Sarah Malone’s first foray into the affordable housing world was on the commercial lending side at National City Bank, now PNC, in 2004.
National City Bank had been the upper-tier bridge lender for Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) for its transformation of a portfolio of 1,200 Sec. 8 units through two separate low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity funds in Columbus, Ohio. Malone, who focused on nonprofits, colleges, and universities, did the loans for OCCH.
“When I met [Malone] back in 2004, she had never heard of LIHTCs, but she’s a quick learner and was able to understand the complicated structure we were using on a large portfolio transaction,” says Jack Kukura, chief of acquisitions at OCCH. “I remember what really stood out with [Malone] was how thorough she was on all of her due diligence.”
After doing those loans, Malone stayed in touch with OCCH. Four years later, she decided to swap roles and joined the LIHTC syndicator and affordable housing finance firm as vice president of fund management. At a time when investors were starting to scrutinize underwriting and due diligence more, her banking background helped her respond to their questions.
Malone says there was a learning curve at first, but she was able to bring her strength of underwriting deals to the table. “Tax credits are just one part of it,” she says. “Overall, it’s still real estate, just a different vehicle.”
In January 2012, Malone was promoted to director of fund management. In her current position, she manages the day-to-day responsibilities of the fund management department; is responsible for the underwriting and management of the multi-investor, proprietary, and secondary equity funds; and oversees the management of lower-tier investment closings.
During her time at OCCH, Malone has been involved in the underwriting, closing, and investing of over 22 separate investment funds totaling more than $2 billion.
Malone, 39, and her husband have two young children.