Amidst harsh credit requirements and financial uncertainty, some smaller entities are trying to gain market share by offering instant liquidity for perplexed borrowers.
A good technique, according to Mark Bahiri, managing partner at the new Emerald Creek Capital, is to be quick when analyzing and finalizing loan deals. To that end, Bahiri and Mark Penna of asset management firm Neuberger Berman launched a private equity fund “to try and capitalize on the lack of liquidity in the marketplace,” he said. “Banks just stopped lending and we’re seeing a lot of opportunities out there.”
Bahiri, who formerly worked at Madison Realty Capital, opened Emerald Creek Capital last October. The direct bridge lender has nine full time employees, and provides anywhere from $1 million to $20 million in loans with a 10 to 13 percent interest rate. Emerald secures it with a first lien position.
Since its inception, the firm has done three deals — one in Long Island, one outside New Haven and one in Texas, plus a deal in the works in Atlanta, Ga.
With the Connecticut deal, Bahiri said his national firm, based at One Penn Plaza in Manhattan, fielded a call from a borrower who had more than 60 percent of the $2.8 million purchase price for a 50,000-square-foot shopping center, but was unable to come up with the other 40 percent. The buyer was nine days away from losing his 10 percent deposit when Emerald put in the rest to make the deal happen.
“I got into the car the next day, saw the property, got an idea of the general value and got the deal approved within a week,” Bahiri said.