BofA surges ahead in real estate I-Banking

January 13, 2010 01:25PM

Last year’s Bank of America merger with Merrill Lynch may have resulted in a tangle of litigation, but it also produced a flood of real estate investment banking profits that may have made it worth the headaches. In 2009, the bank used its relationships with borrowers to generate investment banking work and in doing so managed to pull way ahead of its competitors in underwriting stock offerings by commercial real estate firms. Refugees from Merrill stayed on hand to handle the booming caseload. This year, Bank of America is looking to help even more private real estate companies take the plunge into public markets. “We have lists of companies that we think are good candidates for the public market, and we’re proactively reaching out to them,” said Jeffrey Horowitz, head of Bank of America’s real estate investment banking division in the Americas, who was formerly with Merrill. According to SNL Financial, Bank of America is a lead lender to 53 Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, which is more than any other bank, and according to Dealogic, it earned $208 million in fees from REIT equity offerings last year. JPMorgan Chase, in second place, earned a little more than half of that. [WSJ]