Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) — Principal Financial Group Inc., the provider of life insurance and retirement products, is joining with Macquarie Group Ltd. in a venture that will make loans and package them into bonds.

Macquarie will provide funding while Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal's real estate arm will underwrite, close and service the loans, the companies said in a statement yesterday.

Australia's largest investment bank is pushing into a commercial mortgage-backed securities market that is rebounding after shutting in 2008. Wall Street banks this year have arranged about $54.6 billion of U.S. CMBS tied to everything from strip malls to skyscrapers after issuance doubled to $80 billion in 2013. Sydney-based Macquarie this year hired Tim Gallagher, who had led Morgan Stanley's commercial-real estate debt syndicate, to expand in the U.S.

The venture will help the insurer “offer a wider menu of options for our borrowers and leverage the strengths of both firms,” Margie Custis, a managing director for Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal's real estate arm, said in the statement.

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