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LOS ANGELES—Patrick Crandall sees opportunity in the West Coast between the cracks and crevices of the leaking financial markets. Crandall has been appointed as managing director of CIBC World Markets’ Real Estate Finance Group.

Previously, Crandall served as senior vice president and regional manager for the San Francisco office of iStar Financial, which he became part of due to the company’s acquisition of the Commercial Real Estate Division of Fremont Investment & Loan in July 2007. Crandall joined Fremont in 1999 in the firm’s California headquarters as a member of the credit committee. He eventually relocated to New York in 2003 to open and manage the firm’s regional office, where he supervised the origination of over $3 billion in new commercial real estate loans.

Working out of the Los Angeles office of CIBC World Markets, the wholesale and corporate banking arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank Commerce, Crandall will refocus himself on a West Coast and building a stronger foothold on the region for the company, CIBC executives say.

“He’s going to head up our origination effort on the West Coast,” says Michael Higgins, managing director and head of CIBC World Markets’ US Real Estate Finance group in New York. “What he brings to the position is experience in running a real estate group in the past. He should be able to bring in a lot of new deals for us going forward. We wanted to expand our origination in the West Coast, where we see plenty of opportunity.”

Crandall, who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Cal State Fullerton,and grew up in Southern California, decided to make the move to CIBC when he met several senior executives at CIBC.”When I was made aware of this opportunity, quite honestly, I really liked those guys and they were looking for someone to expand the platform in the West, and that was an appealing prospect for me,” Crandall says. “I wasn’t looking to make a job change at all, it just kind of came out of nowhere.”

Crandall, who says his start in Southern California’s commercial market gives him that advantage of having formed “a lot of existing relationships from the West Coast,” believes that in the midst of all the news about the sluggish deal volume, that there are people who need financing, and projects that need start-up and completion assistance, that need to be funded.”I think that a lot of the markets on the West Coast are still very solid—San Francisco, Seattle, LA—the fundamentals are very solid, even though the transaction volumes are way down, there are still deals that need and deserve to be done,” he says. “There’s opportunity for CIBC to seek out those deals, and I’m going to capitalize on it. That’s the game plan.”

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