Sky Las Vegas On Lending Black List, Robert Paisola Reports from Las Vegas Business Press
Florida-based BankUnited stopped providing mortgages to several local luxury condominium projects. Sky Las Vegas, One Queensridge Place and Panorama Towers were among the 191 properties blacklisted nationwide for which BankUnited no longer writes loans. The Business Press obtained a copy of an internal company document for "nonpermissible" projects. Although most of the taboo properties were concentrated in Miami, 14 Southern Nevada developments were named, including Allure Las Vegas, The District at Green Valley Ranch Resort and Manhattan Condominiums.
A BankUnited spokeswoman said the company had "extremely conservative lending guidelines" similar to those used by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Declining market value, high investor concentration and structural-based litigation were cited as reasons for the company's decision. It also looked at delinquent homeowners' association dues, rising foreclosures and BankUnited's own exposure in the over-saturated condo market.
The move was partly meant to limit BankUnited's financial risk and improve its stock performance. BankUnited's parent company, BankUnited Financial Corp., is publicly listed on the Nasdaq National Market (ticker: BKUNA). Its stock recently traded at 24 cents per share, down from $8.00 a year ago. BankUnited let go 160 employees in September as a cost savings measure. In December, the company reported that it expects to lose at least $327 million in the fourth quarter and warns of "substantial doubt" about its future if it can't raise capital.
The blacklist expected a widespread financial market meltdown that has since devalued many luxury condos.