Pathway Lending’s loan catalog includes support for affordable multifamily housing developments. Our goal is to provide creative and flexible financing solutions to developers in communities throughout Tennessee. To date, we have invested almost $24 million to retain and renovate approximately 700 affordable housing units in Tennessee.

Get to know our Commercial Real Estate Director, Nicole Robben.

Hometown: Springfield, IL

Previous Career: Lending with other CDFIs through revolving loan funds

Fun Fact: I spent 6 months backpacking in Central America in my mid-20s – Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I spend my day addressing the affordable housing crisis to the best of my abilities. This includes meeting frequently with a variety of developers, both new and experienced, discussing affordable housing and explaining our loan products at Pathway Lending. I take in the information about their project, analyze it, review their projections, and figure out how we can help with financing. I seek out developers and projects that meet our affordability definition, along with mixed-income and workforce housing projects to see if we can assist in the financing of those projects. I participate in a variety of organizations and groups and meet one-on-one with individuals in the affordable housing field to discuss how to tackle the affordable housing crisis in Nashville and throughout the state. And ultimately I provide financing to support affordable housing projects in Tennessee.

What are some obstacles and questions you regularly help developers with as they put together funding for affordable multifamily housing projects?

When working with developers who are new to development, I spend a fair amount of time analyzing the developer’s proforma and figuring out if the operating projections are correct. I provide feedback and discuss creative ways Pathway Lending can contribute or otherwise assist in structuring the capital stack. Because we are a community development financial institution, I see my role as not just seeking out projects that meet our affordable housing definition, but also providing hands-on assistance in ways we are uniquely equipped to do.

What does an ideal project look like?

A multifamily housing property that has four or more rental units with a developer seeking financing for acquisition, development, rehabilitation, and refinancing represents an ideal project. We serve communities throughout Tennessee.

How is Pathway alike or different from work you’ve done previously?

While my work at Pathway is familiar because I have done lending at two other CDFIs, Pathway has greater assets and capacity to finance larger projects and provide permanent financing.

I have worked with revolving loan funds in the past and am really excited about the opportunity to provide more permanent financing in my current role. Pathway Lending has the drive and passion to look outside the box and get creative in the name of addressing the affordable housing crisis. The leadership at Pathway is supportive and eager to create meaningful impact throughout our communities.

Why do you think what we do is important?

When it comes to affordable housing lending, we are willing to get more creative with higher loan-to-value (LTVs) and lower debt service coverage ratio (DSCRs), which we need in the community in order to move some of these affordable housing projects forward.

What’s the best part about your job?

I truly enjoy working with people, community groups, developers, and residents who are excited and determined to provide quality affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families and individuals. Every day I am excited about collaborating with so many people to make a difference in the community. I love being part of a team that works hard every day to make a positive impact including financing quality affordable housing developments in communities throughout Tennessee.