Lancaster Pollard, a Columbus, Ohio-based broker-dealer, has hired David Lacki as managing director of the firm’s affordable housing group.

Lacki will lead a national effort to expand the firm’s investment banking and mortgage banking finance activities for income restricted and subsidized rental properties. He previously served as a director in the Housing Capital Markets Group at RBC.

Lancaster Pollard has focused on three areas: financing for health care, senior living, and affordable housing. “We now have national coverage by our health care and senior living groups and are looking to accomplish the same in affordable housing,” said Brian Pollard, senior managing director.

Lancaster Pollard’s growth has been largely in health care and senior living finance. The third area of concentration, affordable housing, has been a “consistent contributor” to deal flow, but a step-up in activity is being eyed. “We believe the opportunity is excellent to expand this group on a national level, similar to our health care and senior living efforts,” Pollard said.

The fundamentals for affordable housing are strong, Pollard said in an interview. “The need for affordable housing continues to grow and the supply is not keeping pace,” he said. “In addition, the market for low-income housing credits has improved considerably, especially for projects financed with tax-exempt bonds.”

Several federal agencies are stepping up affordable housing activity, according to Pollard. “HUD has launched a pilot program with the stated goal of approving financing applications in 120 days,” he said, “which would be a substantial improvement. We are an approved lender for that program.” Pollard added that low mortgage rates are encouraging refinancing of affordable housing debt, and his firm has been an active participant in those refinancings.

Lancaster Pollard plans to hire additional housing bankers in its Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, and Philadelphia regional offices. “Housing bankers,” Pollard explains, are investment bankers who focus on affordable housing for his firm. The markets served out of these offices represent population growth areas with considerable need for affordable housing. “Our ability to deliver bond underwriting and mortgage banking products, including FHA, FNMA, and USDA mortgage guarantee support, either together or independently, can provide efficient solutions for these property types where multiple funding sources are the norm,” said Pollard.