John Lettera, Esq. is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer overseeing the RealFi family of companies. John has over 21 years of legal experience and over 30 years’ experience in real estate debt originations and acquisitions as well as equity investing. John founded and has successfully managed two financing funds. From 1999 to 2005, John was an associate at the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, where he represented public and private clients in a range of transactions including mergers, acquisitions, asset and stock sales, restructurings, going-private transactions, leveraged buyouts, equity and debt financings, DIP financing and other significant corporate transactions including hostile and negotiated tender offers, proxy contests and spin-offs. John has also structured complex private equity transactions, including early stage venture capital and mezzanine financings, growth equity, troubled company turn around investments and leveraged and management buyouts. John was a founding member and partner at a privately held commercial real estate investment firm focused in the middle market debt space. John has extensive experience in real estate litigation as well as structuring complex real estate debt transactions and recapitalizations. John has structured numerous multi-tranche debt transactions including securitized A notes or A participations, “rake” bonds, B notes and B participations and mezzanine loans. John has a firm understanding of these CMBS-inspired structures. John is an adjunct professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and licensed to practice law in the State of New York. John is also licensed by the State of New York to teach continuing education to Mortgage Bankers and Brokers, Lawyers and Real Estate professionals. John has received extensive recognition for his contributions to the legal, commercial real estate, hedge fund and finance community, including being the honored recipient of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University Leadership Award and the American Bar Associations Professor Roundtable. John currently sits on the Forbes national real estate council and has been featured in the 2020 Top 100 Magazine as one of the most influential real estate individuals in the U.S. and Canada. John received his J.D. degree, cum laude, from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University where he served as the Managing Editor of the Pace Law Review and graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Corporate Financial Management from Manhattan College/College of Mount St. Vincent. Most importantly, John proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Brian Walter serves as the Chief Financial Officer overseeing the RealFi family of companies and is the REIT’s Chief Investment Officer. Brian has over 20 years of experience in the leveraged finance markets. Before joining RealFi, Brian served as the Chief Investment Officer of Tannenbaum Family Office L.L.C., the family office of Leonard M. Tannenbaum. In that capacity, he analyzed and invested in multiple asset classes, including private equity, real estate, real estate debt, credit, preferred stock, equity, structured products, tax liens, and litigation claims. Prior to the family office, Brian was Managing Director, Head of Institutional Products at Fifth Street Asset Management, a $5 billion public asset manager (O.T.C.:FSAM). He oversaw all business management responsibilities relating to Fifth Street's institutional products, including the BDCs, BDC JVs, S.M.A.s, CLOs, credit facilities, and the firm's hedge fund, for which he also served as Portfolio Manager. In 2017, Brian assisted in the sale of the BDC assets to Oaktree Capital for $320 million and the sale of the CLO assets to NewStar Financial for $7 million. Brian joined Fifth Street in August 2015, with over 20 years of experience working in the leveraged finance markets. Before joining Fifth Street, he most recently served as a Managing Director at Stifel Financial, where he was Co-Head of Fixed Income Cleared Products and Head of Leveraged Finance Trading. Prior to that, Brian served as a Partner, Managing Director and Senior Trader in the Institutional Sales & Trading Group at Imperial Capital, L.L.C. He was previously a Managing Director with UBS, where he worked for nearly eight years as the Head of U.S. Credit Index Trading and prior to that, Head of U.S. High Yield Trading. He began his career at Lehman Brothers, where he ultimately became Vice President, High Yield Trading. Brian received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and his M.B.A. with Beta Gamma Sigma honors from Columbia Business School, where he was a Heilbrunn Fellowship recipient.
