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MEET THE TEAM
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Mr. Cousins, 48, is one of the founders of CLP. He is Chairman of the Investment Committee responsible for guiding the general direction of CLP and the Fund, along with overseeing all aspects of business development for both. He leverages his extensive experience and knowledge base in order to uniquely position CLP amidst its peer group, by combining the best practices of a bank with the innovation of a non-traditional lender. Mr. Cousins’ familiarity with today’s lending landscape is complemented by an in-depth understanding of borrower needs and a big picture approach. He is acutely aware of the nuance to each individual project and applies both creativity and real world knowledge to achieve the appropriate capital structure. As chief ambassador to the Company’s external constituencies, including borrowers, investors, brokers, and other lenders, his daily efforts also involve growth of the Company’s already diverse professional network.
Over his thirteen years in the banking industry, Mr. Cousins has participated in greater than $400 million in real estate transactions. For the ten years prior to forming Capital Lending Partners, Mr. Cousins was with The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, where his roles included Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate and Construction Lending, Head of Business Development and Senior Relationship Manager. As a key executive with the bank, he played an integral role in various facets of the business, but focused primarily on clients in the bank’s Commercial Real Estate and Mortgage Warehouse business lines. His clients have included some of the top developers, builders, mortgage companies, and entrepreneurs in Arizona. Prior to joining Biltmore Bank, Mr. Cousins was in the Correspondent Lending Division at First National Bank of Arizona.
As the qualifying individual for Capital Lending Partners, Mr. Cousins is the executive responsible for the company’s mortgage banking license (AZ-BK #0936886) and is also licensed as a Mortgage Loan Originator (NMLS #1159622). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Providence College in Rhode Island in 1991, and his Graduate Degree from Pacific Coast Banking School at University of Washington.
Mr. Meris, 50, is one of the founders of CLP. He is primarily responsible for overseeing the Fund’s capital formation activities and the relationships with its investors. He is also responsible for setting the strategic course of CLP and the Fund. His business acumen and keen oversight is essential to maintaining proper balance and direction of the Fund’s corporate resources. His primary efforts center on the pursuit of growth, as well expansion of our network and integration of new business opportunities to accomplish the same.
Over the two years before joining CLP, Mr. Meris was involved with various capital markets initiatives related to certain private investments, specializing in high-growth, under-served markets and other niche opportunities. For the eleven years prior, he served as President of IMH Financial Corporation, a real estate investment company and lender based in Scottsdale, Arizona. During his tenure, from 2003 to 2014, IMH originated, funded and managed a portfolio of approximately $1.2 billion in real estate and real estate loans.
Mr. Meris brings a valuable perspective to the company’s capital formation and investment activities. His prior experience includes multiple years of private equity fund management, as well as owning and operating three branches of a residential mortgage company. He has served as chairman of the board and president of a variety of companies, both privately held and publicly traded on NASDAQ. Mr. Meris has been a member of the Urban Land Institute and works with many civic and charitable organizations. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University in 1988.
CHIEF CREDIT OFFICER
Mr. Bhesania, 42, is one of the founders of CLP. As Chief Credit Officer of CLP, he oversees real estate lending operations and is principally involved with developing and administering policies and procedures regarding the same. He is responsible for governing a full suite of activities related to the Fund’s underwriting process, wherein his duties include borrower analysis, property valuation, general compliance, and adherence to both corporate and regulatory requirements. Mr. Bhesania’s paramount charge is to ensure sound decision making across all aspects of the Fund’s credit and loan closing processes, in the interest of protecting its assets and capital resources.
Mr. Bhesania possesses twenty years of real estate lending and investment experience. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for underwriting loans and overseeing real estate projects across a diverse mix of assets. During such time, he has had the opportunity to work with a variety of borrowers on a multitude of complex transactions. Having previously been associated with both traditional and nontraditional lending organizations, he is well familiar with the virtues of each. His prior experience affords him the ability to provide builders, developers, and other real estate professionals with tailored solutions to meet their specific capital needs.
Over the four years prior to joining Capital Lending Partners, Mr. Bhesania worked as a VP – Portfolio Manager and Senior Underwriter at two different community banks (Republic Bank of AZ and Biltmore Bank of AZ, respectively). For the four years prior to his employment in the traditional banking sector, Mr. Bhesania worked for IMH Financial Corporation, a real estate investment company and non-traditional lender based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Mr. Bhesania currently maintains licenses as a Mortgage Loan Originator (NMLS #273171) and Real Estate Salesperson (AZ Lic. #SA648094000). He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1997 and his MBA from Pepperdine University in 2005.
BRIAN J. PETERSON
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Mr. Peterson, 38, is one of the founders of CLP. As Chief Operating Officer of CLP, he is principally responsible for the operations of CLP and overseeing all internal functions related thereto. His responsibilities include monitoring Fund cash flows and managing investor-related financial matters for the Fund. He is involved with helping to shape the corporate strategy, while ensuring its proper implementation. His duties also include growth and maintenance of the Company’s investor and other key relationships.
Over the two years before joining CLP, Mr. Peterson was involved with various capital markets initiatives related to certain private investments, specializing in high-growth, under-served markets and other niche opportunities. For the eleven years prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Investments for IMH Financial Corporation, a real estate investment company and lender based in Scottsdale, Arizona. During that time, he managed the company’s capital raise process, investor relations program, and operations department. Over a five-year period, Mr. Peterson and his team raised greater than $950 million of equity capital dedicated to real estate-based investments.
