Liberty SBF CEO, Alex Cohen, Profiled By Multi-Housing News Online

Multi-Housing News, an online resource for leaders of the multi-housing industry providing key news and analysis, caught up with our Liberty SBF CEO Alex Cohen recently to ask some important questions about the state of the market and to comment on what might be happening in the coming year. Topics discussed included trends in the capital markets, the firm’s entry into apartment lending and lending for pools of single-family rentals.

MHN: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Can you give us a bit of insight into the history of Liberty SBF?

Cohen: We started the company in late 2011 with a focus on small business lending. My partner and I had been involved in the retail banking space for a long time, specifically at M&T Bank. We really saw a lack of capital being provided on specific types of small business loans. Some of the larger lenders had scaled back originations, and there was a real decline in lending to those more special use real estate assets like limited service hotels, industrial assets, auto dealerships and day care centers. We saw an opportunity to come into the market and bring back lending and liquidity into that space.

Since then we have seen more and more liquidity flow back into the small lending space. It is starting to seem like community banks are beginning to focus more on the special use stuff, particularly through the SBA 504. But, for a while, there was a real decline in liquidity for those borrowers, which again, is why we started the company.

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