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NEW YORK— ING Real Estate Finance (USA) LLC has agreed to sell 29 of its real estate loans in the United States with a total outstanding balance of $1.6 billion to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. The portfolio consists entirely of performing loans and represents approximately 50 percent of ING Real Estate Finance's total U.S. loan portfolio.

The move by ING follows the company’s announcement in September 2012 that it would curtail its U.S. property lending business in order to sharpen its real estate finance platform. The company plans to focus on its core markets.

“This divestment is a result of the successful execution of our strategy to capitalize on current robust U.S. market conditions to generate strong interest in the loan portfolio among a high-quality pool of potential buyers,” says Michael Shields, managing director and head of ING Real Estate Finance Western Europe, UK, USA and Structured Products.

“As ING sharpens the focus of its real estate finance business, we will continue to deliver tailored real estate financing solutions in our other real estate finance markets,” adds Shields.

Mark Myers, head of commercial real estate at San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, believes that adding high-quality, performing loans to the bank’s portfolio is consistent with the bank’s business strategy and risk management practices.

“Many of our existing customers have loans in this portfolio as well, and we look forward to meeting the needs of those customers while strengthening our commercial real estate business through this acquisition.”

ING Real Estate Finance is part of the ING Group, a global financial institution of Dutch origin that offers banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services. ING Real Estate Finance is a commercial real estate financier with a portfolio that totals more than 28 billion euros (US $37.3 billion).

Wells Fargo was the top commercial/multifamily mortgage originator in 2012, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Morrison & Foerster LLP served as counsel to ING Real Estate Finance in the transaction, while Dechert LLP served as counsel to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

— Matt Valley

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