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NEW YORK CITY-The Commercial Mortgage Securities Association is now the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council. According to a release from the new organization, headquartered at 30 Broad St. here as the CMSA was, creating the CREFC reflects the growing integration of commercial real estate finance.

“Our intention always is to be responsive to our members and to the market’s changing course, and the CRE Finance Council is a natural and logical extension of this new course,” says Dottie Cunningham, CEO of the CREFC, in the release. Patrick Sargent, a Dallas-based partner in Andrews Kurth LLP, is currently president of the new council, which has a membership of more than 175 companies. President-elect Lisa Pendergast, managing director of CMBS strategy and risk at Jefferies & Co., assumes the presidency in June.

According to the CREFC website, the association intends to be “the forum for all stakeholders in commercial real estate finance, including portfolio and capital markets lenders, commercial real estate debt and securities investors, loan servicers and service providers across the full range of commercial real estate capital formation. Initially, the council will include five “forums” focusing on investment-grade bondholders, multifamily lenders, portfolio lenders, servicers and securities and loan investors. Each forum is intended to address issues critical to its business sector and work to achieve solutions that serve a common purpose, according to the CREFC.

As these specialized forums collaborate, the council’s objectives will be “to represent all forum participants, manage disparate and converging views, advocate the consensus of positions to policy and lawmakers on behalf of the industry, educate members, continue developing best practices and work toward the betterment of the entire commercial real estate finance market,” the release states.

“We will always attempt to foster a consensus on issues that are important to our various stakeholders,” Sargent says in the release. He adds that “where the CREFC finds consensus, it will advocate; where it finds differences of opinion, the council will educate.” Click here for more information.

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