Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Net Lease Profile: Chase Bank

JP Morgan Chase currently sits as the largest financial institution in the United States with over $2 Trillion in assets. Their retail banking operation features just over 5,000 locations across the U.S. with deposits of nearly $650 Billion as of June 2010.Rated A+ by Standard &Poor's and Aa1 by Moody's, Chase stands as one of the higher rated retail tenants commonly seen in the net lease world.

From a real estate perspective, Chase utilizes 7 different prototypes, depending on location and available site dimensions, with the bank branches ranging from 2,585sf to 4,766 situated on 0.65 to just over 1 acre of land. While they tend to prefer to own their locations, when a new site is opened as part of a lease agreement, they will retain ownership of the improvements through the utilization of a long term unsubordinated ground lease.

Their typical lease is for a term of 20 years with four renewal options at five years per option. Given their high credit and class A real estate requirements, their average cap rates are near the lower range found throughout the net lease world, however their leases do provide for rent growth, with 10% increases every 5 years the standard schedule. Some of the recent leases have featured a troublesome clause, allowing the lease to be assigned to any entity that meets certain financial criteria, such as minimum net worth benchmarks. While the minimum threshold set varies, they do detract from the implied safety of a lease guaranteed by the parent company.

Chase was well positioned to weather the stresses of the recent recession, seizing the opportunity to acquire the ailing Washington Mutual Bank without assuming legacy assets. As part of this assumption, Chase has been able to expand it's footprint into markets previously unable to penetrate, such as Florida. While they have been converting existing locations, look for Chase to secure a dominant presence in each of the newly entered markets within 3 to 5 years, creating numerous net leased assets along their expansion routes.

Read the full profile here.

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