MBA Vice Chair Stoffers: Servicers ‘Keep Our Businesses Running’

MIAMI–Loan servicers play an important, though sometimes underappreciated, role in commercial real estate finance, said Brian Stoffers, CMB, here at the Mortgage Bankers Association Commercial/Multifamily Servicing and Technology Conference 2018.

Stoffers serves as Vice Chairman of MBA and as Global President of Debt & Structured Finance at CBRE.

Stoffers“You live with that loan for the life of that loan, for five to 10 years,” Stoffers said. “You are a very important part of this ecosystem through good times and bad and through all market cycles. You’re there to make sure loans are serviced property. You keep our businesses running.”

Stoffers noted the environment is quicky changing. “There’s no doubt business is changing rapidly, the legal and regulatory environments are changing, but still you need to maintain your work within the four boundaries of those loan documents,” he said.

Stoffers noted more than half of the companies that appeared on the year 2000 Fortune 500 list of the nation’s largest firms no longer exist. “And it’s not just the business environment that’s changing; real estate is changing as well,” he said. “For example, the mall business is certainly changing, and that extends down to local shopping centers as well. That changes what we do on the origination side and what you do on the servicing side.”

Stoffers said he recently returned from Tokyo, where he saw industrial properties that stand eight stories high because land there is so expensive. “Domestically, who would ever have thought that two floors and a basement of the Empire State Building in New York would be used to warehouse goods for last-mile deliveries?,” he said.

Real estate assets are evolving as the world evolves, Stoffers said, noting some new multifamily property parking structures are being built with flat floors so they can be converted to self-storage or gym space if privately owned cars go away in the future. “Will that mean more people move back to the suburbs? We just don’t know,” he said.

CBRE recently consolidated its headquarters from five floors into three and consumes 20 percent less space. “I lost my corner office and I love it,” he said. “We went through 7.5 million pages of paper documentation and eliminated all but 250,000 pages. We held a contest to find the oldest document in the building, which was from 1969. I don’t think that document was referred to very much anymore.”

These recent technology changes, legal changes and market changes mean lenders rely more and more on loan servicers for information and to keep borrowers and investors informed in both good times and bad, Stoffers said. “This conference celebrates and recognizes your vital role in the real estate finance ecosystem,” he said.