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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

Form 10-K

   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

or

   TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission file number: 001-32136

Arbor Realty Trust, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Maryland
(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation)

20-0057959
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

333 Earle Ovington Boulevard, Suite 900,
Uniondale, NY
(Address of principal executive offices)


11553
(Zip Code)

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code): (516506-4200

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

    

Trading symbols

    

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share

ABR

New York Stock Exchange

Preferred Stock, 8.25% Series A Cumulative Redeemable, par value $0.01 per share

ABR-PA

New York Stock Exchange

Preferred Stock, 7.75% Series B Cumulative Redeemable, par value $0.01 per share

ABR-PB

New York Stock Exchange

Preferred Stock, 8.50% Series C Cumulative Redeemable, par value $0.01 per share

ABR-PC

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer 

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer 

Smaller reporting company 

Emerging growth company 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes  No 

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock, all of which is voting, held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020 (computed based on the closing price on such date as reported on the NYSE) was $970.4 million. As of February 12, 2021, the registrant had 123,921,573 shares of common stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the definitive proxy statement for the registrant’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (the “2021 Proxy Statement”), to be filed on or before April 30, 2021 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.

Table of Contents

INDEX

PAGE

PART I

4

Item 1.

Business

4

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

14

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

35

Item 2.

Properties

35

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

35

PART II

35

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

35

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

37

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

37

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

49

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

51

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

118

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

118

Item 9B.

Other Information

120

PART III

120

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

120

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

120

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

120

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

120

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

120

PART IV

121

Item 15.

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

121

Signatures

124

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Forward-Looking Statements

This report contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, the operating performance of our investments and financing needs. We use words such as “anticipate,” “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “should,” “could,” “will,” “may” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements include these words. Forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions, discuss future expectations, describe future plans and strategies, contain projections of results of operations or of financial condition or state other forward-looking information. Our ability to predict results or the actual effect of future plans or strategies is inherently uncertain. These forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results in future periods to differ materially from forecasted results. Factors that could have a material adverse effect on our operations and future prospects include, but are not limited to, changes in economic conditions generally, and the real estate market specifically, in particular, due to the uncertainties created by the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic; the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, results of operations and financial condition; adverse changes in our status with government-sponsored enterprises affecting our ability to originate loans through such programs; changes in interest rates; the quality and size of the investment pipeline and the rate at which we can invest our cash; impairments in the value of the collateral underlying our loans and investments; changes in federal and state laws and regulations, including changes in tax laws; the availability and cost of capital for future investments; and competition. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements, which reflect our views as of the date of this report. The factors noted above could cause our actual results to differ significantly from those contained in any forward-looking statement. For a discussion of our critical accounting policies, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of Arbor Realty Trust, Inc. and Subsidiaries — Significant Accounting Estimates and Critical Accounting Policies” under Item 7 of this report.

Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. We are under no duty to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this report to conform these statements to actual results.

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PART I

Item 1. Business

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K we refer to Arbor Realty Trust, Inc. and subsidiaries as “Arbor,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or the “Company” unless we specifically state otherwise or the context indicates otherwise.

Overview

Arbor is a Maryland corporation formed in 2003. We operate through two business segments: our Structured Loan Origination and Investment Business, or “Structured Business,” and our Agency Loan Origination and Servicing Business, or “Agency Business.”

Through our Structured Business, we invest in a diversified portfolio of structured finance assets in the multifamily, single-family rental and commercial real estate markets, primarily consisting of bridge and mezzanine loans, including junior participating interests in first mortgages and preferred and direct equity. We also invest in real estate-related joint ventures and may directly acquire real property and invest in real estate-related notes and certain mortgage-related securities.

Through our Agency Business, we originate, sell and service a range of multifamily finance products through the Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac," and together with Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprises, or "GSEs"), the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae"), Federal Housing Authority ("FHA") and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (together with Ginnie Mae and FHA, "HUD"). We retain the servicing rights and asset management responsibilities on substantially all loans we originate and sell under the GSE and HUD programs. We are an approved Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing ("DUS") lender nationally, a Freddie Mac Multifamily Conventional Loan lender, seller/servicer, in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, a Freddie Mac affordable, manufactured housing, senior housing and small balance loan ("SBL") lender, seller/servicer, nationally and a HUD MAP and LEAN senior housing/healthcare lender nationally. We also originate and service permanent financing loans underwritten using the guidelines of our existing agency loans sold to the GSEs, which we refer to as "Private Label" loans, and originate and sell finance products through conduit/commercial mortgage-backed securities ("CMBS") programs. We pool and securitize the Private Label loans and sell certificates in the securitizations to third-party investors, while retaining the servicing rights and the highest risk bottom tranche certificate of the securitization (“APL certificates”).

