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Stories about commercial lending on multifamily, office, retail and industrial properties.

Banks Increase Share of Commercial Mortgage Holdings

$3.481 trillion in commercial mortgage outstanding in Q1

June 18, 2009

By staff

Commercial mortgages owned by life insurers or held in securitization slipped during the latest quarter. But holdings at commercial banks and savings institutions picked up the slack.

During the first quarter, $3.481 trillion in commercial mortgage debt was outstanding, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today. Commercial outstandings eased slightly from a revised $3.481 trillion in the fourth quarter.

MBA based its findings on an analysis of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors' flow-of funds accounts.

Commercial banks held $1.556 trillion in commercial mortgages, $0.007 trillion higher than the first quarter. But the trade group noted that commercial loan holdings at banks included some commercial and industrial loans where a piece of commercial property was included as collateral.

Loans held in commercial mortgage-backed securities, collateralized-debt obligations or asset-backed securities fell $0.007 trillion to $0.736 trillion. The offsetting activity between financial institutions and mortgage securities suggests some commercial mortgage borrowers might be refinancing out of securitized debt into bank debt.

Commercial mortgage assets at life insurance companies eased to $0.316 trillion in the first quarter from $0.319 trillion during the prior period. Life insurers owned commercial mortgages outright and through CMBS investments.

Holdings at savings institutions nudged up to $0.194 trillion from $0.193 trillion, and government sponsored enterprises held $0.154 trillion, up slightly from $0.153 trillion.

The remaining share of U.S. commercial mortgages was held by entities such as the government, finance companies and real estate investment trusts.

MBA said that nearly half of commercial mortgages at the 10 biggest lenders were owner-occupied, where the loan is qualified based on the borrowers business income. The rest were non-owner occupied, where income is based on the property's rents.

Looking at just multifamily debt, outstandings increased to $0.908 trillion in the first quarter from the prior period's $0.903 trillion. Commercial banks held 24 percent of first-quarter multifamily debt, while GSEs owned 21 percent. Another 17 percent was held in agency- and GSE-backed mortgage pools and 13 percent was held in mortgage-related securities.

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