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Walker & Dunlop merges to create real estate finance giant

Family-owned US mortgage banking firm Walker & Dunlop has merged with Credit Suisse subsidiary Column Guaranteed. Apartment lenders Green Park Financial are also part of the deal, the price of which has not been disclosed.

The new enterprise, which will retain the Walker & Dunlop name, will be one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the US. It will have significant dealings with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two lenders at the centre of the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Third-generation William M Walker, who will retain his CEO role in the new company, said the merger was a “fantastic deal” for all three companies.

“Access to the three major sources of government-sponsored capital coupled with zero balance sheet exposure to construction or conduit financing is a competitive advantage at this time in the economic cycle. We are thrilled with this deal and look forward to growing the firm with our new partner Credit Suisse over the coming years,” he said.

Oliver Walker and Laird Dunlop founded Walker & Dunlop in 1937. Oliver's son, Mallory, became president and CEO in 1974 before son William took on the management of the company in 2003.

Mallory remains a board member at the new company in which Credit Suisse will own a minority interest.

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