March marks a full year since Berkadia moved to a “work from home” environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, I couldn’t have imagined how the rest of 2020 would unfold. We faced challenges that ranged from the annoyingly mundane to significant—from figuring out how to successfully mute/unmute on Teams calls to transferring our entire organization to a remote work environment nearly overnight.
We can’t–and won’t–overlook the human toll of the pandemic. It has had tragic impact on individuals, families and communities. Many of us have been touched by its wide-ranging effects. And yet, as I look back over the year, I’m filled with a sense of pride in what we’ve been able to accomplish together.
Among the many 2020 highlights:
- We achieved more than $35 billion in combined mortgage banking, investment sales and JV equity placement volume in 2020. Berkadia ranked as the #2 Freddie Mac Optigo® and Conventional Lender; the #3 Fannie Mae DUS Lender and the #2 HUD FHA-Insured Lender.
- Since March, we added 100+ Berkadians to our team, including the acquisition of both LIHTC Advisors and the apartment brokerage arm of Moran & Company. We are fortunate to have such talented people help us pursue our vision to disrupt the industry.
- We developed a new suite of data analysis and technology applications, inspired by the impact of the pandemic, that have helped drive greater insight and better outcomes for our clients. These tools (and more to come!) will continue to serve us in the years ahead.
In addition to the above, there were many moments that highlighted the compassion and commitment of Berkadians and the organization we represent:
- Berkadians banded together to donate nearly $375,000 to causes that mattered to them through our corporate matching program. These causes ranged from supporting fellow Berkadians who were facing unforeseen circumstances to contributing to local and national non-profit organizations who help communities across the country rebound and rebuild from the challenges of 2020.
- We remained focused on people, from our IT teams, who worked around the clock in some cases at the start of the pandemic to make sure every Berkadian could effectively work remotely, to our servicing teams, who pivoted to help clients walk through the changing forbearance landscape as soon as the need arose, to the countless other teams and individuals who didn’t hesitate to put forth extra time, effort and energy to help colleagues and clients adapt and adjust in the pandemic environment.
- Recognizing the critical need to build a better, more inclusive organization (and world), we expanded our DEIB group and began working with Ivy Planning Group, an industry leader, to drive change. Many Berkadians have shared their insight and experience to help us understand and recognize our opportunities for growth, for which we are grateful.
Our 2,000+ team members have shown incredible resilience, dedication and caring in the past year and while I am not surprised, I am truly humbled. I talk often about how Berkadia takes the long view. It’s a privilege afforded by our ownership and a grounding value of our organization, but more than anything it’s a pledge to our clients that I confidently make because of each and every Berkadian.
No doubt, the years ahead will continue to pose challenges. We cannot predict them, only the inevitability of their occurrence. Berkadia is being built to weather any storm and remain a steadfast partner to our clients. That requires an incredibly talented and committed team. I consider myself truly lucky to steward Berkadia and I am excited for what the future holds for us and the clients we serve.