Sortis Capital

A Recovery Complete: MBank Wins Innovative Community Bank of the Year Award for Restructuring & Turnaround Innovation

Mar 27, 2014



Note: As of January 1, 2016, Guardian was rebranded as Sortis Capital. Prior articles refer to the firm under its former name.

Guardian Managing Director Michael Sander with MBank CEO Jef Baker

Left to right: MBank Board of Directors Vice Chairman Dr. Gary Delorit, MBank President & CEO Jef Baker, and Guardian Managing Director Michael L. Sander.

During the banking crisis, Northwestern community bank MBank turned to Guardian for help as it struggled to stay afloat in the midst of global recession. This week, it became clear that the recovery was complete as MBank was recognized with the prestigious Innovative Community Bank of the Year Award for Restructuring & Turnaround Innovation at the Western Independent Bankers Association's Annual Conference in Tucson. The award, designed to honor innovative and creative achievements, is bestowed on one community bank in each of three size categories every year.

"I'm incredibly honored to accept this award on behalf of the entire MBank team. This is the result of Guardian's help with innovative restructuring of MBank's entire real estate loan portfolio through an intelligent, expedited non-performing asset sales process, as well as strategic assistance with operational efficiencies," said MBank president Jef Baker. MBank earned the award after making a dramatic recovery to return to profitability in 2013 - the first time since the economic downturn began. As featured in American Banker this week, the MBank and Guardian teams reduced non-performing loan portfolios by almost 95%, from $34 million to just $2 million, and pushed its tier 1 leverage ratio in excess of 7%.

MBank CEO Jef Baker with presenters at the Western Independent Bankers Association Annual Conference in 2014

Left to right: WIB Assn. President & CEO Julianna Graham, MBank President & CEO Jef Baker, BDO Partner and award presenter Michael Soza.

Guardian’s founder and CEO Paul Brenneke commented, “It is exhilarating to see such a dramatic turnaround like this. MBank’s progressive board and executive leadership has been very creative and open minded while working with our restructuring and loan sale advisory teams to help enable this swift action in improving asset ratios and bringing in new capital. It’s great to see the company back on track.” The unique plan that Guardian developed and executed for MBank consisted of strategic and timely asset marketing, reviewing operating costs and potential areas of saving, and improving overall organizational and staffing efficiencies. Guardian was able to bring MBank back up to its peer group, overcoming what the FDIC considered to be a mere 5% chance of survival.

Read more about the MBank success story.

Read MBank and Guardian’s national recognition in American Banker.

About MBank

MBank – Merchants Bancorp – is a truly local independent bank in Oregon offering banking services for businesses and individuals, as well as SBA funding and resources for local businesses. Like many of its peers, MBank was significantly challenged in recent years, with nonperforming assets topping 15% of its portfolio. MBank partnered with Guardian starting in 2012, and has since risen from the brink of failure to one the top-rated banks in the country.

About Guardian

Guardian provides comprehensive investment banking solutions to a national real estate market. With a specialization in principal investment, M&A, restructuring, loan sales, lending and asset management, Guardian delivers results to asset managers, financial institutions and investors. Through an innovative process that combines capital market experience and local market knowledge, Guardian brings cutting-edge technology to the real estate market, offering a unique combination of expertise for assets and transactions of all types and sizes. The firm leverages the Guardian MarketMaker platform to efficiently connect buyers and sellers dealing in properties, single-asset and portfolio loans, and land assets. To date, Guardian's team has closed more than $10 billion in total capital market transactions. Guardian has offices in Atlanta, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Princeton, Ft. Lauderdale, Irvine, and Washington D. C. as a result of its rapid nationwide expansion.


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