No more shining its light under a bushel for KA Mortgage. After more than a generation of flying under the radar while vetting, securing and managing financing for millions of dollars in construction and development for Kraus-Anderson interests and clients, the company is stepping into the spotlight. Recently rebranded as Kraus-Anderson Financial Services Group, Inc. (KAFS), and under the seasoned leadership of Vice President Mary Jo Kelly, the company is moving forward with its own bold plans for growth.
Q: While KAFS is positioning itself as a new service, its roots grow deep within KA and its horizontal interests. Talk about that.
MARY JO KELLY, VICE PRESIDENT, KAFS: Yes, very much so. Kraus-Anderson Mortgage Company was formed in the early 1970’s, initially for the purpose of coordinating excess funds and funding needs for all the Kraus-Anderson-related companies including placing debt for our commercial real estate portfolio and overseeing the treasury management for all of our entities. As KA grew, our activities soon expanded to advise KA’s executive team by providing underwriting, risk analysis and financing recommendations. Through the years, KA Mortgage has been selectively leveraged to provide analysis and funding assistance on a variety of construction efforts as well in more recent years with emphasis on Kraus-Anderson Development projects such as CityPlace.
Q: What’s driving the name change?
MARY JO KELLY: Strategic planning. Throughout the Kraus-Anderson enterprise, our business units have been examining and analyzing our functions, challenging the status quo, and asking ourselves, who are we, and what are our opportunities to add value and build sustainability into our current way of doing things? KA Mortgage came out of that process realizing that we have a great deal more to offer our clients.
Q: Such as…?
MARY JO KELLY: Our long-term vision is to be a financial services resource for KA and our partners, including securing of lending and equity partners, underwriting, financial analysis and investor relations. We are the liaison to all of KA’s external funding sources, banks and capital investors. We also function as the “solutions department” for challenging assets and situations.
Q: How does the KA Block illustrate the creativity of the KAFS approach?
MARY JO KELLY: Each component of the block has been financed differently with construction and permanent loans as appropriate. Also, there is the very creative approach to the common area of the parking ramp, which serves the apartments, Finnegan’s, our offices, the hotel and public parking; as well as the courtyard area. Financing considerations should come in to play in the beginning of designing a mixed use development. The benefits of that approach are evident in how well the whole KA Block project came together.
Q: What distinguishes KAFS from your competitors?
MARYJO KELLY: Like the rest of the Kraus-Anderson brand, we provide outstanding client experience, personal service, integrity, and an innovative, collaborative approach to solutions. Over the past several years, we’ve considerably grown our capabilities through the securing of financing through both traditional and creative sourcing, for high-stakes mixed use developments, notably on the KA Block. With that experience under our belt, and with the growth of KA Development, we see our operation as providing more options for clients and business partners. We’re another resource in the toolkit that KA provides. And working collaboratively with KA Development and the rest of the KA Family of Companies, we can enhance the client experience and further strengthen those ties.
Q: What are your short-term goals?
MARYJO KELLY: Building awareness of our new identity and goals, among our communities and also within our KA Family of Companies. We are also exploring areas of expertise we want to dive into to better serve our clients, such as Public/Private Partnerships (P3), for example.
Q: What’s next?
We are currently collaborating with KA Development on a number of possible projects so stay tuned …