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CANNES-German lending institution Deutsche Genossenschafts-Hypothekenbank AG (DG Hyp to friends), is looking to diversify through a major US expansion. General manager Jean O. Barden has been brought on board to work a 20-city expansion that should ultimately deliver $1 billion in annual deals.

“We’re going opportunity-hopping,” Barden tells GlobeSt.com. Already the firm has done a handful of East-Coast deals, including “a biomed deal in Boston and a couple of deals in Manhattan.” Simultaneously, she’s “hunting Philly, Chicago, Phoenix and Denver.” Key cities include the Top 20 as measured by demographics, density and economy, with the order of rollout based solely on deal availability. While the bank isn’t adverse to lending beyond a target range, Barden says the sweet spot is from $30 million to $40 million.

Board member Friedrich Piaskowski says that office will be a prime push for the lender, but it won’t be the sole focus as DG Hyp looks to diversify by product as well as geography. Barden explains: “We’ll do retail and industrial and we’re looking at senior housing. We’ll keep abreast of the asset classes that make the most sense.” But, of course, certain combinations of product and place make better sense than others. “We’ll do retail in Miami,” she says. “We won’t do condos.”

Direct lending is in the offing down the road, but Piaskowski says that for the near term deals are being done with “partner banks and partner institutions.” Given the current lending climate, that could be a good thing.

“I’m nervous because lenders are stretching,” Barden states. “They’ll tell you that they’re putting out 30 term sheets and winning one. That’s a horrible statistic and certainly not a cost-effective way of doing business. You wonder what terms they have to give up.”

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