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CLRM Roundtable 2015 Held in Phoenix

This year's Construction Lender Risk Management (CLRM) Roundtable was again a huge industry success.

Phoenix, AZ — The 2015 Construction Lender Risk Management (CLRM) Roundtable held in Phoenix, Arizona has been concluded after two productive days of discussions and presentations. The annual initiative again attracted key players from close to 40 different construction, lending and investment institutions, including representatives from OCC and other regulatory bodies. Attendees shared insights, concerns and strategies to effectively manage construction lending risks and regulatory pressures while remaining competitive as the construction industry continues to pick up steam.

Having many of the industry’s most prominent players in one room allowed for dynamic and constructive conversations, with attendees pushing towards a consensus on key issues and adding further momentum to the establishment of uniformity of scopes of work and best practices across the industry. From the issues tackled at the CLRM, several key themes emerged:

  • The new challenges and opportunities of managing construction risk in today’s construction and financial environments. How current regulatory pressures, including guidance on construction loan concentrations and vendor management, as well as capital reserve requirements established by High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) rule, are affecting construction lending practices.

  • Syndicated Transactions, which are seen by many lenders as an effective way to diversify risk across a portfolio, bring unique challenges when it comes to managing disparate due diligence and underwriting expectations and requirements of participating lenders and regulatory bodies.

  • The value-add argument for active risk management is gaining strength. Recognizing the role of strong, independent controls in limiting construction-related losses, lenders increasingly consider better risk management not just as a necessary overhead, but as an opportunity to create a competitive advantage for their institution.

  • Labor shortages and increased material costs resulting from the downturn are putting increasing pressure on construction costs as the market heats up. Depressed oil prices are expected to help alleviate this pressure, through lowered transportation costs and the fact that decreased oil exploration is freeing up skilled labor for absorption in the real estate industry.

The timing of the CLRM roundtable was opportune, as the demand for a platform to share perspectives, insights and concerns has been building. “Bringing together some of the industry’s biggest players and brightest minds in the construction lending industry, we were able to make real progress on a number of pressing issues” said Bill Tryon, Executive Director of CLRM. “Sharing ideas on how to turn regulatory restrictions and the industry’s generally more risk-averse attitude into a way to improve business will be critical to ensuring the continuing growth of the construction and development industry.”

CLRM attendee Dev Strischek, Senior Vice President and Senior Credit Policy Officer at SunTrust agreed that the CLRM continues to be a much needed initiative. “The forum enables construction lenders, consulting engineers, and other construction thought leaders to discuss informally all the top issues and current trends, new regulatory guidance and recent legal developments that impact the construction lending process. The roundtable is a one of a kind opportunity to exchange ideas about and improve risk management in construction lending.”

The CLRM Roundtable 2015 was again presented and largely funded by Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. in association with key industry partners. For more information about the roundtable, please contact Bill Tryon.