Substantially all of our operations are conducted through our operating partnership, Arbor Realty Limited Partnership (“ARLP”), for which we serve as the general partner, and ARLP’s subsidiaries. We are organized to qualify as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes. A REIT is generally not subject to federal income tax on that portion of its REIT-taxable income that is distributed to its stockholders, provided that at least 90% of taxable income is distributed and provided that certain other requirements are met. Certain of our assets that produce non-qualifying REIT income, primarily within the Agency Business, are operated through taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRS”), which is part of our TRS consolidated group (the “TRS Consolidated Group”) and is subject to U.S. federal, state and local income taxes. In general, our TRS entities may hold assets that the REIT cannot hold directly and may engage in real estate or non-real estate-related business.

Business Objectives and Strategy

Our principal business objectives are to maximize the difference between the yield on our investments and the cost of financing these investments, to grow the stable earnings associated with the servicing portfolio of our agency platform, to generate cash available for distribution and facilitate capital appreciation. We believe we can achieve these objectives and maximize the total return to our stockholders through the following investment strategies.

Investment Strategy

The financing of multifamily, senior housing, healthcare, single-family rental and other diverse commercial real estate offers opportunities that demand customized financing solutions. We believe that providing both structured products and GSE/agency loans through direct originations and in-house underwriting capabilities throughout our national network of sales offices and lending solutions through various GSE and HUD programs provides us with a competitive advantage, since this allows us to meet the multiple needs of borrowers through fully integrated, comprehensive product offerings. We employ the following investment strategies:

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Provide Customized Financing. We provide customized financing to meet the needs of borrowers. We target borrowers whose options may be limited by conventional bank financing, have demonstrated a history of enhancing the value of the properties they operate and who may benefit from the customized financing solutions we offer.

Execute Transactions Rapidly. We act quickly and decisively on proposals, provide commitments and close transactions within a few weeks and sometimes days, if required. We believe that our rapid execution attracts opportunities from both borrowers and other lenders that would not otherwise be available. We believe our ability to structure flexible terms and close loans quickly gives us a competitive advantage.

Manage Credit Quality. A critical component of our strategy is our ability to manage the real estate risks associated with our investment portfolio. We actively manage the credit quality of our portfolio by using the expertise of our asset management group, which has a proven track record of structuring and repositioning investments to improve credit quality and yield.

Use Our Relationships with Existing Borrowers. We have solid relationships with a large nationwide borrower base and maintain a strong reputation in the commercial real estate finance industry. Through the expertise of our originators, we offer a wide range of customized financing solutions and benefit from our existing customer base by using existing business to create potential refinancing opportunities.

Long-Established Relationships with GSEs. Our Agency Business benefits from our long-established relationships with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD enabling us to offer a broad range of loan products and services which maximizes our ability to meet borrowers’ needs.

Leverage the Experience of Executive Officers and Our Employees. Our executive officers and employees have extensive experience originating and managing structured commercial real estate investments. Our senior management team has, on average, over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Our Primary Targeted Investments

We pursue short-term and long-term lending and investment opportunities and primarily target transactions where we believe we have competitive advantages, particularly our lower cost structure and in-house underwriting capabilities. Our primary focus has been, and continues to be, first mortgage lending in the highly attractive and stable multifamily real estate sector.

Through our Structured Business, we offer the following investment types:

Bridge Financing. We offer bridge financing products to borrowers who are typically seeking short-term capital to use in an acquisition of property. The borrower has usually identified an undervalued asset that has been under managed and/or is located in a recovering market. From the borrower’s perspective, shorter term bridge financing is advantageous because it allows for time to improve the property value without encumbering it with restrictive, long-term debt that may not reflect optimal leverage for a non-stabilized property.

Our bridge loans are predominantly secured by first mortgage liens on the properties. Additional yield enhancements may include origination fees, deferred interest, yield look-backs, and participating interests, which are equity interests in the borrower that share in a percentage of the underlying cash flows of the property. Borrowers typically use the proceeds of a conventional mortgage, such as our GSE/agency loans, to repay a bridge loan.