Roberto Lupi is the President of RealFi Home Funding Corp. Roberto is a 27 year mortgage industry veteran. Roberto started as a Team Leader for HSBC Mortgage Corporation from 1995 to 2000. In 2000 Roberto co-founded Home Owners Asset Inc. in Briarcliff Manor, NY. This company was ranked consistently in the top ten mortgage brokerage companies from 2001 to 2003. 3 years later Roberto turned that small broker shop into Residential Home Funding Corp., a full service Mortgage Banker, licensed in 13 states. Over the next 20 years Residential Home Funding grew to over 400 employees and 40+ branches all over the East Coast from CT down to FL. During his tenure at Residential Home Funding Corp., Roberto has overseen the continued growth of the organization’s national loan origination and servicing operations. Furthermore Roberto negotiated several mergers and acquisitions as CEO of Residential Home Funding Corp. Roberto’s long-term vision for RealFi Home Funding Corp. involves a measured mix of organic growth and strategic acquisition. Roberto oversaw the rebranding effort that changed the company’s name from Residential Home Funding Corp. to RealFi Home Funding Corp. The name change and rebranding was the culmination of a months-long review process. Roberto has helped raise money for several organizations such as Maria Ferrera’s children’s hospital as well as the New York State Police Signal 30 fund. Roberto is a 1992 graduate of the Lubin School of Business at Pace University. Roberto graduated with a BA in operations management.
Anthony Pepe has over 19 years of mortgage banking experience. Anthony began his career in the Mortgage Industry in 1997 as a loan officer. Anthony was a top producer within the first six months and was promoted to VP of Sales within his first two years. His sales teams and branches always rank among the highest in production and profitability now and for the last 15 years. RealFi has the authority to lend in 16 states. The products, programs and financing options are ranked top in the industry.
Karina Castellanos is the Vice President of Secondary Markets at RealFi Home Funding Corp. Karina has over 23 years of experience in the mortgage and finance industry. Karina is in charge of mortgage pricing, loan pipeline management and mortgage loan sales. Karina manages the setting of mortgage loan rates to ensure RealFi’s financial goals are met and that the associated distribution of rate information is comprehensive and efficient. In addition, she is accountable for secondary market investor relationships and best execution analysis. Karina manages sales and hedging strategy, pricing, and exception request as well as negotiations in an efficient and expedient manner. She is responsible for relationships with loan investors and purchasers. Karina seeks investors that will offer superior pricing and service; acts a liaison on investor and warehouse guidelines, issues and product development. Karina maintains complete understanding of all secondary market investor requirements and loan eligibility and ensures that all sales conform to requirements while maintaining ongoing communications with underwriting, closing, and post-closing personnel. She reviews and confirms all requirements needed to sell residential mortgage loans, while maximizing profitability.
Gary Levine manages the firm's commercial lending division. Prior to joining RealFi, Gary was the Managing Director of Whitestone Realty Capital. Gary was also Vice President and Division Head, Commercial Real Estate Division, of K Hovnanian Companies and guided a staff of thirty-five managers and administrators. During his tenure, he developed approximately 2,000,000 square feet of real estate and additionally managed 1,200,000 million square feet. The properties included retail, office, apartments, flex buildings and self-storage facilities. For his own account, Gary successfully developed a 224-unit townhouse community in Mahwah, New Jersey and a 20-unit planned development comprised of 16 luxury townhouses and four single-family homes in Hawthorne, New Jersey. Gary was a Senior Vice President real estate analyst responsible for all real estate and real estate investment trust research for Josephthal & Co where he initiated coverage of fifteen REITs and published numerous reports and opinions on these companies and the industry. Gary was also Vice President – Real Estate Direct Investments at Prudential Bache Securities and was responsible for negotiating and structuring tax and income-oriented real estate partnerships.
Biagio serves as the Director of Sales at RealFi Home Funding Corp. Biagio has worked in mortgage banking for 20+ years. He is well-versed in all home financing solutions including jumbo financing, condo/coop, new construction, first-time homebuyer, Renovation, Foreign National, Commercial, Bridge Financing / Hard Money, Cross Collateralization, and FHA, VA loans. Prior to joining RealFi Home Funding, Biagio was most recently an Area Manager at Citizens Bank following a 10 year career at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Biagio is motivated by the joy clients experience when purchasing their first or subsequent homes. He is committed to educating clients and walking them through each step of the process, sharing his vast knowledge and understanding of the industry along the way. Biagio is the recipient of a number of industry-related awards, including Presidents' Club, Top Recruiter Award, and #1 Customer Service Award, in addition to Mortgage Professionals Excellence in Customer Service from 2010-2020. The RealFi Home Mortgage Team is committed to providing exceptional customer experiences while investing in and supporting its colleagues. We offer a unique and broad range of products. Our in-house underwriting and closing department make for a streamlined process with the ability to close loans quickly and efficiently. As one of the nation's leading mortgage lenders in residential and commercial financing, you'll thrive and grow your business by leveraging the offerings of a multi-faceted lender with a VIP, customer-centric approach. Join our team and discover opportunities to reach your full potential.