Mr. Peterson brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise in multiple areas that are pertinent to our business. In addition to the above, he has grown and managed a residential mortgage brokerage company and provided research and analysis for numerous financial transactions. He is currently licensed as a real estate salesperson in the state of Minnesota (MN Lic. #40425723) and has previously held multiple securities licenses. He graduated summa cum laude and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Arizona State University in 2000.
DIRECTOR OF LENDING
Ms. Harper, 33, has over fifteen years of experience in real estate, private lending, finance and sales to her role as the Director of Lending for CLP. She is principally responsible for structuring, negotiating and underwriting loans on all types of properties for CLP and the Fund. She monitors and manages the timeliness and quality of the Fund’s mortgage pipeline, and maintains oversight of individuals involved with the loan origination process. She is also involved with implementing accurate and effective quality control systems and ensuring compliance with various regulatory requirements.
Ms. Harper’s experience in loan management services provides her with the necessary skillset to also be involved with many other aspects of CLP and the Fund’s lending business, including but not limited to, post-closing, title review, preparation of loan documents, the completion of escrow instructions, and coordination with all legal counsel and title companies regarding loan documentation, payoff requests, and release of collateral.
DIRECTOR OF INVESTOR RELATIONS
Mr. Loew, 44, has over twenty years of experience in retail and institutional finance transactions. As Director of Investor Relations for CLP, his principal duties involve developing and implementing the capital formation strategy for CLP and the Fund. He is responsible for maintaining investor relations and serves as the key point of contact for investors.
Over the four years prior to joining Capital Lending Partners, Mr. Loew was President of a national digital marketing company. During such time, he helped to shape and implement the capital raise strategy as well as oversee the day-to-day operations of the company. Prior to that, he served as Director of Operations for Amerifunds Diversified Funding, LLC, a privately held investment fund. There he co-managed the launch of the company’s second investment fund while also managing its underwriting department. Mr. Loew’s career also includes six years as a corporate officer with IMH Financial Corporation, a real estate investment company and lender, as well as eight years as an investment banker, during which time he successfully managed several domestic and international financial firms.
Mr. Loew brings with him high-level program implementation skills relative to corporate finance, operations and investment activities. He has previously held multiple principal securities licenses, and has experience working with institutional and private investors. He graduated and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Arizona State University.
SENIOR COMMERCIAL LOAN OFFICER
Mr. Sutter has been in the real estate lending arena which includes commercial and residential lending for the past 35 years in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for originating, underwriting loans and administrating real estate projects across a diverse mix of assets, which includes both development and construction projects. During such time, he has had the opportunity to work with a variety of borrowers on a multitude of complex loan transactions.
Prior to joining Capital Lending Partners, Mr. Sutter worked as Senior Vice President for various community banks in Phoenix. Over the past 35 years, he has been involved with greater than $2 billion of real estate loans.
Mr. Sutter is licensed as a Mortgage Loan Originator (#269539) and Real Estate Salesperson (AZ Lic. #SA634314000). He received his Bachelor of Science degree from University of Arizona in 1980.
SENIOR COMMERCIAL LOAN OFFICER
Mr. Bates has been involved in all aspects of real estate lending for the past 12 years in Arizona and Colorado. Over this time, he has been responsible for loan origination, underwriting, compliance review and servicing. He has underwritten and approved loans on all types of property, including residential real estate through multi-million dollar commercial construction loans. Over the course of these experiences Mr. Bates has been able to structure loans for borrowers for a variety of scenarios and situations.
Prior to joining Capital Lending Partners, Mr. Bates worked as a Senior Vice President for FirstBank, a $16B financial institution headquartered in Lakewood, CO. During his 11 years with FirstBank, he was able to originate and approve over $300 million in real estate loans.
Mr. Bates attended Texas Tech University and received a dual Bachelors of Business Administration with emphasis in Finance and Economics in 2003 and his Masters of Science in Personal Financial Planning in 2004.
Ashley Luna is the executive assistant to the CEO And President. She also serves as the office manager for the company’s corporate office.
Ashley oversees company travel and meeting planning activities. She manages multiple calendars including all meetings, conference calls, travel and logistical details.
BOARD OF ADVISORS
CONOR JACKSON – Former MLB first baseman and left fielder for the diamondbacks, A’s and Red Sox from 2003-2010. Since retiring from baseball, Conor has focused on investing in private loans secured by real estate.
JON ROSENBERG –Co-Founder/Managing Director, Levrose Commercial Real Estate. Founded in 1992, Levrose has become a market leader in commercial real estate in the greater Phoenix metro area.
JEFF CARLSON –Director, Land Advisors Capital. Jeff brings over 30 years of significant loan portfolio management and homebuilding expertise.
STAN MORRIS –Owner of Peoples Mortgage with over 43 years in the mortgage banking business. Peoples Mortgage employs over 250 residential loan officers and lends in 27 states.
JORDAN GEOTAS –Principal, Commercial Plus Group. Jordan is a mergers and acquisitions advisor, licensed attorney, commercial real estate agent, and commercial mortgage broker.
CHRIS HANSON –Owner, Hanson Capital Group. Chris’s companies focus on the vertical integration of real estate acquisition and management, having bought and sold over 3,000 single family and multi-family units since 2008.
FRANKIE MUNIZ –Actor, musician, producer, known for his roles on Malcom in the Middle, Agent Cody Banks and Big Fat Liar. Frankie lives in Arizona and is a prolific real estate investor.