The Opportunity Zone Expo Podcast

Nicole Pecoulas - “Barings Has the Money, Bring Us the Deals”

August 12, 2019 Nicole Pecoulas Season 2 Episode 20
The Opportunity Zone Expo Podcast
Nicole Pecoulas - “Barings Has the Money, Bring Us the Deals”
Show Notes Transcript

Barings has a history of making America a better place. After all, they're the company that financed the Louisiana Purchase. As a historic organization, they want to be part of financing the new American Dream represented by the Opportunity Zone program.
Nicole Pecoulas of Barings is my guest on this episode of The OZExpo Podcast.

Host: Jack Heald
Guest: Nicole Pecoulas

Nicole Pecoulas:

If there's some good social impact stuff we can do together along with you know, developments and all of this kind of stuff. Let's, let's do it. So that's really my interest too, to see where that where that social responsibility is coming in to these Opportunity Zones? Do I believe that, you know, the big national retailer that might be a little s hwanky is g oing t o do well. No, but Joe's barbecue w ho's been there for 40 years is.

Jack Heald:

Welcome back everyone. It's the OZExpo Podcast. I'm your host Jack Heald and I am joined today by Nicole Pecoulas, who is a Managing Director and Senior Investment Officer with Barings. Nicole, welcome to the OZExpo Podcast.

Nicole:

Thank you jack. I appreciate it.

Jack:

It's good to have you here. Okay , so, so real quick help us position you kind of in the mental map of the entire Opportunity Zone ecosystem. Where does Barings sit in that particular ecosystem?

Nicole:

Well, to understand that, just a little bit of background on Barings. Barings is a wholly owned subsidiary of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. And through that , uh , Mass Mutual certainly had owned some properties that are actually in Opportunity Zones. Um, they were already there when the zones were designated. Uh, and then on the debt side, we are certainly interested in placing , uh , we have a variety of products of debt in Opportunity Zones. Um, until I would say that that's probably a bigger avenue where we're playing at this particular time.

Jack:

Okay. So that sounds to me like as a wholly owned subsidiary of Mass Mutual , um, you handle the, my guess would be the financing side, or maybe even part of the acquisition side of , um, Mass Mutual's institutional investing. Is that right?

Nicole:

Yeah, I'd say that's , that's pretty much correct. Um, I place debt. Um, the core mortgage product is , uh , Mass Mutual general account. We have a variety of other products and depending upon the financing request, and in this case, in the Opportunity Zone, it could be a core mortgage, it could be a bridge. We play Fannie, Freddy . Uh, we have some construction money, some construction Mez , uh , and we do all different product types. So whatever's going into the zone, we wouldn't be restricted from that standpoint. I, I think though, want to preface all of this that at the end of the day we're still looking at the fundamentals of the overall real estate. So we'd still be lending from that perspective. It very interested because a lot of activity in an Opportunity Zone, but we're still going to be restricted to our general underwriting terms, whether it was an Opportunity Zone or not.

Jack:

Sure. All right, so I think we , I've got you in at least placed in my mental map and this is where we're going to , we're going to wander down a a s a tiny rabbit trail, a short rabbit trail. Um, Barings has a really interesting history. Would you like to talk about that?

Nicole:

Sure, sure. So Barings itself has been around for a couple of hundred years -ish. In fact, little fun tidbit Barings is actually the one who financed the Louisiana Purchase. So, That's a little fun tid bit. So fast forward. I know, huh?

Jack:

Hey, I also found out that Barings, Barings financed the Arthur Guinness Company in 1886.

:

There you go. For those of us who do enjoy , uh , that particular type of beer, we , we owe Barings are thanks for keeping them alive back in the 19th century.

Nicole:

It's truly our pleasure to , uh , you know , continue a fine product like that. So as you fast forward to the 90s , uh, Barings, who was one of the first groups that had a rogue trader. That did not do great things and kind of took the Barings name down. Nowadays it seems like everybody's had a rogue trader, like it's some sort of badge of honor. So not as awful as the first one. Right? So Mass Mutual ended up acquiring Barings and it was a smaller asset management company then , uh , in the mid nineties. Um, and at that point , uh, we had a variety of , uh , companies cornerstone, which was real estate, Wood Creek logistics, a lot of more esoteric things, own songs and things like that.

