Little Rock-based Bank of the Ozarks said it expects to open a loan production office in New York City on July 5, 2013. The office will be an extension of Bank of the Ozarks’ successful Dallas-based Real Estate Specialties Group, according to the bank.

Richard Smith, Executive Vice President, will lead the New York office.

“On many of the Real Estate Specialties Group’s transactions, the equity dollars, subordinated debt or mezzanine financing comes from New York sources,” said Dan Thomas, Vice Chairman, Chief Lending Officer, and President of the Real Estate Specialties Group. “As we’ve worked with these sources over the years, it became apparent that having staff on the ground in New York would allow us to better serve our existing relationships and capitalize on future business opportunities.”

The Real Estate Specialties Group of Bank of the Ozarks opened in Dallas, Texas in 2003 and is focused on the origination and servicing of quality loans collateralized by all types of commercial real estate in markets across the United States.

The Real Estate Specialties Group already operates two satellite offices, one in Austin, Texas which opened in January 2012 and one in Atlanta, Georgia which opened in July 2012.

Bank of the Ozarks has received all regulatory approvals for the New York loan production office.

Smith is a 25-year real estate veteran of the New York area. Smith has held senior lending positions in New York, working for banks, finance and investment companies.

His expertise spans across all aspects of real estate finance including construction lending, bridge lending, mezzanine lending and loan administration.

He received a bachelor’s degree and a Masters of Business Administration from Adelphi University in New York. Smith joined the Dallas office of Bank of the Ozarks’ Real Estate Specialties Group last month.

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