Preferred Equity Investments. We provide financing by making preferred equity investments in entities that directly or indirectly own real property. In cases where the terms of a first mortgage prohibit additional liens on the ownership entity, investments structured as preferred equity in the entity owning the property serve as viable financing substitutes. With preferred equity investments, we typically become a member in the ownership entity. Similar to our bridge loans, the yield on these investments may be enhanced by prepaid and deferred interest payments, yield look-backs and participating interests.

Mezzanine Financing. We offer mezzanine financing in the form of loans that are subordinate to a conventional first mortgage loan and senior to the borrower’s equity in a transaction. Mezzanine financing may take the form of loans secured by pledges of ownership interests in entities that directly or indirectly control the real property or subordinated loans secured by second mortgage liens on the property. We may also require additional security such as personal guarantees, letters of credit and/or additional collateral unrelated to the property. Similar to our bridge loans, the yield on these investments may be enhanced by prepaid and deferred interest

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payments, yield look-backs and participating interests. We hold a majority of our mezzanine loans through subsidiaries of our operating partnership that are pass-through entities for tax purposes.

Junior Participation Financing. We offer junior participation financing in the form of a junior participating interest in the senior debt. Junior participation financings have the same obligations, collateral and borrower as the senior debt. The junior participation interest is subordinated to the senior debt by virtue of a contractual agreement between the senior debt lender and the junior participating interest lender. Similar to our bridge loans, the yield on these investments may be enhanced by prepaid and deferred interest payments, yield look-backs and participating interests.

Single-Family Rental Portfolio Financing. We offer various financing products to borrowers who are looking to acquire conventional, workforce and affordable single-family housing. These borrowers are usually looking to purchase properties to hold for the long-term with permanent financing or acquire investments to develop with bridge, build-to-rent or line of credit financing options.

Structured Transactions. We also periodically invest in structured transactions, which are primarily comprised of joint ventures formed to acquire, develop and/or sell real estate related assets. These joint ventures are generally not majority owned or controlled by us and are primarily accounted for under the equity method of accounting.

Through our Agency Business, we focus primarily on the following investment types:

GSE and HUD Agency Lending. We are one of 23 approved lenders that participate in Fannie Mae’s DUS program and one of 21 lenders approved as a Freddie Mac Multifamily Conventional Loan lender for multifamily, manufactured, student, affordable and certain seniors housing properties, one of 12 participants in the Freddie Mac SBL program and an approved HUD MAP and LEAN lender providing construction permanent loans to developers and owners of multifamily housing, affordable housing, seniors housing and healthcare facilities. Our Agency Business underwrites, originates, sells and services multifamily mortgage loans across the U.S. through these programs and also originates and sells loans through the conduit markets. Our focus is primarily on small balance loans.

Private Label. We underwrite, originate and service permanent financing loans underwritten using similar guidelines of our existing agency loans sold to the GSEs. We pool and securitize the Private Label loans and sell certain certificates in the securitizations to third-party investors, while retaining the APL certificates.

We retain the servicing rights and asset management responsibilities on substantially all Agency Business loans.

Other Investment Opportunities

Real Property. We have, and may in the future, obtain real estate by foreclosure, through partial or full settlement of mortgage debt related to our loans. We may identify such assets and initiate an asset-specific plan to maximize the value of the investment, which may include appointing a third party property manager, renovating the property, leasing or increasing occupancy, or selling the asset. As such, these transactions may require the use of additional capital prior to completion of the specific plan.

Debt Securities. We have, and may in the future, invest in bond securities, such as those issued by Freddie Mac SBL securitizations from loans originated under the Freddie Mac SBL program and single-family rental bonds. These securities are generally carried at cost and are often purchased at a discount to their face value which is accreted into interest income, if deemed collectable, over the expected remaining life of the related security as a yield adjustment.

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Structured Business Portfolio Overview

Product type and asset class information about our loan and investment portfolio as of December 31, 2020 is as follows ($ in thousands):

    

    

    

    

Wtd. Avg.

Wtd. Avg.