Jack:

Sure.

Nicole:

Uh , Babson capital, private placement , uh , and then Oppenheimer funds.

Jack:

Oh, I didn't realize that.

Nicole:

And yes , Mass Mutual owned Oppenheimer, we recently sold to Invesco. The Oppenheimer Funds.

Jack:

Oh, okay.

Nicole:

So, so the remaining companies in Mass Mutual, we really wanted to be more of a , have a global investment platform because of all of the variety of products that we have. So we consolidated all the companies under the Barings name and we are now about a $325 billion global investment company. Um, and another little ,since we've been talking tidbits, Guinness, Louisiana Purchase, if you read Sam Walton's book the Walmart Yeah . He talks about how he went up the eastern seaboard looking for an, a loan to expand. He had to get all the way to Mass Mutual only gave him, I think it was only an $8 million loan to expand Walmart.

Jack:

Well, yeah , I know , I read that book years and years and years ago. I didn't remember that. That's why I was just talk, I was literally just talking about Sam Walton's book two days ago.

Nicole:

Oh were you?

Jack:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And uh, you know, it was, it was such a great story, so that's okay. That's fun to know that Barings was actually involved in that.

Nicole:

Yeah. That was mass Mass Mutual. At the time. I mean, as a Mass Mutual, we did a commercial real estate lender for over 150 years. And the one, one thing I really like about our parent's Mass Mutual is we're one of the few mutual companies left, hence our policy holders own us. Sometimes I think it's a bit of a conflict of an interest when you're talking about a publicly traded insurance company because it's really, who's your master there ?

Jack:

Absolutely. Oh boy. I know this has nothing to do with our Opportunity Zones. But oh my gosh, that is just so true. I'm my, the, the insurance company I've been with for uh , gosh, it's gotta be well over 30 years is one of those few, it's not Mass Mutual, but it is one of those few and, and uh , it , it puzzles me why they're, why they're not all that way. It didn't ,.

:

Yeah, it is true and then because Mass Mutual is also, we're not a property or casualty company. Therefore when things like the Katrinas and Harvey hit, we don't have as big property casualty payout .

Jack:

Yeah. Wow. Okay.

Nicole:

You look at some annuities and insurance products for Mass Mutual?

Jack:

Oh my gosh, there's, there's, well, you know, that's, that's part of what this is all about. Okay. So who is the typical Barings client?

Nicole:

We have just a whole variety of, of clients on the core mortgage side. That's typically longer term holders, a more conservative. Because we cap out at about 60% loan devalue. We like long, long, long term. Um, the Fannie and Freddie World Agency and HUD. Um, obviously, you know, good borrowers , uh, not necessarily the same snapshot as an institutional borrower. Um, and same when the bridge and construction space. I would say part of our key is, you know, are you a good person? Have you had done the right thing, right. Clean backgrounds or if there's a foreclosure, deed in lieu friendly or contentious, it does make a difference. Right . Um , and, and we have people who have been here, you know , 30, 40 years and they have very long memories.

Jack:

You know, that was one of the things that came to mind as I was doing my research for this episode was with an institution, in spite of the rocky history in the 90s with an institution, well over 200 years old, institutional memory is a real thing and it colors and, and guides , um, decision making throughout the organization. So that gave me, that gave me a particular kind of impression for, for the types of, of , uh, deals that Barings would get involved in. And you just confirmed it with your Capitan. Your , you're maxing out at 60% loan devalue . All right . Um, yeah , I , you know , I , that's me talking there. Am I, am I making sense?

Nicole:

True. I mean, we, when , when I'm lending money, the reality is , is I've got more money in than they do. Okay. I look at them as a partner and if I'm going to get in bed with somebody, it's gotta be someone who's a good, good operator and a good, you know, is doing the right thing. You know, it is, it is not worth it for us to lend to folks who have, you know , questionable pasts because typically leopards don't change their spots.

