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Walker & Dunlop Announces Merger

By Tom Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 30, 2009; 9:20 AM

Walker & Dunlop Inc., a longtime, family-owned mortgage bank in Washington, today announced it is merging with a subsidiary of Credit Suisse Group in a move that will make the combined entity one of the bigger players in mortgage finance.

The new company, which will keep the name Walker & Dunlop, will be headed by chief executive William M. Walker. His father, Mallory Walker, will remain on the board.

The merger between Walker & Dunlop and the subsidiary, Column Guaranteed, takes effect immediately.

Credit Suisse will own a minority stake in Walker & Dunlop, have two board seats and be a strategic partner starting today. Neither party disclosed the price for the transaction, although there was no cash involved, said William Walker.

The new enterprise will be one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the nation with significant business with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"We get access to Freddie Mac, which we have not had," said William Walker. "I am acquiring my way to Freddie and now I am acquiring access to HUD. This improves our cash flow."

Walker said the deal will allow his company to increase its business in the financing market for apartment buildings, which has grown significantly during the past couple of years.

Green Park Financial, another Walker-owned finance firm, will also be part of the new entity.

Walker & Dunlop, founded in 1937, will increase its number of employees from a current 90 to 123. The company will continue to be headquartered in the Chevy Chase Bank Building at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and East-West Highway in Bethesda.

It will have additional offices in Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, New York, Texas and California.

William Walker said the deal had been in the works for a year.

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