For most bankers these days, commercial real estate is once again a millstone, and for Modern Bank Partners LLC in New York, that means now is a perfect time to jump into the business.

Financing for the sector has seized up, property values are dropping and the leading lenders are coping with fallout from the bubble. The three-year-old Modern Bank, which is unburdened by commercial real estate loans made under the loose standards of recent years, aims to take advantage of today's chastened conditions to add conservatively underwritten loans. And it's getting help from some old hands.

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