Jack:

Exactly. Well, and I, and Andy , you are the type of organization I think of a , a Barings is as something , uh , akin to an aircraft carrier. It's got a particular set of functions and if you need to, and know you want to pull a couple of people on , on skis that you just got the wrong, you've got the wrong crowd for that kind of function. You've got , it wouldn't , it's not, not a ski boat.

Nicole:

No. I mean the , the great thing about Barings when we merged all of our companies was that we did get a great, you know, great entrepreneur spirit we have now. So it's not an old staunchy life company. We're doing a lot of different things. We're trying to be very creative with our financing. Really listening to what our customers are needing and going out and getting that product. We've got over when we merge, we have over a thousand clients , uh, investor clients globally. Uh, and so speaking with them and matching them with the borrowers here in the states, we also lend in in Canada and the UK , um , and broaching into parts of Europe as well. Um , Spain, Germany, things like that. So, yeah.

Jack:

Well I would guess that the Barings name carries an awful lot of cache , especially in Europe, even though it's , it's not technically this the same organization as it was. It's still.

Nicole:

Yes. Europe in Asia Barings is very recognizable name. And that was one of the reasons that they chose that over Bapson or Cornerstone or the other.

Jack:

I hadn't intended to ask. Yup. Okay. I hadn't, I hadn't asked intended to ask this question and it may be you're relevant, but , um, with a footprint that broad across the , across the entire world. Um, do you , you get foreign investors looking to do Opportunity Zone investing coming into your office? That is , is that , is the world outside aware of, of what we're doing here?

Nicole:

Well, I guess you'd really, you know, to take advantage of it, you'd have to be a party to the U.S. Tax system though, right?

Jack:

Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole:

Because if you're not, you're not really gonna get necessarily any benefit to that.

Jack:

Okay.

Nicole:

So I haven't seen, I haven't seen that. That doesn't mean some, some companies or folks that do , do have U.S tax obligation wouldn't be coming in, might be smart for them to do some of that too.

Jack:

Well, yeah. You know, there's the two fold benefit there. One is the tax deferral. Um, but the other is the , the tax, I can't remember what the tax attorneys call it , but where 100% of your cap gains after 10 years are essentially tax free. So there's some excitement there. Of course you've got to generate a capital gain to make that work.

Nicole:

Right.

Jack:

Um , I wanted to, I wanted to ask you , uh , about a phrase, but what this phrase means in real world terms because I hear it all the time in this business. And as I was, as I was doing my research, I realized I don't really know what the work is involved in this portfolio management. So when I went in terms of real estate, I know what it is with, with uh, a securities company or a fund manager of some kind. What does portfolio management look like on the real estate side? What's the day to day work there?

Nicole:

Sure. For our portfolio managers, and we have a few different groups that we call portfolio management, but more classic term would be for those companies, either advisors that acquire property on behalf of, whether it's pension funds, institutions or things like that. And they manage these properties that have been acquired on, on behalf of these institutions. Um, they are managing that portfolio for that third party, so to speak. So that's the portfolio management here at Barings . Mass Mutual owns a number of properties and they are our PR portfolio manager . Um, through the real estate side obviously cause it's real estate. And that's a , day to day or you're making sure that one , you're looking at the whole portfolio for particular clients. You have asset managers too, which might be bearing down more on the property, specifically working with the property managers going through budget , um , positioning the property, deciding when to sell, things like that. And you report the asset manager typically or the report up to a portfolio manager who's dealing more specifically, whether it's in state of Florida or you know, somebody like that.

:

Okay. So that is, so they're , those are the portfolio managers managing sort of real estate equity. And then we've also got portfolio managers that manage our debt portfolio. So you'll have a different ones like that, the pools of, of whether it's Mass Mutual or some of our other clients. And they report back to those, those clients , uh , on the debt so that, you know, there's a few different schools of thought . But in general that's with the portfolio management role is .

