Despite the recent loss of its architects, First Union Corp.'s real estate capital markets business is forging full speed ahead.
Last week First Union, which has built itself into a leading commercial mortgage-backed securities underwriter, lost Michael Greco, Larry Brown, Ken Dickey, and several others to the WMF Group, a Vienna, Va., commercial mortgage firm.
That same week it said it had closed 17 real estate loans worth $57 million. The banking company has already warehoused $1 billion of conduit loans this year and is set to take part in a large securitization in the first half.
The Charlotte, N.C., banking company said Ben Williams will add Mr. Greco's former duties to his own as head of the corporate real estate group. Mr. Williams, a managing director, oversees the real estate investment trust specialty banking group, real estate syndications, synthetic leasing, and portfolio sales.
Barry Reiner has been named managing director and head of commercial real estate finance, succeeding Mr. Brown. Mr. Reiner was a director in the contract finance group, which handles all closings of loans. Mr. Reiner will report to Mr. Williams.
Wes Jones, a managing director who oversees conduit programs on the residential side, will add responsibility for the commercial conduit program. Mr. Jones' post is new.
"Being a market leader in this business, we had a pretty deep bench for the new leadership team, without any disruption to the business whatsoever," said Brian Simpson, managing director of structured products who oversees all real estate capital markets activities for the company.
First Union has more than 140 professionals in real estate capital markets. In commercial real estate finance, a unit within real estate capital markets, 30 to 35 professionals remain.
Despite the departures, First Union's new origination offices in Houston, Chicago, and Irvine, Calif., remain intact, and the company plans to set up additional offices this year.
"The basic strategy that we laid out four years ago has continued to evolve," Mr. Simpson said.
At WMF Capital Corp., a conduit securitization unit based in Charlotte, Mr. Greco will be chief executive officer; Mr. Brown, president; and Mr. Dickey chief operating officer.