Development and construction in South Florida has historically been the playground for banks and large commercial lenders, but the players are now changing thanks to innovative partnerships in the area.
Metro Fund Inc., Latin Builders Association’s (LBA) 2022 Mortgage Lender of the Year, is making waves in South Florida. A Hispanic-owned company led by past Miami President for the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals Orlando Diaz, Metro Fund has handled multiple types of financing, including construction, bridge, and private loans — with a strong emphasis on multifamily loans.
In 2021, Metro Fund hired Nelson Lopez, LBA Director and Membership Chair, as Business Development Manager, with an eye toward building the partnerships that would help Metro Fund compete against banks and larger commercial lenders with deeper pockets.
As banks and large commercial lenders began to pull back from lending in the area, Diaz knew it was time to step up Metro’s efforts. The timing was right, but something more was needed.
Lopez explains, “We were up against heavy competition from well-positioned lenders. It was like using shovels and pickaxes against bulldozers and power tools. To be successful in this arena, we needed to power up. We set our goals to find the right partner.”
That partner proved to be Walker & Dunlop. As the third largest capital provider in the U.S., Walker & Dunlop is well-equipped to bring debt, equity, and investment sales solutions to Metro.
The joint venture helps Metro Funds originate quality commercial, construction, and multifamily loans. At the same time, the partnership enables Walker & Dunlop to expand its footprint in South Florida, one of the most relationship-based areas of all W&D’s regions.
Walker & Dunlop’s deep commitment to increasing the number of diversely owned CRE firms and transforming the industry has led to the creation of CREUnited, which provides access to capital and crucial relationships for minority- and women-owned CRE firms across the nation. The partnership with Metro Funds furthers Walker & Dunlop’s aims, delivering more diversity to the network of capital providers.
TJ Edwards, Chief Production Officer of Walker & Dunlop’s Multifamily Finance Group and a member of W&D’s Revenue Committee, notes: “I was introduced to Nelson and Orlando and after a few conversations, due diligence, and trips to DC and Miami, we formed a joint venture. Increasing diversity on both sides of the transaction is how we accelerate change. Metro Fund’s knowledge of the South Florida market and deep-rooted relationships makes it a perfect partner for Walker & Dunlop.”
As a valued partner in the South Florida area, Metro Fund can now leverage Walker & Dunlop’s platform to handle the commercial mortgage needs of its clients and provide the region with a multitude of lending options for investors, developers, and builders.
Walker & Dunlop’s 30 years of experience working with Fannie Mae as its #1 lender and Freddie Mac as its #4 lender means that Metro Fund can now offer agency loans with confidence. The partnership also allows Metro Funds access to hedge funds, insurance companies, and family offices. Through its brand, people, and technology, Walker & Dunlop extends Metro Fund’s reach, connecting South Florida developers to even more financing options through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the capital markets.
Read more about this thriving joint venture.