Regions Bank in Birmingham, Ala. has been approved as a Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing multifamily lender and acquired the servicing on a $1 billion Fannie apartment loan portfolio.

The $119 billion-asset bank did not identify the seller of the servicing rights or other terms of the acquisition.

As a DUS lender, Regions has the authority to make credit decisions on multifamily loans headed for Fannie without the government-sponsored enterprise's prior approval. In return for this flexibility, DUS lenders retain some of the credit risk.

Regions Bank is now one of the 24 Fannie Mae designated DUS lenders in the U.S., said John Turner, head of Regions' Corporate Bank. "This capability is a significant addition to the bank's existing suite of debt capital products to meet the needs of real estate banking clients."

Regions Bank runs roughly 1,700 branches in 16 states. The Fannie Mae DUS accreditation enables the bank to offer long-term, flexible financing for multifamily housing development nationwide. The program's risk-sharing model is designed to provide liquidity to the multifamily housing market to DUS network of financial institutions and independent mortgage lenders.

Multifamily housing remains an important and growing sector of the real estate market, Turner said. Financing it "is critically important to increasing both the availability and affordability of housing."

Beekman Advisors assisted Regions Bank and advised on the servicing transaction.

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