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List of Slumlord Lenders Emphasizes the Power of Data in Commercial Real Estate

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Databases — even as elementary as Excel spreadsheets — can be treasure troves of information about commercial real estate.

Take, for instance, data that CrediFi recently pulled together about the lenders behind New York City’s most notorious slumlords. This started, of course, with New York’s published list of the “100 Worst Landlords” in New York City, an annual watchlist that puts the spotlight on New York slumlords.

Just as where there’s smoke, there’s fire – where there’s real estate, there’s financing. So we decided to take a look at the banks behind these “Worst Landlords” – and by digging deeper into the data, we came across the lenders backing those slumlords (including the number of loans per lender and the amount of each loan).  A lot of money, and some familiar names show up on this lender list. A certain number of these banks we now keep on our CrediFi Watchlist.  This data could be vital information for other lenders as well as developers, government officials and pretty much anyone else who’s involved in commercial real estate.

That’s just one tiny slice of information that underscores the power of data in commercial real estate lending and other aspects of the industry. And it highlights the need for increasingly sophisticated data-gathering and data-scrutinizing systems in commercial real estate.

New York-based Enertiv, a provider of “smart building” technology, says in a recent report that commercial real estate, perhaps more than any other industry, “is primed to reap the benefits” of data advancements. Case in point: Nearly one-third of commercial real estate assets around the world are managed with manual spreadsheets, according to the report.

“Commercial real estate is a $12 trillion industry,” according to a 2018 article in the Cornell Real Estate Review, “and the ability to make better data-driven decisions can save time and money for almost everyone involved.” (By the way, the article gives a shout-out to CrediFi as a data innovator in commercial real estate.)

“Not long ago, Microsoft Excel was considered cutting-edge technology,” the article points out. “As sophistication and the benefits of new data tools increase, adoption may well be required to maintain an investment edge in commercial real estate.”

The insideBIGDATA news website indicatesthat such data sophistication can give lenders, investors and others a competitive advantage in commercial real estate by making speedy assessments of property value and risk. In the case of the slumlord lenders, it might make a player in commercial real estate think twice about doing business with those lenders.

2018 report authored by Anne Kinsella Thompson of the MIT Center for Real Estate backs up that assessment in terms of the effect of so-called “big data” on the financing segment of commercial real estate.

“Over the past several years, research’s importance within the industry has grown. In a world where data has become ubiquitous and almost every job in the industry includes a research component, knowing how to properly examine and interpret data is a significant advantage,” the MIT report says. “However, as with everything in the real estate space, the way we research is changing due to the influence of new technological tools.”

One of those new tools is machine learning. The MIT report describes this as “a branch of artificial intelligence based on the idea that computers can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention.”

Machine learning has led, for instance, to the proliferation of automated property valuation, the report says. Automated property valuation has given a boost  to alternative lenders (also known as nontraditional or nonbank), which are quicker to adopt new technology than traditional institutions are, according to the report. 

“As machine learning spreads more widely into the commercial lending sector, the use of these tools will proliferate, and thus more nonbank lending instruments will provide additional options for both large and small investors,” the report says.

Now, getting back to those slumlord lenders. Machine learning and other technology advancements promise to propel the commercial real estate industry forward — including better ways to slice and dice commercial real estate lending data and, perhaps, better ways to dissect information about slum landlords and their financial backers.

Want insight into multifamily lending trends across the U.S.? Download our multifamily report.

Related stories:

Is Alternative Lending Actually ‘Alternative’ Anymore?
These are the Leading Multifamily Lenders Nationwide
The Future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: What’s Next for Multifamily Lending

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Mary Kovac Goldberg (Parrino)

Head of Customer Success

Mary has over 25 years of experience in sales and customer engagement, including more than a decade at Thomson Reuters. She is the former head of client services at Complinet, a global compliance and risk software company that was acquired by Thomson Reuters, and led account management for over 15 years at NYSE/Sector’s outsourcing services division. Mary has an MBA in information systems from Pace University and a bachelor’s of science in computer science from Hofstra University.  

David Libman

Head of Product

David Libman, a fintech and investment professional with 20 years’ experience in fields including finance, technology, new business development and real estate investments, is head of product at CrediFi. Previously, David was a vice president at New York-based iCapital Network, a financial technology platform for alternative investments, and director of acquisitions at Fieldstone Properties, a private real estate investment firm focused on investment-grade multifamily property. David is also the founder and former CEO of Globerex, the first real estate equity online marketplace.  

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Alex Veksler

Head of Content

Alex Veksler has 16 years of finance, data analysis and project management experience. He is a former vice president at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on product control of equity and fixed-income derivatives products as well as various projects involving finance and technology, such as revamping risk attribution and balance-sheet systems for profits and losses. Alex has previously worked at hedge funds, most recently as a director at Exigent Capital. He has a bachelor’s in computer science from Yeshiva University and an MBA from New York University.

Ely Razin

CEO

Ely Razin founded CrediFi in 2014 with Battery Ventures. A rare combination of seasoned corporate executive and technology entrepreneur, Ely previously served as global head of board governance for Thomson Reuters Accelus and head of business law for Thomson Reuters, after the software company he founded was acquired in 2004. The company, Expert Ease Software, developed AI-based software that automatically summarizes key deal terms for transactions in fields including capital markets, M&A and real estate. Ely began his career as a corporate and securities lawyer, and holds an LLB and MBA from York University.

Amichai Levy

VP R&D

Amichai Levy is the former VP of R&D at Israeli high-tech firm Payoneer, where he developed its signature cross-border payment platform and integrated it with existing bank technology. In his prior role at Ness Technologies, Amichai was a key player in developing an electronic case filing system for Israel’s courts. He has over 20 years of experience in software engineering.

David Fajgman

Head of Finance

David Fajgman brings over 14 years of financial and managerial experience to CrediFi. Prior to joining the CrediFi team, he served as finance director of Bioness Neuromodulation Ltd., which develops and manufactures medical devices involved in neurological rehabilitation. He has previously worked in multiple finance roles at Thomson Reuters and as an accounting and consulting manager at Ernst & Young, where he was responsible for a wide range of clients, including companies listed on the Nasdaq and privately held high-tech companies. David is an Israel-licensed certified public accountant and has a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting.

Liat Bar David

Head of Human Resources

Liat Bar David has over nine years of human resources experience, primarily focused on the high-tech industry. She is a former HR business partner at semiconductor solutions provider Broadcom, where she was responsible for onboarding processes, benefits, policies, training and development, performance management and employee retention. Liat holds a bachelor’s in communication and human services and a master’s in human resources and services, both from the University of Haifa.