Q&A with Kim McKee, Northeast regional manager, Commercial Real Estate

March 17, 2022

Building a Commercial Real Estate office in one of the country’s most competitive CRE markets takes dedication, knowledge and experience. Kim McKee explains how she did it, while also growing the portfolio from zero to multi-billion dollars. 

Kim McKee was promoted in July 2021 to Regional Manager for the Northeast and Real Estate Structured Finance for U.S. Bank. The Northeast region she leads consists of New York City, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Rex Rudy, head of commercial real estate at U.S. Bank, said, “Kim has helped provide excellent, customized financing solutions for clients throughout her career, and I’m looking forward to seeing her continue to build on this success and expand our CRE offering in the Northeast.”

With 16 years of commercial real estate experience, you joined U.S. Bank to build its first commercial real estate office in New York City. How did you do it?

New York City is a very dynamic and competitive CRE market, and I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to build something from the ground up. From the start, I had the support of our executive leadership team and senior credit officers. I knew that having a physical presence for our Commercial Real Estate business in New York City was key because it showed a commitment to the market. So, I hired a great team of originators who anticipated and supported the needs of our clients from beginning to end by introducing them to a full suite of product solutions U.S. Bank offers. Now, after a short three and a half years, we’ve built a multi-billion-dollar portfolio.

At U.S. Bank we work closely with partners from across the bank to support our clients, and being in our midtown Manhattan office meant that I had the support of hundreds of Corporate & Commercial Banking team members.

What are some trends you’re seeing in commercial real estate and where are you seeing growth?

The number of people ordering products online versus shopping inside stores has grown tremendously, so we are seeing significant growth in industrial real estate such as logistical centers. These are large warehouses where merchandise is collected for distribution. When consumer demand changes rapidly, U.S. Bank is proud we can help provide financing solutions that enable clients to adapt and serve their customers – especially in times of need.

As the market recovers, hospitality and office space are also starting to pick up. Other industries have been expanding for some time as well. For instance, in Philadelphia, top colleges, universities, and medical facilities have been growing a lot in the past ten years – which has been great for the city – and we want to support this growth in higher education and healthcare by providing the essential, customized financing to these top-tier real estate developers.

Our strongest asset continues to be our amazing team, and with their care and dedication to executing on client commitments in NYC, I know we can continue to help clients grow in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Can you describe Real Estate Structured Finance and how it benefits the economy?

Structured Finance is one of the areas I oversee. In this business, we provide financing to non-bank lenders, who then lend funds to real estate developers. To put it simply, “we lend to lenders.”

In the last few years, these entities have performed relatively well. By providing financing to non-bank lenders, this drives greater market liquidity and capital to fund overall demand for commercial real estate assets.

You earned a Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law. How did you decide on a career in banking?

In 2004, after two years working in the banking industry, I was accepted to law school. I continued to work during the day and attend classes in the evening. I graduated in 2008, and then passed the bar exams for New York and New Jersey the following year. While I hadn’t planned on a career in banking, by 2009 I had learned that building relationships with clients and creating financial solutions for complex transactions is something I really enjoy. I had also developed a solid network and reputation within the industry. Looking back, I believe my legal education was an invaluable asset in honing my structured thinking and advocacy skills, which have aided me in many ways in banking.


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