Q/A: Marcy Thomas, CCMS, of Grandbridge Real Estate Capital
MBA NewsLink interviewed Marcy Thomas, CCMS, Vice President and Portfolio Loan Manager with Grandbridge Real Estate Capital LLC, about CMBS servicing, DEI, the upcoming Commercial/Multifamily Finance Servicing and Technology Conference and what the CCMS designation means to her.
Thomas has 23-plus years of experience in commercial loan servicing, asset and portfolio management. She serves in several roles to support the company’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives. In the Georgia region, she is a Co-Chair of the Capabilities Action Network, promoting the welcome of the different-abled needs community for the combined heritage BB&T and SunTrust Banks. Previously she has held both corporate and regional leadership roles with the Asian Pacific Islander, Women’s Information Network and Disabilities Business Resource Groups.
Thomas earned her CCIM designation from the CCIM Institute and served five years on the Georgia Chapter Board of Directors and also earned her CCMS designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association. She was selected to the founding MBA D&I Council and serves as the current MBA CCMS Marketing Committee Chair as well as a member of MBA Asset Manager Peer Group Roundtable and CCMS Education Committees.
MBA NEWSLINK: Describe your role/area of activity at Grandbridge and your industry experience.
THOMAS: I’m in the asset management group, a portfolio loan manager specializing in commercial mortgage-backed securities.
In a nutshell, I head the CMBS team. Which, as anyone who does asset management and servicing knows, means juggling surveillance, transactions and risk monitoring. What I do now is a unique hybrid of real estate and serving on parent company Truist’s DEI leadership team. That creates a nice intersection with what I do with MBA’s DEI Council.
I recently celebrated ten and a half years with Grandbridge. Prior to that I was with Berkadia Commercial Mortgage. At Berkadia I did basically every job you possibly could have. I got in on the servicing team. They had a model of team-based servicing. I came in, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and learned how to do everything from cash management to reserve processing to escrow reserves. It was a unique experience.
NEWSLINK: Speaking of DEI, you’ve been a member leader and a resource for MBA’s DEI commercial and multifamily initiatives. Can you share why you’ve gotten involved with these efforts?
THOMAS: You’re asking me for my ‘why.’ I’m kind of a late bloomer. I was not the first of my friends to graduate. I graduated as an adult. I’ve found things just mean more when you’ve had to work hard for it. So this is a way for me to give back and help the next generation come along. If it can take the next person less time to get where I am, then by all means let’s help the next generation to come along.
DEI is a hot topic. But it must be authentic, not just lip service. It’s really about helping influence and being part of that change. We call it ‘a movement, not a moment.’ It really is a mosaic of he/she, all colors, all affinities and how can everyone feel like they are in a safe space to come to work and feel that this is an industry that will accept them.
For me, it’s a great time to be an Asian female in mortgage banking, but it wasn’t always this way. I didn’t have someone to tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘let me help you grow in your career.’ I had to navigate the channels and seek out mentors. If I can extend myself and look outward to help others, I want to do that. I was not able to do that in the first part of my career.
NEWSLINK: You’rea regular attendee at MBA’s Commercial/Multifamily Finance Servicing and Technology Conference. It’s coming up May 14-18. What are you looking forward to about this conference?
THOMAS: It’s about seeing people. Many of us have worked remotely for the last two years. Everything in our business is relationship driven. I used to be on the life company side and now I’m back on CMBS. It doesn’t matter what portfolio you’re on; it’s about the people. You work with your master servicer, your special servicer, your lender if you’re on the lender company side; you work with people. That’s how you get deals done. Not everything is just pushing paper. Real estate is driven by relationships, not just on the front end but also on the servicing side.
I’m also really interested in the conference panels; it will be interesting to see how the pandemic has affected different products.
We will also bring the DEI Council in for more discussions. We’d like to introduce what the DEI Council is doing at a larger conference.
NEWSLINK: One of your career accomplishments has been earning the CCMS designation. Can you discuss the benefits of this achievement and why you decided to pursue this goal?
THOMAS: I am so proud of the CCMS designation. I call it my ‘Lifetime Achievement Award.’ It is such an impressive group of designees that it’s amazing I had the opportunity to learn from these individuals and apply it to my work. To learn from them as leaders.
It’s not just about crunching numbers and writing reports; it’s about being influential and authentic in your role. These are the people that speak to this. That’s what it means to me.
It’s not an easy exam. It takes the expertise and knowledge of everything about mortgage banking and servicing. I’m not a loan producer, but should have an understanding of how to crunch those numbers and loan financing concepts. And it’s not just about knowledge, it’s about the experience. The CCMS designation is a professional and personal growth opportunity; you really do need to put in the participation hours, attend conferences, teach classes and so on to earn it.
There are so many opportunities to get involved and do more than just show up for your job. This is one of my favorite ways we’ve been able to develop leaders. And it’s a great way to pass the baton, which is what the CCMS designation means to me.
(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 email@example.com or NewsLink Editorial Manager Michael Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.)