What are you most proud of professionally in 2015?
I have arranged a larger number of construction loans in 2015 than in previous years. Some of these loans have been for clients who were negatively impacted by the last financial crisis, and to help them rebuild their stalled projects along with their reputation is very rewarding. Some of these clients are experienced developers who just got caught with too much inventory at the wrong time. All in all, we have established very strong relationships with our clients and have become the outsourced financing arm for many of them. In addition to our traditional business of commercial mortgage placement, we have also developed a direct lending platform for short term bridge loans and have deployed over $25 million this past year which is exciting.
How do you see commercial real estate trends changing?
Earlier this year, I must admit that lenders were more aggressive with credit underwriting and loan approvals. As we approach year end, I am seeing a shift in the marketplace. Lenders are doing more due diligence and really focusing on interest rate stress models as the reality of interest rate hikes grow closer. I was recently informed by a Lending source that they are now limiting cash out refinancing to 65% LTV to prevent over leverage going into the next cycle. Construction lenders are likewise lowering loan to cost ratios and putting a focus on understanding true equity vs market value equity. Lastly, construction funds for condominiums were readily available earlier in the year and have become less available as Lenders feel their exposure levels in the for sale market are at capacity.
What impact has social media/networking had on your business?
In my industry, social media and networking are critical to business growth and client confidence. Progress has increased our marketing team by hiring interns to bring a new and fresh perspective to social media platforms such as LinkedIn. As industry news outlets become more prevalent, it is important to make sure that Progress is positively featured as often as possible. My Marketing Director also makes certain that we are represented at important industry events and has scheduled me for numerous speaking engagements. I most recently spoke at the EisnerAmper Private Equity Summit in NYC and was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio to discuss commercial real estate financing trends.
What future opportunities do you see for personal and professional growth?
I have been working with several family offices and realize there is a need for trusted advisors, including a firm experienced in commercial real estate investments and capital requirements. For me, it is particularly gratifying to work with multiple generations to ensure their legacy continues to strengthen. In 2013, I was very fortunate to have my own son, Brad Domenico, join Progress Capital and we are growing the business together.
Many family offices appreciate the fact that we, ourselves, live the family dynamic daily. What qualities/personality traits make you most successful?
My clients can count on me to be confident and calm in the face of TOE closings and deadlines. Every loan requires a willing borrower and a willing lender whose interests are not necessarily aligned during all aspects of the process. It’s my role to bring those gaps into focus so both sides can come to a middle ground and a successful closing…. plain and simple.