Go Ask the Watchman: A Conversation with RealtyMogul.com CCO Megan Goodfellow
What sets a good crowdfunding platform apart comes down to those who are underwriting the deals, and Bisnow partner RealtyMogul.com has set itself apart early.
The company's chief credit officer, Megan Goodfellow, wasn’t only the director of affordable housing special asset management at Centerline Capital Group—where she oversaw more than 50 properties and the restructuring of troubled assets—but also served as the chief underwriter and credit officer of JP Morgan’s CMBS group.
There, she managed five regional offices and 30 underwriters who closed conduit and balance sheet loans. Why move from a more orthodox banking structure to an up-and-coming crowdfunding platform? Bisnow sat down with Megan to find out what potential she saw in RealtyMogul.com and the future of real estate crowdfunding at large.
Bisnow: Can you give us some insight into your time at JPMorgan Chase?
Megan Goodfellow: I thoroughly enjoyed my time at JP Morgan. I joined the legacy JP Morgan group in 1998 and was part of the building and expansion of that platform into one of the pre-eminent loan origination platforms in the country. At the time, JP Morgan was a wholesale institution, so it was somewhat different than the other Wall Street firms.
After the merger with Chase, I enjoyed the privilege of working for a combined institution that brought together varied corporate cultures and continued to see the platform thrive. However, real estate is a business, and if you are going to make sound judgments, it requires you to be present in the markets and stay in touch with your staff. Although our primary business was CMBS, I was also involved in other aspects of the real estate investment bank activities, and technology projects.
After eight years, however, I had logged significant miles, my children were in middle school and my husband was overseas for the second time in a three-year period. I made a decision that was right for myself and my family to make a change.
Bisnow: How do you think your time at JP Morgan Chase helped prepare you for your time at RealtyMogul.com?
Megan: I think my entire career prepared me for my time here, not just JP Morgan. At each institution I have worked, Fidelity, American General, I gained experience, skills and insights you can only get from working with and for outstanding people. The most important thing I have taken away from all my experiences is that you have to create a culture of achievement but with disciplined execution.
Bisnow: What drew you to RealtyMogul.com, and how do you think the company has grown during your time there?
Megan: I think the emphasis on technology set RealtyMogul.com apart for me, and since I’ve joined, the company has literally doubled in size and the commercial lending platform was launched. My contributions have been to support the team by providing framework for growth in the commercial real estate sector through compilation of guidelines, deal structures and workflow processes.
Bisnow: What, if anything, do you think big names like JP Morgan can learn from companies and platforms like RealtyMogul.com?
Megan: I believe institutions like JP Morgan are always learning and looking at platforms like RealtyMogul.com for innovation. If there’s one area where banks and larger financial institutions continue to lag, it’s the adoption of data and technology to enhance execution in real estate.
Bisnow: VP of Investor Relations Heath Binder called you RealtyMogul.com's "last line of defense," as the last and most important person who decided which properties get listed on the site. What are the things in do you look for in these properties and developments when putting them on RealtyMogul.com's platform?
Megan: It begins with the sponsor. You can have the best real estate in the market, but if you have the wrong sponsor, it will fail. Next, I look at market metrics and where the asset fits in the market, from there I make a determination of whether the business/operating plan proposed for the investment is consistent with the market and the attributes of the asset. The final step is assessing the level of risk and making sure the returns are commensurate with the risk. Real estate investments aren’t homogenous nor meant to be risk-free, if they were, the IRR would be the Treasury rate. It’s a matter of properly assessing the risks, whether or not the risks can be properly structured for, and for those risks that can’t be fully mitigated or eliminated through structuring are you being paid for that risk.
Bisnow: What, to you, is the future of RealtyMogul.com and crowdfunding at large?
Megan: I believe crowdfunding offers investors who wouldn’t normally have access to institutional quality real investment that opportunity. However, like any investment model, those firms which don’t perceive “investor protection” as their primary obligation, ultimately, won’t continue to attract capital. One of RealtyMogul.com’s core values is “Investor Protection,” and I believe firms that adhere to that as a core value will thrive.
If you’d like to learn more about Megan and our Bisnow partner, click here.