Buffett buys mortgage banking firm, looking for more hires

by MPA15 Mar 2016

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is continuing its rapid expansion as one of its mortgage divisions has bought a foothold in Ohio. Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC has just acquired a Cleveland-based mortgage-banking firm, Rivercore.

The relatively small firm that is now part of the larger Berkadia group has been successful at funding a number of major downtown Cleveland real estate projects such as the Flats East Bank project and The 9 complex on East Ninth Street. 

“We’re on a pretty strong expansion,” Justin Wheeler, chief executive officer at Berkadia, told dailynewsx.com. “First and foremost, we’re looking for the right kind of people. … And obviously Cleveland’s an interesting market, and it’s one that doesn’t have a lot of national players.”

RiverCore was founded 4 years ago and has originated around $1.5 billion. It also services almost $800 million in loans. Buffet’s Berkadia unit has purchased the mortgage-banking business,  and will manage the servicing business.

RiverCore’s managing partner, Mark Vogel has joined the Berkadia team as a senior managing director. He’s hoping that the deal (and a national owner)will provide more avenues to source funding, especially for apartments.

“If transactions I’m working on need equity, I can potentially access it – from outside of the Cleveland area,” Vogel told Daily News. 

Berkadia has around 70 offices and employs 140 mortgage bankers and 120 real estate sales professionals – which the company calls “investment advisors.” It was formed in 2009 after Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corp. bought Capmark that was working its way through bankruptcy.

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