Jack:

all right. Well, so it is more, it is quite a bit more complicated than what I was thinking of in terms of, of securities portfolio management. When I think of that , um, you know, I've got, I've got , um, equities and I've got bonds in my portfolio and I decide what mix of equities and bonds I'm going to have. And it's, it's basically just buying and selling. Whereas with real estate, there's, there's a lot more layers to it.

Nicole:

Oh yeah. Yeah. Cause you're kind of bearing down into the day to day operations, approving leases , um , deciding on capital improvements and things to that nature.

Jack:

Right.

Nicole:

And then the property managers, leasing managers are effectuating those, those mandates.

Jack:

Okay. Well I need her [inaudible]

Nicole:

They can certainly put recommendation .

Jack:

Okay . Okay. Well I'm, I may be doing this in the wrong, the wrong sequence, but that takes me into the Opportunity Zone in particular. So , um, let's assume for the sake of, of the, of the question that you've got properties in the Opportunity Zone already , um, how is asset management and portfolio, is asset management and portfolio management different with the Opportunity Zone investing? And if so, how?

Nicole:

You know. I look at it as, for instance, with Mass Mutual owning some properties that, or they've already owned t hem, they owned them before. And then the Opportunity Zone was i t designated, as I had mentioned, w e'd probably Mass Mutual w ith a handful of those. The portfolio managers are certainly looking at it to see if there's an opportunity and I haven't been as close to them to know exactly what kind of properties are on those. But generally Mass Mutual o wns, you know, it's not kind of that dilapidated, u h, you know, 10% occupied, u m, you know, piece of commercial property, u h, in, u h, you know, an area that has income challenges and whatnot. So the chances of them, you know, demo a , t hat and building something else are probably pretty slim because we know that some of the Opportunity Zones are actually in quite nice l ocations, right? Not all of them are in, y ou k now, the worst of the worst. Um, so at that point you really have to look at it from, you know , an economic standpoint. What makes the most sense? You know, some of the things that we talk about a lot because we like to be socially responsible. We, we still care about, you know, the next guy so to speak. Um, I think a lot of the questions that are, who gets to come in, right? We've heard some things about, well, X percent of the businesses need to be more local. Is it affordable housing? You know, are the people gonna be able to afford to live there now afford to live in these, you know, certainly that's all the idea. But I feel like we don't have enough guidance in the , the, the social aspect of these Opportunity Zones. I hear a lot of talk about texts per tax , defer tax for, you know , capital gains, capital gains. But if we're not really looking at the other side of it, you know, how far are we really getting?

Jack:

When you say the other side, you're talking about who's actually doing the developing,

Nicole:

No, I'm talking about the social responsibility. Where do you put, because you, we know you can't just go in and take it and put a home depot, some national retailers that were not there. Right? Yeah , that is . But I don't know enough and I don't know that there's been enough guidance out on, on that particular aspect, how much are affordable, what kind of, you know, places are , you know, multifamily are you building in there? What kind of retail is it? Right. So that asks that it serving and enhancing a community, but it's not the most affluent area. So you're not going to , you know, you certainly aren't gonna bring in Versace, right?

Jack:

I would assume not.

Nicole:

Well Versace, I'm using that example, but that, but, but that to me, that portion of it is highly interesting to me. I want to know more about it. I think more people want to know about that side because it's pretty clear about, you know, the, how you're deferring taxes on that side. Right. But the two have to work together. So that's really my interest to , to see where that, where that social responsibilities kind of coming in to these Opportunity Zone.

Jack:

What, what is that, what does that actually look like? It's a nice phrase, social responsibility, but at the end of the day, what, what does it look like on the ground? Yeah.

