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PORTLAND-Affinity Bank, the Ventura, CA-based commercial real estate lender with a strong Portland connection, has a new regional manager for the Portland loan production office it launched in January.

Clain Brandt, a veteran commercial mortgage banker educated at OSU and PSU, is now overseeing the firm’s lending operations throughout Washington and Oregon, says the company’s National Sales Manager James Barnett, adding that company president Michael McGuire and two of his senior vice presidents also are former residents of Oregon.

Affinity, which focuses on permanent loans from $500,000 to $5 million, has about $530 million in assets and generates about $300 million annually in commercial mortgages, “selling a lot of them into the secondary market,” says Barnett. Brandt tells GlobeSt.com the company anticipates lending not less than $50 million over the next 12 months throughout the Northwest states of Oregon and Washington.

Brandt comes to Affinity from Lake Oswego-based Commercial Investors Financial-CIFMortgage.com., where he raised $20 million for the private company’s first and only fund — CIF Fund LLC — and then placed it in income-property mortgages in the Pacific Northwest. Brandt tells GlobeSt.com raising capital became quite difficult in the down economy, and that Affinity provided the opportunity to continue seamlessly servicing his existing borrowing clientele with “a more static source of funds.”

Prior to CIF, Brandt ran Customer First Real Estate Services Network in Eugene, OR, an operation in which he still holds a stake. The company operates the Coldwell Banker franchise in Eugene, OR, as well as Certified Financial Services, a residential mortgage company with office in Eugene and Bend, and American Title Group in Eugene, plus other various entities. Before that, Barnett says Brandt was a manager at U.S. Bancorp. And also help positions with First Interstate and Chrysler First Business Credit Corp. in Portland.

Brandt replaces Alfred Bookman, the former commercial lending manager for First Bank of Beverly Hills who opened the Portland office in January. He “did not perform up to expectations,” Barnett tells GlobeSt.com.

Barnett says Affinity focuses on permanent loans from $500,000 to $5 million with 30-year amortization periods. “Our rates are 25 to 40 basis points higher than a lot of competitors,” says Barnett, “But we get that all day long and a lot of repeat business because we close what we quote.”

McGuire, Affinity’s president, grew up in Portland, attended Jesuit High School and Portland State University, and started his banking career in 1969 in Portland. CFO Gerald “Jerry” Rich was raised in Molalla, attended the University of Oregon, and was senior audit manager with KPMG Peat Marwick in Portland for 10 years before moving to California. Chief Savings Officer Annette Borysiewicz worked with U.S. Bank of Oregon from 1993 to 1996.

Just before Thanksgiving, Affinity and Westcoast Savings and Loan Association signed documents to officially complete the merger between the two banks. Westcoast had one deposit branch in Pacific Palisades with approximately $94 million in deposits at the time of the merger.

Affinity Bank is owned by Affinity Group Inc., a publishing company also out of Ventura that prints several major recreation-related magazines and also owns The Good Sam Club and the retail chain Camping World.

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