As a leader in the real estate finance industry, Joseph Philip Forte helped develop the secondary and securitization markets for residential, multifamily, and commercial mortgages as well as create the first and other early commercial mortgage loan conduits and flow purchase programs and their related loan documentation.
Joe has substantial experience in real estate and capital market-related financing, particularly in the origination, structuring, workout, and enforcement of commercial mortgage loans. This experience includes handling a wide range of financings from permanent, bridge and construction mortgage lending to mezzanine financing to loan sales and purchase transactions. He advises lenders and investors on market and regulatory issues affecting the mortgage and secondary mortgage markets and capital market-related financings and on such issues as environmental risk management, usury laws, and federal preemption and investment authority.
Joe represents traditional portfolio lenders as well as securitized lenders and special servicers in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) transactions, whether as stand-alone transactions or in complicated capital stacks involving senior mortgage debt, subordinate B-notes, or mezzanine debt with intercreditor, participation, and co-lender arrangements. His workout experience includes helping lenders and investors navigate loan workouts and enforcement proceedings during several market upswing and downturn cycles.
Prior to McCarter, Joe was senior counsel at a major national title insurance company and was partner in private practice at several national firms.
One of the original founders of the CRE Finance Council (CREFC) and longtime member of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Joe has helped advance the interests of lenders and investors in the real estate finance industry. He helped develop ASTM’s original environmental risk assessment standards; advance adoption of important amendments to the 1994 bankruptcy code; draft the Capital Consortium’s Capital Markets Ratable Mortgage form; and defeat the American Land Title Association’s original creditors’ rights exclusion to its title insurance policies. He was involved in obtaining the New York state tax authorities’ acceptance of CMBS defeasance and the use of consolidated mortgage notes in commercial mortgage transactions in New York; drafting of a standard co-lending agreement for the Life Insurance Company Task Force of the Mortgage Bankers Association; and contributing as amicus curia in the General Growth Properties and Extended Stay Hotels bankruptcies. He served as co-chair of the Real Estate Roundtable High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) Working Group, which developed the legislative clarification of the HVCRE Rule as it affects construction lending, and serves as chair of its LIBOR Working Group, which made the initial recommendations for safe harbor modifications to the IRS sales/exchange rules, resulting in the IRS issuing a final regulation confirming that replacement of LIBOR would not be treated as a taxable exchange of property under the Tax Code.
A frequent speaker and author on real estate finance topics, Joe served for several years as the co-chair of the annual “CMBS & The Real Estate Lawyer” program for the Practising Law Institute. He was the founder and publisher of CRE Finance World and continues to serve as publisher of CREFC’s CRE and Multifamily Finance in the Spotlight. From 2013-2019, he served as a contributing editor of Lexology’s annual Getting the Deal Through and was author of that publication’s USA Chapter and its annual Global Overview. He has also been the recipient of several “Best Article” awards from legal and industry publications. He has served as chair/vice chair of several bar and industry association committees, including for the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, and the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Joe has been recognized as a leading real estate finance practitioner in national and international surveys, including Chambers, Legal 500, SuperLawyers, and Best Lawyers. Chambers USA noted that Joe is “a highly experienced and respected real estate finance specialist. He has notable expertise on the structuring, origination and workout of commercial mortgage loans.”
Joe has been recognized annually by The International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers as one of the top 10 most highly regarded lawyers, and from 2010-2013 and 2017-2018 as “Global Real Estate Lawyer of the Year.” In 2019, he received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award as “a pioneering figure in real estate financing.”