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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (Nov. 16, 2020)

PNC is acquiring the U.S. businesses of Spanish lender BBVA in a $11.6 billion deal, reports The New York Times. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Freddie Mac CEO David Brickman both announced they are resigning in surprise moves, according to industry reports. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. PNC Strikes $11.6 Billion Deal to Buy U.S. Operations of Spanish Bank BBVA “PNC Financial Services said on Monday that it would acquire the U.S. business of the Spanish lender BBVA for $11.6 billion. The transaction, one of the biggest banking deals since the 2008 financial crisis, would create the nation’s fifth-largest retail lender, with more than $550 billion of assets. BBVA USA Bancshares, which is headquartered in Houston, has about $86 billion in deposits and $66 billion in loans.” (The New York Times)
  2. Weekly Wrap: Freddie Mac CEO David Brickman resigns “Freddie Mac’s CEO, David Brickman, quietly tendered his resignation earlier this week and will be officially stepping down Jan. 8, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday. Representatives from Freddie Mac offered no additional comment on the personnel change. Michael Hutchins, an executive vice president in the government-sponsored enterprise’s investments and capital markets division, has been named to replace him on an interim basis.” (Asset Securitization Report)
  3. Trump’s S.E.C. Chairman Is Stepping Down “Jay Clayton, the former corporate deal lawyer who has led the Securities and Exchange Commission since 2017, is stepping down as chairman at the end of the year. (His term would have expired in June.)” (The New York Times)
  4. REITs Remain Overwhelmingly White As Diversity Push Falls Short “The nation’s reckoning on race this year has led many REITs to release statements about the need to address systemic inequalities, and the real estate giants will need to start by pushing for racial equality at their own companies. A Bisnow analysis of 26 of the largest REITs shows the overwhelming majority of their top executives and board members are White.” (Bisnow)
  5. Retail Chains Shed Stores, but It Isn’t Good for Business “The hope is that by cutting expenses associated with physical locations, the chains can become more profitable and start growing sales again as customer purchases shift to their remaining locations and websites. But that rarely happens, according to new research and interviews with industry executives.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  6. California, Oregon & Washington Issue Travel Advisories Heading into Holiday Season “California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued travel advisories on Friday, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the country. The state leaders urged visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus.” (Connect Real Estate)
  7. Commercial real estate struggles with delinquent property tax payments during pandemic “Property taxes are a big burden right now, and it's not just families struggling to pay their bills. Shopping malls and hotels are also coming up short. Counties across the Chicago-area have been offering homeowners extra time to pay their property taxes, but what about bigger buildings?” (
  8. Hire Up: As Many Offices Remain Empty, Firms Are Still Making Real Estate Moves “Much of the country is entering its ninth month of COVID-19-induced remote work. But a few Big Law firms are still making hires in the real estate world. Haynes and Boone and Buchalter added new names to their real estate practice groups, the firms announced this week, with J. Kelly Bufton joining Haynes and Boone’s Chicago office as senior counsel and Kirsten Day joining Buchalter as a shareholder in Portland.” (
  9. Dillard's surprises with Q3 profit despite women's apparel slump “Dillard's kept an iron grip on expenses and inventory in the third quarter, which helped avoid deep markdowns, expand margins and reach profits that were a pleasant surprise to analysts. The retailer joined others in partaking of the current boom in furniture sales as consumers attend to their homes amid ongoing stay-at-home orders.” (Retail Dive)
  10. Life Sciences Gains Fans in the Investor Community “So far, $10 billion of life sciences properties have sold in 2020, which is 1.9% of the total invested in income-producing commercial real estate, according to RCA. In 2019, $14.7 billion was sold, which was 1.4% of the total. Life sciences properties rank between data centers and student housing in terms of total transacted in the last five years.” (
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