Robert Sternthal serves as head of Capital Markets. For the last two years, Robert led Rubicon Capital Advisors’ North American renewable energy and infrastructure practice with a team of more than ten professionals and mandates in excess of $2 billion in asset value. Prior to Rubicon, Robert founded and was the President of CohnReznick Capital Markets (CRC). With over twenty years’ experience in investment banking, Robert focused the majority of his time leading CRC‘s various business lines, with a special emphasis on delivering first-class service to CRC’s key clients, whether through creating new, critical connections or by working on complex structuring assignments. Immediately prior to joining CRC in September 2008, Robert was a Director in Credit Suisse's Asia Real Estate Finance & Securitization Group. Robert spent his last year at CS-based in Tokyo where he was responsible for structured finance and distribution of AREFS' CMBS and commercial real estate loans across Asia through securitization, syndication and sub-participation. Prior to his stint in Asia, Robert focused on establishing new businesses for Credit Suisse, leading to the formation of Credit Suisse's Low Income Housing Tax Credit Syndication business in 2006. In that endeavour, Robert also worked with Credit Suisse’s Project Finance and Renewable Energy Group and their clients to help them navigate the tax equity market and project financing structures. From May 2001 to May 2004, Robert worked in Credit Suisse's Asset-Backed Securitization (ABS) Group leading several groundbreaking securitizations involving Mexican mortgages, insurance commission receivables and drug royalties. Prior to joining CS in May 2001, Robert was an attorney at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. At Milbank, Robert was the lead associate on more than 25 domestic and international corporate finance transactions, including public and private placements ranging from $25 million to $1 billion, with specialization in aircraft and project finance transactions. From May 1998 to May 2001, Robert was a Staff Attorney in the New York office of the United States' Securities & Exchange Commission. Robert received his B.A. in Economics from Emory University in 1992 and his J.D., cum laude, from Temple University’s School of Law in 1995. In 1994, Robert received a Nambu scholarship to study law in Japan. He maintains conversational Japanese as well as Spanish.
Julio A Salazar Jr, is the Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of RealFi Home Funding Corp., part of the RealFi family of companies. Julio currently oversees Capital Markets, Investor and Warehouse relations and works very closely with operations to ensure efficient application to closing experience. Julio has over 30 years of Mortgage Banking experience. In 1987 after receiving his BE from Manhattan College in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Business administration, Julio began working as an international mechanical engineer. Between 1987 and 1991 he managed several important & large projects in South America in Peru & Venezuela for the electric and oil industry. He was in charge of overseeing the purchase, the construction and the installation of generation plants and transmission lines. In 1991 he decided that travelling the world was not the best environment to raise a family. In May 1991 he joined Wall Street Equity Brokers Inc., a mortgage broker firm in White Plains, NY where he successfully learned the mortgage industry. After 10 years of hands on experience at Wall Street Equity Brokers Inc, he decided to open up his own mortgage broker firm with one other partner. In 2000 he co-founded Home Owners Asset Inc. in Briarcliff Manor, NY. 3 years later he turned that small broker shop into Residential Home Funding Corp., a full service Mortgage Banker, licensed in 13 states. Over the next 20 years Residential Home Funding grew to over 400 employees, 40+ branches all over the East Coast from CT down to FL. Julio is happily married for 25 years, has 3 daughters and they all live together in Armonk NY. He regularly sponsors events to raise money for local children’s hospitals. He enjoys playing golf and tennis and is fluent in Spanish.