Nicole:

Exactly. Because to me, I'll tell you as a , as a lender, if I'm looking at the financing, whether it's construction or Mez , or even putting permanent debt on property in Opportunity Zones, I'm probably less as a lender, I'm less worried about did you comply with, you know, X percent local businesses or whatever. But I'm gonna know that if you put the Versace in there that I know that they're probably gonna fail. And so I'm going to have to underwrite that it would probably the storage go dark, right? Versus if I were looking at it and saying, "Oh, you know, it's Joe's barbecue who's been in the area forever and it's totally a mainstay." People drive from all over the city to go to Joe's barbecue. Well, Joe's barbecue is back in there. While I'm going to love Joe's barbecue. Right. And I'm know he's going to be there for the next 20 years. You see what I'm saying?

Jack:

I absolutely see what you're saying. Frankly, I have this experience a lot during doing these, these interviews and that is once somebody says something, it's like, Oh God, of course that is so blindingly obvious, but I'd never thought of it until that moment. Of course, a business that has managed to survive in a blighted zone for a long time is going to be a great prospect for investing. Listen up developers.

Nicole:

Yeah. How many of those need to be in the, in the, in back, in the property, right. Versus , uh , you know, Panara like a social responsible company, but you know, and I, I'm using them as a nat [inaudible] national company coming in and are you gonna , you know, if you've got $10, you know, that's not a lot of food from Panera, but Joe's barbecue, you might be able to feed, you know, two or three of you.

Jack:

Hm . Hmm . Oh, that's just, again, it's just blindingly obvious. Holy smokes. I've talked to

Nicole:

And yet nobody's talking about it. Okay .

Jack:

I haven't heard anybody, I haven't heard anyone say it in that way. Um, and I'm really glad that it's being said here on the OGX boat podcast. [inaudible]

Nicole:

yeah. Cause I want, I want , I want us to be talking about that. I want to hear what the audience has to say about it. I want to hear what the other panelists have to say about it. Because just another, you know, Opportunity Zone Expo without really talking about that is not giving us more information. And I think, you know, from the, from the few that I've attended, it seems like there's a hunger for that side of the equation. People want to know more about that side.

Jack:

Hmm . Well, you know, I think this is a self selecting audience to a certain extent. There's always going to be just the opportunists who say, oh look, there's a way for me to make some money in a hurry. But, but my experience of, of the, the people I have interviewed and it's well over 60 at this point. Almost, everyone is very, very focused on the social impact of this. They want it to succeed socially. It's not nearly a vehicle for making money. It is a vehicle for making, for making a difference. I, I can kind of get up on my soapbox a little bit on this thing, so, all right .

Nicole:

That's encouraging. That's absolutely encouraging to hear that.

Jack:

No , it's definitely been my experience. And I'm, you know, I'm talking to just here in the last couple of weeks, I've had interviews with folks, one from Chicago, one from Atlanta, one from , uh, San Diego, who I have some really creative ways of, of, developing in the Opportunity Zones, the zones that really desperately need it. Not that, you know, right . Not The slums of Beverly Hills, but the actual places that need it.

Nicole:

Right.

Jack:

And, and although they , they tend to be the most obvious, virtually everyone I talk to is, is really excited about this and how to make it work. So , uh , you know what, I'm just, I'm just a radio guy. I wanna I want to talk to the expert. What are, you know, if , if somebody died and left you in charge, what would you recommend for, for helping to increase the odds that this program is going to provide the social impact that we all wanted to have?

Nicole:

I feel like there's been a lot of pressure for the IRS to come out with more of the regulations that it seems like they talk more about the tax deferral deferred side and they're not pushing as much on, you know, give us the guidance, you know, on that side, on the social side.

:

Right. So I , I, I've heard a few light things sort of thrown out, but I think whole it, to me that would be my absolute priority is honing those because until you know what that is, how are you really gonna develop, right. Cause what if all of a sudden they, they come in and they go, oh well you know, 70% has to be local business and you have 40. Yeah. What then what does that mean? Does that mean the now and you don't qualify

Jack:

All of a sudden you don't go qualify.

