Responding to COVID-19: A Letter from CEO Justin Wheeler

March 17, 2020

Responding to COVID-19: A Letter from CEO Justin Wheeler

March 17, 2020

At Berkadia, our mission is to improve the communities in which we work—through the real estate services we provide and the people we serve. Our employees, partners and clients have all been affected by COVID-19, and like everyone, this topic has consumed many of my waking hours over the past weeks. Here’s what I keep coming back to:

Above All, People Matter

Berkadia employs nearly 2,000 people and we talk often about the families who count on us directly, as well as the many families of our clients and partners. Our people and our relationships with customers and colleagues are our most valuable assets, and our decision-making remains firmly focused on putting people first.

That’s why, last week, we implemented a work from home policy that allows our teams to make the best decisions for themselves and their families, while carrying out our corporate responsibility to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Every day, we learn more about this fluid situation and proactively review and modify our plans.

I cannot emphasize how committed your people remain to providing the superior service you’ve come to expect from Berkadia. We routinely test our business continuity plans and technology platforms for scenarios just like this, so that we can continue doing our best for you—even (especially!) in uncertain times.

We’ve put people first since Berkadia’s beginning and that will never change.

Make The Right Choices

Integrity is everything to Berkadia, which means that we never fear doing the right thing. We’re working every day to make the right decisions for our people and our clients. What’s right today might not be what’s right tomorrow, and our job is to keep ourselves educated and empowered to make the right decisions. We have the best people in the industry and we want them to continue doing what they do best. For now, there is work to do and we’ll continue doing it.

Take The Long View

Another of Berkadia’s core values is that we take the long view. As a privately held organization, jointly owned by Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group, this is both our privilege and our purpose. Jefferies sent a letter to clients yesterday (click here), which echoes this sentiment.

We measure ourselves against exacting standards because our people and our clients need to have confidence that we’re going to do exemplary work, now and in the future. We take the current COVID-19 situation incredibly seriously, but we have the luxury of looking to the future as well. We believe in the resilience and strength of the American economy and, importantly, the American people.

Helpful Resources

As we navigate this ever-changing landscape, please refer to the following resources from our trade organizations to offer additional insight.

  • Moody’s Economics – The Moody’s Corporation is making research data and analysis related to the economic impact of COVID-19 available to the public, free of charge, via a dedicated website. This resource will be updated on a regular basis and collect insights from across the company’s deep network of financial experts. Information provided by Moody’s will help our clients to better understand the financial implications of market disruptions caused by both a short- and long-term health care crisis.
  • NMHC – The National Multifamily Housing Council is actively working with The White House, Congress and CDC to make the most relevant policy guidance available to members of the multifamily industry. The NMHC has also made this guide available to members of the apartment industry to help develop and implement preparedness strategies for responding to the evolving COVID-19 threat.
  • MBA – The Mortgage Banking Association has launched a resource page to support members of the industry in responding to and preparing for the impacts of COVID-19.

What is top of mind for me is rooted in our Berkadia values. These values ground us, especially in uncertain times like these, and we’ll continue to rely on them to guide us as we guide others through the weeks, months and years ahead. We will all get through this together.

Be safe,

Justin Wheeler, CEO

Justin Wheeler is Chief Executive Officer and a Member of the Management Committee at Berkadia