Bridge Lenders Try to Balance Strong Demand with Risk Awareness

Business volume for bridge lenders remains high, but they are feeling more cautious.

Evan Gentry, founder and CEO of Money360, believes 2019 will be the year the California bridge lender hits $1 billion annually in loan volume. Money360, which launched in 2014, has been doubling or tripling in size annually despite the entrance of Wall Street hedge funds into the bridge lending space, Gentry says.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in the market,” he notes. “Transaction volume was strong in ’18; we think it will continue to be strong in 2019.”

Money360 is one of hundreds of U.S. bridge lenders that still see plenty of runway at this stage of the real estate cycle, despite growing competition that has fostered a new level of aggressiveness, including higher leverage, lower pricing, no appraisal loans, innovative loan structures and originators willing to lend on non-cash-flowing assets.

This year “was one of our best years, even though it was very competitive,” says Marissa Wilbur, origination associate with Archway Fund, a Los Angeles-based bridge lender that doesn’t require appraisals and allows higher leverage than some of its competitors. “By the end of June, we had hit our (year-end) target goal.”

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