Belmont Savings Named Best Commercial RE Lender by Peers

In 2010, the new leadership at Belmont Savings Bank – a small lender with $650 million in assets without much of a business presence in the area – made a decision that the institution’s future would be tied to lending. As larger regional and national banks tightened requirements or simply ignored the mid-sized borrower, Belmont Savings would fill the void by being, as CEO and President Robert “Bob” Mahoney said at the time, “the most admired bank in the Metro West.”

One of those lending area would be commercial real estate; from office space, retail sites and multi-unit housing. In 2011, the bank loaned $9.1 million in construction financing for a 37-unit apartment project, 7 Cameron, in Davis Square, Cambridge. While far from the biggest loan made that year, the bank was willing to work hard to complete the deal.

“[The bank] was a pleasure to work with,” says developer Paul Ognibene, president of Urban Spaces.

“They really took a sensible business approach to the loan,” he said, putting in language in the loan to enable the owner to convert the units to condominiums if the market switch in that favor.

Since then, the bank continues making loans – from a $1.6 million mortgage for a small multi-family on Columbus Avenue in Boston to making a $35 million loan on three office buildings in Waltham – seeing lending growth increase in double digits each year as the bank has doubled in size in less than five years.

That commitment to this core business resulted in the Belmont-based bank winning the “Best Commercial Real Estate Lending” category in Banker & Tradesman’s “Best of 2014” poll.

Banker & Tradesman, New England’s leading real estate and lending business publication, asked leading lenders and real estate pros to choose the best service providers to the real estate and industrial sectors in Massachusetts.

“It is a privilege to be recognized by Banker and Tradesman as their rankings underscore the immense strides we have made in our commercial lending services,” said Mahoney.

“The Best of 2014 distinctions are a clear signal that Massachusetts real estate companies prefer the personalized service offered by Belmont Savings over even some of the nation’s largest financial institutions.”

Earlier this year, Mahoney was honored by the Boston Business Journal as a “most-admired CEO,” an award voted on by BBJ readers in an online poll. The bank has also had recent success increasing its assets twofold over the past three years to $1.2 billion dollars and opening three new in-store branches in Shaw’s supermarkets.

Belmont Savings Bank is a $1.2 billion, full-service Massachusetts savings bank dedicated to quality, convenience and personalized service.

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