Remaining Months

Type

    

Asset Class

    

Number

    

Unpaid Principal

    

Pay Rate(1)

    

to Maturity

Bridge Loans

 

Multifamily

190

$

4,139,307

 

5.22

%  

17.1

Land

8

189,613

2.91

%

4.8

 

Healthcare

9

 

186,694

 

7.45

%  

11.9

 

Hotel

4

 

177,000

 

1.83

%  

21.4

 

Office

5

 

123,227

 

4.26

%  

10.2

 

Single-Family Rental

38

 

88,089

 

6.58

%  

13.3

 

Student Housing

4

 

71,500

 

4.88

%  

5.1

Retail

3

33,500

5.43

%  

34.5

 

Self Storage

2

 

13,579

 

5.13

%  

8.0

 

263

5,022,509

5.09

%  

16.2

Preferred Equity

 

Multifamily

8

 

182,949

 

8.08

%  

56.5

 

Other

6

 

41,979

 

2.63

%  

20.9

 

14

 

224,928

 

7.07

%  

49.8

Mezzanine Loans

 

Multifamily

22

 

95,832

 

8.06

%  

60.3

 

Land

3

48,832

6.20

%  

9.7

Retail

3

9,578

6.07

%  

45.2

 

Office

1

 

5,000

 

9.00

%  

94.0

 

29

159,242

7.40

%  

45.0

Other

 

Single‑Family Rental

22

 

68,403

 

4.95

%  

74.8

Total

 

328

$

5,475,082

5.23

%  

19.2

(1)“Weighted Average Pay Rate” is a weighted average, based on each loan’s unpaid principal balances (“UPB”), of our interest rate required to be paid monthly as stated in the individual loan agreements. Certain loans and investments that require an additional rate of interest “Accrual Rate” to be paid at maturity are not included in the weighted average pay rate as shown in the table. Including certain fees earned and costs associated with the structured portfolio, the weighted average current interest rate was 5.80%.

Asset class and geographic concentration information for our loan and investment portfolio as of December 31, 2020 is as follows ($ in thousands):

    

    

    

Geographic

    

    

 

Asset Class

    

UPB

    

Percentage

    

Concentrations

    

UPB

    

Percentage

Multifamily

$

4,418,088

 

81

%  

New York

$

1,027,588

 

19

%

Land

 

246,544

 

5

%  

Texas

 

583,321

 

11

%

Healthcare

 

186,694

 

3

%  

Georgia

 

522,014

 

10

%

Hotel

 

177,000

 

3

%  

California

 

327,486

 

6

%

Single-Family Rental

 

156,492

 

3

%  

Illinois

 

294,048

 

5

%

Office

 

136,906

 

2

%  

Florida

 

283,338

 

5

%

Student Housing

 

95,000

 

2

%  

Alabama

 

260,198

 

5

%

Retail

 

43,078

 

1

%  

Pennsylvania

 

239,635

 

4

%

Other

15,280

<1

%  

Connecticut

229,793

4

%  

Total

$

5,475,082

 

100

%  

North Carolina

229,724

 

4

%

Other (1)

1,477,937

27

%

Total

$

5,475,082

100

%

(1)No other individual state represented 4% or more of the total.

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The overall yield on our loan and investment portfolio in 2020 was 5.83% on average assets of $5.25 billion, which was computed by dividing the interest income earned during 2020 by the average assets during 2020. Our cost of funds in 2020 was 3.35% on average borrowings of $4.50 billion, which was computed by dividing the interest expense incurred during 2020 by the average borrowings during 2020. As of December 31, 2020, our loan and investment portfolio was comprised of 90% floating rate loans and 10% fixed rate loans.

We also own unconsolidated investments in equity affiliates totaling $74.3 million, which consists primarily of a joint venture formed to invest in a residential mortgage banking business and an investment in a multifamily-focused commercial real estate investment fund.

Agency Business Lending and Servicing Overview

One of the Agency Business’s primary sources of revenue are the gains and fees recognized from the origination and sale of mortgage loans. Loans originated under GSE and HUD programs are generally sold within 60 days from the loan origination date, while our Private Label loans are pooled and generally expected to be sold and securitized within 180 days of loan origination. Our loan activity in 2020 was comprised of originations totaling $6.71 billion, sales totaling $6.59 billion and commitment volume totaling $6.81 billion. Our gains and fees as a percentage of our loan sales volume ("sales margin,") was 144 basis points for 2020.

We also retain the mortgage servicing rights (“MSRs”) on substantially all of the loans we originate, and record as revenue the fair value of the expected net future cash flows associated with the servicing of these loans. Servicing revenue is generated from the fees we receive for servicing the loans and on escrow deposits held on behalf of borrowers, net of amortization on the MSR assets. Our income from MSRs as a percentage of loan commitment volume was 243 basis points for 2020.

Product and geographic concentration information about our Agency Business servicing portfolio as of December 31, 2020 is as follows ($ in thousands):

Product Concentrations

    

Geographic Concentrations

Wtd. Avg.

 

Wtd. Avg.

Life of

 

Percent

Servicing Fee

Servicing

 

Loan