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Meet the Credit Suisse Mafia, Some of Real Estate's Most Powerful Financiers

Want to get a jump-start on upcoming deals? Meet the major players at one of our upcoming national events!

In 2009 the rug was pulled out from under Credit Suisse as legal troubles spawned a mass exodus. But that didn’t destroy the global financial services juggernaut’s strong network. In fact, several went on to make quite a splash in the industry. Here’s a look at some key players then and what they’re up to now:

1) Steven Kantor

Then: MD in charge of all leverage finance

Now: Co-Founder of CCRE and CEO of S2K Partners

Son of Edwin Kantor, he apparently rides around Manhattan in a customized, chauffeured Mercedes Sprinter with a built-in office, massage chairs and two big-screen TVs. Steve had a meteoric rise at Credit Suisse where he was in charge of real estate finance and securitization and eventually running global real estate investment banking. In 2006 he was put in charge of all leverage finance. After leaving Credit Suisse, he hopped on board Cantor Fitzgerald, where he became one of three co-founders of Cantor Commercial Real Estate (CCRE). Now inactive at CCRE, he and his father have their own company, S2K Partners, a private equity firm that invests in media, entertainment and leisure. He notably joined forces with American idol creator Simon Fuller to bid on the $400M-plus Standard Hotel last year.

2) Anthony Orso

Then: Co-Head of Credit Suisse Real Estate Direct Group

Now: Co-Founder and Co-CEO of CCRE

The real estate-bred Staten island native closed over $24B worth of loans while at Credit Suisse. He headed to Cantor Fitzgerald in 2009, where he helped launch CCRE, the firm’s commercial lending arm, in 2010. CCRE has closed more than $24B in loans so far, was ranked the No. 1 Fastest Growing Company by Crain’s NY, and in 2013 it was ranked #1 in U.S Multi-Borrower CMBS by Balance. And it’s managed almost entirely by Credit Suisse alumni. But it’s not all about the Benjamins for Orso. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York.

3) Michael Lehrman

Then: Co-Head of Credit Suisse Real Estate Direct Group

Now: Co-Founder and Co-CEO of CCRE, CEO BGC Real Estate

At Credit Suisse he and Orso were responsible for over $100B in North American real estate loan origination. Like Orso, Lehrman joined Cantor Fitzgerald in 2009, helping found CCRE. CCRE defied the odds, becoming one of the most active CMBS lenders in the market by headcount and loan count. And many of its members are from the old team at Credit Suisse. In 2013 Commercial Observer named Lehrman, along with partner Orso and Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick among the “50 Most Important People in Real Estate Finance.”

4) Lawrence Britvan

Then: Senior Member of the Real Estate Finance Group

Now: Co-Head of Origination and Capital Markets of CCRE

This former attorney left Credit Suisse for Cantor Fitzgerald in 2009, eventually becoming a member of the management team at CCRE. Soon CCRE would help Cantor securitize $3.1B in loans in 2012 (almost twice as much as in 2011) and $4.5B in 2013.

5) Michael May

Then: MD and senior member of the Real Estate Finance Group at Credit Suisse

Now: COO at CCRE

May joined Cantor Fitzgerald in 2012 bringing 30-plus years' experience in capital markets, residential mortgage and multifamily mortgage, and years of overseeing origination and distribution of CMBS and other real estate related products at Credit Suisse. May’s main focus is on expanding CCRE, which now has a presence in New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, DC and other major markets, and opened offices in Boston last year.

6) Robert Brennan

Then: Global Head of the Real Estate Finance and Securitization (REFS) Business at Credit Suisse

Now: Senior MD of Guggenheim Partners and Principal and Senior MD at Pillar Multifamily

A pioneer of the modern CMBS industry and one of the CRE Finance Council’s original members, Brennan took his extensive Wall Street background, and 18 years at Credit Suisse to Guggenheim Partners’ Commercial Real Estate Finance Group (GCREF) in 2010 and leading Pillar Multifamily to a servicing portfolio of $20B-plus in only three years. Recent GCREF transactions including a $50M Office in Denver, CO, and a $49M mixed-use space in Naples, FL. He’s also on the Board of Trustees at the University of Vermont.

7) Anand Gajjar

Then: Senior Member of the Real Estate Finance and Securitization Group at Credit Suisse

Now: CEO of Pillar Multifamily LLC, and Senior Member of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Group (GCREF)

After spending years at Credit Suisse launching and building out commercial real estate products and businesses and serving as Managing Director in the Alternative Investments Group within the Asset Management Division, Anand joined Guggenheim Partners in 2010. In other interesting news, he and wife Rita had trouble selling their penthouse at 8 Thomas St because residents complained of gas fumes from McDonald's delivery trucks (making for a rather unhappy meal).

8) Michelle Paretti

Then: MD who headed up the small-balance loan program

Now: COO of Pillar Multifamily, COO of Guggenheim Commercial Real Estate Finance

One of 2008’s Women Worth Watching, Michelle Paretti joined Guggenheim Partners in 2011 as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer. She runs its new USD $1M to USD $10M small-balance CMBS platform. She also volunteers at her alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

9) Jon Trauben

Then: Head of High Yield Real Estate and Loan Syndications for the Americas at Credit Suisse

Now: Head of Subordinate Debt Origination at Barclays Capital

Trauben took a stop at Cantor Fitzgerald, serving as Director and Head of Capital Markets, High Yield Real Estate and Loan Syndication, before hopping over to the Barclays Capital CMBS team in 2011. The London-based company has a history that dates all the way back to goldsmith banking on Lombard Street in 1690. Today it has over 25,000 employees in over 29 countries with roughly $2.2T in total assets in 2013.

10) Peter Smith

Then: MD at Credit Suisse

Now: MD at Ladder Capital

This veteran real estate lender has debt product experience ranging from workouts to mezzanine loans and CMBS origination. After Credit Suisse, he was a Principal and Managing Director at Aion Partners before landing at Ladder Capital. Ladder Capital, with Smith representing, is responsible for providing a $150M first rate mortgage loan including a $25M mezzanine loan to the original home of the Metropolitan Museum at 681 Fifth Ave in 2011.