Nicole:

Yeah. So what I want it would want to do if I were in charge is finish honing that out and then let people go off and do it. Like let's, let's start going implement. It takes a little while to create a development in a redevelopment plan. So it's not like overnight, but I make anticipating more activity in the next one to two years in this cause there's been a lot of talk and waiting, right. For more guidance and pulling together fun. But now it's time to deploy. And I will tell you that I really haven't seen a lot of requests for financing coming across my desk in designated Opportunity Zones. I have seen them.

:

Right. But not as many as I would anticipate. Given the what, 8,500 or so zones across the country,

Jack:

8,700 Opportunity Zone.

Nicole:

700 yeah, I , I've seen maybe less than a handful of requests.

Jack:

Do you think that's , um, because of Barings? Is it, is it Barings is just not the place you would normally go for this kind of thing?

Nicole:

Well, I think first and foremost, people typically go to their bank, right? For construction dollars. Um, yes, we usually play in bigger spaces are bridge products and core mortgage. A lot of those are 20 million above with sweet spots, closer to a hundred agencies, you know, lower , uh , can, we can go, you know, three, 3 million plus. But it could be a function of that. It could be a function a lot of folks like to work with, with the banks on the construction , uh, where even our construction money, it's non-recourse with completion guarantees. So it's going to be, you know, more on the L plus four 5,500 zone as opposed to banks or you know, plus up maybe 200 ish. Right. But I'll go higher up in the capital stack. But Opportunity Zones are trying to deploy money, right? So, you know , they need to get their money working too high of a bridge loan. You know, maybe that's not the right, you know, menu for them. But on a permanent basis, I think we would see quite a few of those too.

Jack:

Okay. So...

Nicole:

I said we're highly interested, but it's all more about the fundamentals.

Jack:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, everybody, it's, it's, I hear it so often now, it's almost a cliche. The Opportunity Zone won't make a bad deal a good deal. It's gotta be a good deal to start with. Um, I think we all, we all know that now. Um, so I'm going to speak directly to the audience. Now listen, developers and, and project sponsors, Barings is interested. Barings is very interested, but you gotta, you gotta bring them a deal that, that works for them. Okay . Um, you're welcome. I , I did that commercial for free.

Nicole:

I appreciate that.

Jack:

Um , so the next question that I'm gonna ask, I suspect you've, you've certainly touched on it already, but I'd like you to expand on it. How do the requirements of the Opportunity Zone statutes in terms of the five year in the seven year and ultimately the 10 year hold affect your decisions.

Nicole:

as a lender? I don't see them really affecting my decision making at all. Um, as I mentioned, looking at the actual fundamentals of the property, I would suspect if someone was a shorter term , didn't want to go the full 10, you know, as a five or seven, I would assume they're probably going to sell, which means, you know, they might ask for shorter term financing. Right. Um, but in that instance I'm not going to look at it any differently. So I don't think that is from a lender's perspective is going to make a difference in how I'm going to look at the , the property social impact wise. Yeah, we touched base a little bit on that. I'm going to be mindful of it, but I'm just going to underwrite it similar to what we talked about. I do. I believe that, you know, the big national retailer that might be a little shwanky is going to do well no, but Joe's barbecue who's been there for 40 years is. So I'm going from a social impact standpoint, I'll look at it knowing what's in the neighborhood, what are the draws to this property and is it sustainable given, given the neighborhood and the demographics that are going to be utilizing this property. So from that standpoint, I would look at it more as opposed to me requiring some sort of, you know, positive social impact of the borrower. It would be more, am I really going to believe that this is going to make it or not? Right? But by that time the developer has probably already put in who they put in.

Jack:

Right? So it occurs to me that , um, from a pure business position for Barings to , for the social impact side to really make a difference. And in your business decision, it would need to be a longer term loan anyway. If somebody walks in and says, hey, I just need a bridge loan to get this thing done. Um, from a business standpoint, you guys just want to know what's the risk on this, on this loan? And if it's 18 months or 24 months, you're in and out regardless.

Nicole:

Right. Which I do have bridge money, which I, you know, if , if it pencils out, I'd be more than happy to put that out. And then after that they stabilize out. I'd be more than happy to put longterm debt on.

