative solutions in response to the pandemic.

Regarding our stance on anti-black racism, I would say that, at TD, we stand against racial injustice and have zero-tolerance for racism of any kind, in any form. We sincerely believe that to solve these systemic challenges, we must understand and embrace our differences, our backgrounds and our beliefs. There is only one way we can tackle the issues that caused the recent tragedies: together.

NEWSLINK: You have served in various MBA leadership roles including several years chairing the Senior Bank Executive Roundtable and you currently chair MBA’s Capital Council. Can you describe what you get out of participating in these groups?

GERKEN: Being active on the Senior Bank Roundtable and the COMBOG committees has provided a unique perspective into the challenges and opportunities in real estate finance. The strength of the MBA staff and insights from the members allow for a powerful voice and advocacy in the important decisions that impact our firm and our clients.

NEWSLINK: Any thoughts you would share in terms of what your firm gets from membership in the association in general?

GERKEN: Membership in the MBA leverages the collective experiences of the staff and other members.  It provides an opportunity to expand my knowledge base and network with other professionals and industry leaders. The speakers, the panels and the educational forum are a resource to my entire staff and the broader organization. 

I highly recommend participating in the programs sponsored by the MBA and getting involved.  The MBA is the industry leader for all critical issues affecting the real estate finance industry, providing critical advocacy, economic forecasts, education, extensive research and an important voice in political and regulatory issues.  If you aren’t already – consider becoming a member, and if you are a member – consider getting more involved.  

NEWSLINK: Circling back to the current market environment, retail and hospitality are the most challenged property types in terms recent performance. What are you paying attention to in terms of office property performance and demand? Any thoughts on the work from home experiment and shifts to workplace in the next few years?

GERKEN: We’ve been tracking the leading indicators, such as unemployment, rent collections, and occupancy. Those are three things we’re paying attention to in order to track the longer-term impacts of work from home. The effects of work from home probably land somewhere between the two extremes of everyone working from home and everyone returning to the office. Even with the increases in work from home, the increased potential to work from home will be offset by a larger footprint per employee to create social distancing.

Shifts in the workplace will be somewhat determined by how quickly a vaccine is developed. There is parallel to 9/11, at least in New York, when a lot of companies reconsidered a concentration of all their employees in office towers. So, though it took some time, eventually, companies came back into New York and people returned to the office.

In closing, the sooner we get to a vaccine, the sooner we will return to the office. The longer it takes, the more embedded some of these shifts to working from home will be.

(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 Mike Sorohan, editor, at; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at