Magazine article American Banker

More Loan Sales in Works for Regions and Synovus

Magazine article American Banker

More Loan Sales in Works for Regions and Synovus

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Davis

A pair of Southern banking companies provided updates Thursday on how they are tackling the distressed commercial real estate loans on their books.

Synovus Financial Corp. said it has become more aggressive in selling the loans at a discount, and Regions Financial Corp. said it would ramp up its efforts soon.

Richard Anthony, Synovus' chairman and chief executive, said the $34 billion-asset Columbus, Ga., company has conducted three auctions for residential properties around Atlanta in recent months, divesting more than $58 million of real estate at prices equal to 63% to 70% of the value of the loans.

Another auction could be held in November to dispose of properties in other parts of Georgia, he said at a conference in Memphis hosted by Regions' Morgan Keegan & Co.

The discounted prices met "our expectations," Mr. Anthony said.

C. Dowd Ritter, Regions' chairman, president, and CEO, said the $144 billion-asset Birmingham, Ala., company is considering a more aggressive effort to unload troubled loans in its $4.8 billion home builder book. It sold about $147 million of properties in the second quarter. "We've got a disciplined look at selling these distressed loans into the secondary market," Mr. Ritter said at the conference, "and I think you'll see more of that as opportunities arise over the next few quarters."

Christopher Marinac, an analyst at FIG Partners LLC, said Regions had hired an outside firm to help it find buyers for roughly $250 million of builder loans, with an understanding that some of the properties would be around Atlanta. …

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