For the second straight year, Nomura Asset Capital tops our listing of the nation's top commercial real estate lenders.

Led by Ethan Penner, the firm has invested heavily in the industry in the last four years and is widely credited with propping up the lending market back in 1993.

Penner recently spoke to NREI from his new San Francisco office about the current state of the markets, as well as the much-publicized pending spin-off of his division and moving its headquarters out to the Left Coast.

"The success we enjoyed early on was the result of our vision of introducing liquidity to the real estate market via the capital markets," says Penner. "Our continued success has been largely a result of our commitment to consistently provide our clients with integrity and superior service."

At 36, does Penner really mind being dubbed the "whiz kid" of the industry? "I'm not really sure what 'whiz kid' means but I think I'll be saddled with that moniker as long as I remain successful or until I grow older."

Penner sees more opportunity and more chance to do his own thing in the pending spin-off of his lending operations. "This is in response to our recognition that the operations of a company that is truly committed to the business of real estate finance will function optimally on a stand-alone basis. The partnering that we've witnessed thus far by certain securities firms is, perhaps, their response. The decks in our business are still being shuffled but, as I said before, we will continue to be a primary real estate lender and believe we will become a significant client of Wall Street."

Concerning his move to California, Penner downplays its significance. "The headquarters of a real estate finance company can be based anywhere. When San Francisco was discussed as part of our de-centralization plan, it became apparent that several of our key executives, who have lived previously in the Bay Area, wanted to return. While it is true that the California economy is the nation's fastest-growing, our move is in no way a de-emphasis upon our commitment to the Northeast and specifically New York, where I will personally continue to maintain an office."

On either coast, Penner will stay busy, pumping up his firm's share of the commercial real estate lending market to more than 20% this year.

NREI is pleased to present its sixth annual Top Lender Survey. This year we are publishing more information than ever before, ranking all 110 of the survey respondents. However, if your company was not listed, and you think it should be next time, contact Barbara Katinsky at (770) 618-0160.

* Denotes a tie

1 Nomura Asset Capital Two World Financial Ctr., Bldg. B, 21st. Fl. New York, NY 10281-1198 888 NOMURA 1; FAX: 212 667-1526 Regs./Branches: Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Miami, FL Contacts: Ethan Penner, Pres.; Brian Pilcher and Boyd Fellow, Co-Chief Oper. Officers; Kathy Corton, Sr. Mng. Dir.; George Wissing, VP, Mktg./Corp. Comm. Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $4,651,000,000 Commitment by Region: Midwest - $582,815,000 Northeast - $1,054,247,000 Southeast - $1,038,854,000 Southwest - $926,774,000 West - $1,048,341,000 Major Projects Financed 1996: Prime Outlet Ctrs., Multiple States Marriott Hotel Properties IL, CA, LA and TX Crescent Pool Properties, Multiple States

2 Lehman Brothers 3 World Financial Ctr., New York, NY 10285 212 526-1913; FAX: 212 526-3746 Regs./Branches: San Francisco, CA; Boston, MA; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; London, England; Tokyo, Japan; Hong Kong, Republic of China Contacts: Michael Mazzei and Mark Walsh, Mng. Directors Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $4,500,000,000 Lending Goal 1997: $8,000,000,000

3 GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp. 650 Dresher Rd. Horsham, PA 19044-8015 215 328-GMAC; FAX: 215 328-1976 www.gmaccm.com Regs./Branches: Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Des Moines, IA; Detroit, MI; Jacksonville and Tampa, FL; Kansas City, KS; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Newport Beach, Pasadena, San Diego, and San Francisco, CA; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Red Bank, NJ; Richmond and Virginia Beach, VA; St. Louis, MO; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC Contacts: David E. Creamer, Pres.; Charles E. Dunleavy, Jr., Exec. VP; Hal Platzrere, VP, Mktg./Corp. Comm. Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $4,000,000,000 Lending Goal 1997: $5,000,000,000

4 L. J. Melody & Co., a CB Commercial Co. 5847 San Felipe, Ste. 4400 Houston, TX 77057 713 787-1900; FAX: 713 787-1998 Regs./Branches: Austin and Dallas, TX; Boston, MA; Teaneck, NJ; New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, CA; Bellevue, WA; Miami, Orlando and Tampa, FL Contacts: Lawrence J. Melody, Pres.; Tom Melody, Mike Melody and Brian Stoffers, Exec. VPs Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $3,250,000,000 Lending Goal 1997: $3,000,000,000 Major Projects Financed 1996: Water Garden, Santa Monica, CA Plaza LaJolla, LaJolla, CA Hyatt Hotel, Phoenix, AZ

5 Holliday Fenoglio L.P. 3003 W. Alabama, Houston, TX 72028 713 527-9646; FAX: 713 527-0254 Regs./Branches: Dallas, TX; Atlanta, GA; Boca Raton, Miami and Orlando, FL; New York and Buffalo, NY; San Diego and Irvine, CA; Portland, OR Contacts: John T. Fenoglio, Chrm.; Mark D. Gibson, Pres. Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $3,016,000,000 Commitment by Region: Midwest - $200,000,000 Northeast - $200,000,000 Southeast - $700,000,000 Southwest - $2,000,000,000 Lending Goal 1997: $5,500,000,000

6 The Principal Financial Group 711 High St., Des Moines, IA 50392-0084 515 247-4835; FAX: 515 248-8090 Contacts: Dennis Francis and Greg Hauser, VPs; Steve Graves, Second VP; Sarah Opie, VP, Mktg./Corp. Comm. Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $2,900,000,000 Lending Goal 1997: $3,000,000,000

7 Bank of America NT & SA 50 California St., 13th Floor San Francisco, CA 94111 415 445-4524; FAX: 415 445-4408 www.bankamerica.com Contacts: Christine Garvey, GEVP, Commercial Real Estate Services Group; Don Dormer, Exec. VP; Carmela Anderson, Sr. VP; Anne D'Olier, VP. Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $2,800,000,000

8 Heller Financial, Inc. 500 W. Monroe St., Chicago, IL 60661 312 441-6700; FAX: 312 441-7119 www.hellerfin.com Regs./Branches: Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and San Francisco, CA Contacts: Michael Goldsmith, Grp. Pres.; Michael Lowinger, DiHany Schlegman and John Petrovski, Exec. VPs Amt. Arranged/Committed in 1996: $2,190,000,000 Lending Goal 1997: $1,200,000,000

9 Northwestern Mutual 720 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202 414 271-1444; FAX: 414 299-1557 www.northwesternmutual.com Regs./Branches: Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; Tampa and Miami, FL; Memphis, TN; Dallas, TX; Newport Beach and San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Chicago,