(Bloomberg) -- BentallGreenOak has raised 869 million euros ($1 billion) for its latest European real estate debt fund as the private equity firm muscles in on property lending amid a retreat by banks.

The fund, which started raising cash before the onset of the pandemic, exceeded its initial target of 800 million euros, according to a statement Thursday. It issues loans secured against offices, warehouses and homes in Germany, the Netherlands, the Nordics and Ireland.

“Post-Covid we have faced a lot less bank competition on the lending side,” said Jim Blakemore, a London-based managing partner and global head of debt. “This is a good market to be a lender in today.”

The outbreak prompted banks to make hefty provisions for soured loans as widespread lockdowns threatened borrowers’ rent collections and their ability to repay loans. That’s diminished their appetite for new real estate lending, particularly to malls, stores and hotels that have seen their income wiped out. Non-bank lenders have spied an opportunity to step in and back investors seeking to reinvent those impaired properties.

GreenOak Europe Secured Lending Fund II has so far lent 382 million euros, the statement said. The eight loans agreed to date have been for properties in the Netherlands and Ireland.

“This crisis may be for assets that are no longer fit for purpose,” like shopping malls leased to fashion stores that have seen consumers move online, Blakemore added. “When you talk about sectors having to be reinvented, that kind of real estate transformation doesn’t fit well with bank lending, that’s the place where private credit can fill the gap.”

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