Congress pitches relief to struggling hotel, mall CMBS borrowers

Bipartisan measure would provide preferred equity for those hard hit by coronavirus

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Jul.July 30, 2020 02:00 PM
Congressman Al Lawson and Van Taylor (Lawson by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Taylor by Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)
Congressman Al Lawson and Van Taylor (Lawson by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Taylor by Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress on Wednesday is intended as a lifeline for hotel and shopping-center CMBS borrowers.

The measure would provide preferred equity to borrowers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, taking from a $454 billion pool set aside for struggling businesses in the earlier stimulus bill, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Roughly 10 percent of CMBS loans were delinquent by 30 days or more in June, according to Trepp.

“The numbers are getting more dire, and the projections are getting more stern,” said Republican Congressman Van Taylor of Texas, who is sponsoring the bill alongside Florida Democratic Congressman Al Lawson.

The Real Deal first reported news of Van Taylor’s proposal earlier this month.

The funds would be available to help borrowers who were in good standing before the pandemic hit to make mortgage payments. Many CMBS borrowers said they’re having trouble negotiating relief with special servicers.

Loan documents often prohibit them from taking on additional debt. That’s why Van Taylor structured the financing as preferred equity. Some have pointed out, however, that the government inserting itself inside the capital stack is a risky position.

The borrower would be required to repay the debt before they can take money out of the business.

Some industry players have argued that efforts to help the CMBS market primarily benefit large real estate owners instead of small businesses. But Van Taylor said the legislation was aimed at saving jobs.

“This started with employees in my district calling and saying, ‘I lost my job,’” he said. [WSJ] — Rich Bockmann

Contact Rich Bockmann at [email protected] or 908-415-5229.


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