Jack:

Right. But that's a different product. Okay.

:

Exactally. Um , so is there, is there a discussion inside Barings about, I know that , um , at least the public face of Barings really does care about the social impact of the work you do. There's, it's, you can't miss it if you go to the website. It's like, yeah, the very first thing that's there, right . Is there a discussion in Barings about how to indirectly influence and affect the , um, the efficacy of, of Opportunity Zone lending? And if so, anything you can share with us?

Nicole:

I don't think that we've, we haven't bore into it enough to say, hey, Opportunity Zones, let's, you know, create a team and go after it as opposed to more individually, as I mentioned, a handful of properties that we own that are in the zones which aren't likely to do , do anything much different cause they're nicer Opportunity Zones. Sure. And then just lending is going to be on a case by case basis. So what we've basically said is we're here, we're available, we're very interested in it, but we're, we're not, we don't need to like get in there and, and , uh, you know, create a fund and we're not going to do that.

Jack:

Right.

Nicole:

And, and, and, and go, go, you know, start developing and things to that nature. I'm not saying we might not next year, but as we stand today.

Jack:

Right. All right , well let me ask you this one question that I think I'll put a bow on the whole whole thing for us. What is Barings bring to Opportunity Zone, divest development and investing that , uh, investors and developers aren't going to be able to get anywhere else?

Nicole:

Well, certainly as I mentioned, the, the, we have money to finance , uh, the construction bridge, permanent financing. We've got a great reputation of our folks had been here month . Many of them, many, many years been out in the market. So we know a lot of folks well. We pride ourselves on the service that we provide. And one thing I always like to offer up and let my borrowers know is if you close loan with me a couple of years down the line, if something goes on or whatever, even though you'd be dealing with my servicing portfolio manager, you can always pick up the phone and call Nicole. So it's, it's, we really pride ourselves and as I mentioned where your partner, so I'm not just going to close the loan and throw you off to some third party servicer I'm, I'm going to be here for you . You know,

Jack:

to me that is such a huge, huge advantage. Obviously we don't ever want to have to talk to our lender, right. Um, once, once the deal is done. But reality is that oftentimes that needs to be, and that needs to happen. And those personal relationships just make what could be a , uh , a really stressful, difficult situation, a lot easier to work through. So I consider that, I consider that huge.

Nicole:

Absolutely. Because as a partner, we want them to succeed. We are not loan to own shops .

Jack:

Exactly.

Nicole:

Not that we can't, we have the capacity to , but that's not our, that's not our mantra.

Jack:

Right. Well, we've, we've got folks listening who've got deals they're wanting to put together, they've got projects they want to finance. They've heard something here and they're saying, hmm , I should probably talk to Nicole. What's the best way to connect with you at Barings?

Nicole:

Uh , email or phone call.

Jack:

All right , well give us that one. Give us both of those.

Nicole:

My email address is [email protected] My phone number is (312) 465-1503. I also have a LinkedIn profile as well.

Jack:

All right , very good. And listeners, once again, this information will be printed on the, on the podcast website just in case you didn't get it there. Well Nicole , um, I have really enjoyed talking with you. I, like I said, you're the first person I've talked to who sits in that particular slot in the whole OZ ecosystem. Um, and it's good to hear things from your perspective. I , I'm gonna I'm going to reiterate what I heard you say. If you don't, I'm going to give you an opportunity for last words, but what I'm hearing is hey, you've got money bring deals. You got it .

Nicole:

You hit the nail on the head right there, Jack.

Jack:

So , um , beyond that, got any last words for us today?

Nicole:

No, I mean thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity and uh, as mentioned, if there's some good social impact stuff we can do together along with you know, developments and all of this kind of stuff, let's, let's do it.

Jack:

Very good. Ready? All right , well thanks for spending time with us today. On behalf of Nicole, Pecoulas with Barings. I am Jack Heald for the OZExpo podcast. Thanks for listening. Go ahead and subscribe. So that you're always updated when new episodes drop. That happens multiple times a week and we will talk to you next time.