Ann Hambly compares the challenge of modifying a CMBS loan to climbing a mountain. “You could maneuver it on your own,” says the CEO and president of 1st Service Solutions, “but I liken it to using a Sherpa. You could maybe get to the top of Mt. Everest by yourself, but would it be better to take someone who’s been up there 2,000 times?”

Based in Grapevine, Texas, the company was founded by Hambly in 2005 to serve as an advocate for borrowers who need help navigating the complicated world of conduit loans. The focus then was on loan assumptions, but Hambly says today 80% of the business is restructuring loans for distressed assets across all real estate sectors.

Hambly, who has more than 30 years experience in commercial mortgage servicing for companies such as Prudential, Bank of America and GE Capital, recently discussed the intricacies of a CMBS workout.

Eric Stoessel: What percentage of your business comes from the lodging sector?

Hambly: We handle all kinds of commercial real estate anywhere in the nation. Probably 20% of our pipeline is in hotels right now. We’re working on about $5 billion in distressed real estate, pretty evenly distributed across the different [real estate] sectors.

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