Euro banks selling €13bn of loans

CBRE, the property services firm, says it recorded the completion of more than 20 loan sales worth at least €20bn by European banks last year, with a further €13bn currently on the market.

CBRE, the property services firm, said today it expects to see banks across Europe continue to pursue sales of commercial real estate loans in 2012 as they further streamline the process for reducing their exposure to property.

The firm recorded the completion of more than 20 loan sales by European banks representing over €20 billion of real estate debt last year – indicating the average lot size could be in the region of €1 billion.

It also said that at least a further €13 billion had been placed on the market and was “currently under execution”. CBRE's Debt Advisory team itself saw a threefold increase in loan sale mandates across Europe last year, with the majority of instructions originating in the UK and Ireland. Indications for 2012 show a continued appetite from lending institutions across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to reduce their exposure via this method.

Natale Giostra, head of UK & EMEA Debt Advisory, said: “Banks now recognise that, in many cases, loan sales are the most effective way of diminishing their balance sheet leverage and exposure to real estate. In 2011, we saw this reflected in an increasing number of loans brought to the market by a wide variety of institutions. With over €13 billion of loans already understood to be on the market, we expect loans sales in EMEA this year to reach at least the same levels as 2012. Loan sales are a quicker solution for banks than asset level work outs and buyers generally have teams in place with demonstrable expertise in successfully completing asset level work outs.”

At the same time, CBRE has launched a new debt advisory team in Ireland to provide expert real estate advice to domestic banks, appointing Andrew Tallon as associate director, who will work from both the London and Dublin offices. Tallon previously spent five years at Anglo Irish Bank working in the commercial lending division with a focus on the real estate sector.

Guy Hollis, managing director of Ireland, added: “The scale of the challenge faced by various Irish lending institutions in de-leveraging their balance sheets will inevitably lead to an increase in loan sales and we are already experiencing client demand for services related to these strategies.”