Getting senior housing/healthcare borrowers together with funding programs that meet their specific needs and objectives is something Cambridge Realty Capital does exceptionally well, the company’s National Originations Manager Hymie Barber believes.
“You might say we’re the ‘eHarmony’ of the healthcare field,” he once said in prepared remarks.
In addition to his national responsibilities, Mr. Barber is Managing Director of Catalyst/Cambridge Healthcare Finance, the company’s West Coast affiliate in Los Angeles. It is his well-traveled opinion that successful relationships “are all about compatibility and finding a lender with the right personality and temperament.
“A lender and borrower are together for 30 to 35 years. It’s a marriage,” he claims.
Sometimes things get off to a shaky start. That’s clearly the way it rolled more than two decades ago when the owner of a distressed skilled nursing home in California approached Mr. Barber for help. At the time the economy was in a recession and many commercial real estate loans that came due could not be refinanced.
The Catalyst Group was in the workout industry, acting as an intermediary between banks and borrowers with problem commercial real estate loans. Specifically, the company helped borrowers replace high loan-to-value bank loans with lower loan-to-value financing secured by mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).
“I knew nothing about the healthcare industry but asked around and the name Cambridge kept coming up. I contacted Cambridge’s Chairman Jeff Davis and submitted a loan package for the distressed California property,” he said.
To be in a good marriage, senior housing/healthcare borrowers must necessarily cultivate trust and patience. A willingness to persevere is helpful as well, Mr. Barber suggests.
“The California property had lots of issues, but it was clear that HUD financing would be the ideal solution for the borrower if we could make it happen.” It took three years of back and forth to get the property funded and, by the time the transaction closed, Catalyst and Cambridge principals were discussing what has become a highly productive long-term partnership.
Like its parent company, Catalyst/Cambridge Healthcare Finance is exclusively focused on senior care financing. “We tend to approach each borrower on a consultative basis,” he said.