Our Firm

Pepe/Berard Capital is a boutique real estate direct lender and investment firm co-founded by William Pepe and
Ralph Berardi, Jr. in 2013.  The principals have over 80 years of combined experience in real estate lending, investments and management. The firm was founded to pursue small to middle market real estate opportunities within the New York Metropolitan area.

Each member of the Pepe/Berard team has over 20 years of commercial real estate experience.

William Pepe

William Pepe is a founding partner and principal of Pepe/Berard Capital with over 27 years of commercial real estate and finance experience. His real estate background includes financing, debt workouts, investments and property operations.  He co-manages the firm’s lending and equity investments.

Prior to founding Pepe/Berard Capital, he was a workout specialist for Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) and portfolio debt at ING Clarion Capital (now known as Torchlight Investors). The portfolio consisted of commercial real estate loans in excess of $25 billion and secured by commercial real estate, in all of the major asset classes, throughout the United States.

William is a licensed Real Estate Broker in New York State, holds a B.A. from The Catholic University of America and a Master of Science in Real Estate Finance and Investments from New York University.

Ralph J. Berardi, Jr.

Ralph J. Berardi, Jr. is a founding partner and principal of Pepe/Berard Capital with over 28 years of lending and real estate experience that includes direct lending, acquisitions, construction, foreclosure and debt workouts. He co-manages the firm’s lending and equity investments.

Previous to Pepe/Berard Capital, he owned and managed a mortgage and private financing firm for over 20 years. Through his firm he successfully raised and managed investor capital in excess of $60 million specifically for hard money mortgages utilized for development projects, property acquisitions and refinancing endeavors.

Ralph is a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator and is a member of numerous bar associations and civic groups. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Pace University.

Lawrence Michaelessi


Larry is a Director of Originations at Pepe/Berard Capital with over 30 years of lending and commercial real estate experience. His real estate career has been focused on mortgage finance and development. He is responsible for loan originations throughout the tri-state area for the firm.  He is proficient in foreclosure and REO acquisitions for rehabilitation and resale.

Prior to joining Pepe/Berard Capital he was the Vice President of Sales at another mortgage finance company in New Jersey.  Larry attended Central Connecticut University and is a regular presenter to real estate investment clubs and organizations throughout the New York Metropolitan area.

Stephanie Pierce


Stephanie is a Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at Pepe/Berard Capital and has over 30 years of commercial banking and lending experience   She has focused her career in the New York Metropolitan area working in several money center banks with a primary focus on financial services and real estate lending.  Stephanie has proven to be a proficient manager as she has built and managed teams of bankers throughout her career.

A lifelong Westchester County resident, she currently resides in Larchmont with her husband and daughter.  Stephanie attended Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.

George Zygmont


George is a Vice President of Loan Originations at Pepe/Berard Capital and has over 20 years of experience commercial and residential lending.  He is a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator and is fluent in Spanish, Italian and English.

A native of Greenwich, Connecticut and a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Languages.  George has been an Auxillary Member of the U.S. Coast Guard since 2013 and a member of the Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity class of 1987.  When not originating loans, George enjoys practicing Shaolin Kung Fu and has earned a second-degree black belt.