Former Fannie Mae Exec Named CEO Of Meridian Capital

Commercial real estate juggernaut Meridian Capital Group named former regulator Brian Brooks as its Chairman and CEO.

Brooks takes the reigns from co-founder Ralph Herzka, who will remain with the company as Senior Chairman. The change-over will take place in April.

Herzka helped found Meridian in 1991 and steered it to the forefront of commercial mortgage origination.

“As we look to institutionalize Meridian as a world-class company and further diversify our revenues, there is no better steward of our future than Brian. He is an outstanding and recognized leader in financial services, and I am excited to work with him to build on our firm’s foundation of unparalleled experience and market intelligence,” Herzka said in a press release.

Brooks is a former Comptroller of the Currency and, prior to that, held several leadership positions at Fannie Mae. His other experience includes vice chairman of OneWest Bank and Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase Global, Inc.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Chicago.

“I am thrilled to join a top-flight, innovative team in the commercial real estate industry,” he said. “I see great potential to revitalize the broker model and enhance the core engine of the firm while investing in adjacent commercial real estate capabilities and strengths.”

Meridian Capital Group has arranged more than $550 billion in commercial real estate financing for more than 11,000 customers since 1991 and has repeatedly been the top commercial mortgage broker by transaction count and a top-five broker by dollar volume, according to company leaders.

The brokerage has faced tough times this year, however, amid allegations of misconduct. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have stopped making new deals with the company while Freddie investigates claims that some of its brokers falsified documents to procure larger mortgages for clients.

“We’ll be engaging on day one with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHFA to talk about ways we can improve the risk culture and ways that we can improve compliance to give them confidence,” Brooks told Bloomberg.

The commercial real estate world is struggling right now as offices remain empty and defaults rise. One firm anticipates CRE values will plunge by $480 billion in 2024.

Read More Articles:

How Cities Can Help Increase Black American Homeownership

How Much Should Buyers Put Down On A House?

Tim Birkmeier Retiring From Rocket, Mortgage Industry

Sign up for our free newsletter.