SunTrust Banks to Acquire Pillar Financial’s Multifamily Business

by Jeff Shaw

ATLANTA — SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the assets of the operating subsidiaries of Pillar Financial LLC. The assets include Pillar’s multifamily lending business, which comprises affordable housing, healthcare properties, seniors housing and manufactured housing specialty teams.

The assets also include Chicago-based Cohen Financial’s commercial real estate investor services business, advisory services and offering loan administration, as well as its mortgage banking business.

Following completion of the acquisition, the Pillar team will join SunTrust’s Commercial Real Estate (CRE) division, which is part of the bank’s Wholesale Banking segment. CRE provides banking and capital markets services to commercial real estate developers, owners and operators through various lending platforms.

“SunTrust and Pillar make a fantastic combination since there is very little overlap in our capabilities, yet there is tremendous synergy and compatibility,” says Anand Gajjar, CEO and senior managing director of Pillar Financial. Following the acquisition, Gajjar will report to Kathy Farrell, executive of SunTrust’s CRE division.

“Our management team is energized to serve our clients with the significant product offerings of SunTrust,” adds Gajjar.

The acquisition will expand SunTrust’s multifamily lending capabilities, given that Pillar Financial holds licenses with all three agencies (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration).

The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year and is subject to receiving agency approvals. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This acquisition will enhance our commercial real estate platform by providing our clients with full access to the agency programs currently licensed to Pillar. In addition, SunTrust will offer Pillar clients access to a number of expanded products and capabilities including bridge loans, equity for affordable housing developments and a full suite of capital markets capabilities through SunTrust Robinson Humphrey,” says Mark Chancy, executive of SunTrust Wholesale Banking. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey deals with SunTrust Banks’ securities underwriting and mergers and acquisitions.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey served as financial advisor to SunTrust for the transaction, and Beekman Advisors acted as the strategic advisor for Pillar.

New York-based Pillar Financial is a direct lender for multifamily and healthcare properties, serving clients across the United States in more than 20 major markets. Pillar employs more than 200 associates with offices in New York; Atlanta; Bethesda, Md.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; Brentwood, Tenn.; Chicago; Frisco, Texas; Irvine, Calif.; San Clemente, Calif.; San Francisco; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Vienna, Va.; and Washington, D.C.

Headquartered in Atlanta, SunTrust Banks has three business segments: Consumer Banking and Private Wealth Management, Wholesale Banking and Mortgage Banking. Its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and features 24-hour digital access. As of June 30, SunTrust had total assets of $199 billion and total deposits of $153 billion.

—   John Nelson

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