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Placing loans in 'sensible' 90's.

Profile/Michael V. Coratolo & Associates, Inc.

Placing loans in |sensible' 90's

In today's conservative lending climate, in which many banks are out of the loan market and others are reluctant, mortgage brokers must demonstrate an ability to look out for the interest of both the client and the bank, according to the brokers at Michael V. Coratolo & Associates, Inc., a New York-based mortgage brokerage.

"That's the future of this business," said Arthur Ermelino, managing director, "to almost become a banker and make a good loan for the bank. It used to be that it almost didn't matter."

Coratolo & Associates, a newly formed operation with 10 professionals, amassing 134 years in the financing and real estate businesses, has been racking up deals in the $1 to $10 million range, mostly refinancings. Since the beginning of last year, they placed 92 loans totaling $72.9 million. And they see an improving market. The firm grossed more this quarter, said Michael Coratolo, the firm's president, than they did from March and December of last year.

"We saw about 50 percent more applications in the first half of this year than we did all last year," said Coratolo.

The staff comprises experts in shopping centers, taxpayers, restaurants, specialty items, medical offices, construction financing, co-op conversions and other property types.

The majority of the firm's business today is financing of small to mid-sized buildings, including apartments buildings, mixed-use properties, strip and shopping centers. Their clients, they report, own between two and 15 smaller-sized buildings and range from the "mom and pop" to the more sophisticated owner. Many of their referrals, Coratolo said, come from several of the prestigious law firms.

The firm has recently started a residential division, headed by James Hansen, formerly of Goldome Realty Credit Corp., to handle the personal needs of their clients and the referrals that come from them. The new division will place loans for one- to four-family residences. "Rather than turning them down for personal needs we decided to facilitate them," said Coratolo. "We get a lot of referrals."

Coratolo, whose been in the financing business for almost 15 years, got his start doing construction loans. "Construction money is no longer available," he said.

In today's market, they said, all their deals are challenging. They recently had to convince the bank to refinance for Wallach's in White Plains. The store only had two years left on their lease so the bank was reluctant to lend for a 10-year term. Coratolo & Associates had to persuade the bank that Wallach's would not pull out from the property when their lease was up because they were paying a rent that was half that of surrounding tenants.

They also recently secured refinancing for the owner of two Caldor stores in Bedford and Cortland in Westchester.

Coratolo says mortgage brokerage is a "relationship-oriented business, and the brokers at Coratolo draw on each other's experience. "You can't have a relationship with every bank... This will ensure you're going to get the best available deal."

The firm does business out of a large single-room office in Greenwich Village. Coratolo said this was exactly what he wanted because the arrangement -- with all desks and phones in the same room -- helps foster a "family-type" atmosphere of sharing information and contacts. And, while foregoing some privacy, this configuration avoids any ego problems since everyone is equal.

Now that purse strings are tight, Ermelino said, they can best help clients by creating a full and professional application showing the property at its highest and best use.

Senior Vice President Michael L. Carrieri said the firm prides itself on knowing the property -- they visit and photograph each building -- and knowing the neighborhoods.

Other members of the Coratolo brokerage team are: Assistant Vice President Marisa Bonnet, Vincent D'Agnillo, Saul M. Kobel, John M. Rossini, and Douglas Marshall.

Coratolo said they will usually gather a package of deals and bring them to the bank all at once so they get the best available rate and points. They can get the same rate for $500,000 as they can for a $2.5 million loan.

Today, more than ever, the brokers say honesty and forthrightness is the key.

"What we say is what we can do," said Coratolo. "Nine percent money is not available. If someone is looking to buy a building, we're going to tell them what they can get, not what they want to hear."

Coratolo said the banks have also come to know the quality of their word.

"Our banks rely on us for deals. We rely on them for reliability."

PHOTO : Michael V. Coratolo & Associates, Inc. -- Seated (L to R): Vincent E. D'Agnillo, John M. Rossini, Marisa Bonnet, assistant vice president. Standing (L to R): Douglas Marshall, Arthur Ermelino, managing director, Michael L. Carrieri, senior vice president, Saul Kobel, James Hansen, director of Residential Financing; Annamarie Gillespie, executive secretary. Not pictured: Rita Ermelino, comptroller.
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Title Annotation:Michael V. Coratolo & Associates Inc.
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:company profile
Date:Jul 17, 1991
Words:814
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