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Brooklyn, NY - The Real Deal Profiles Orthodox Mortgage Lender Ralph Herzka

Published on: June 17, 2015 10:48 AM
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FILE - Ralph Herzka of Meridian Capital (Building Equity Management LLC)FILE - Ralph Herzka of Meridian Capital (Building Equity Management LLC)

Brooklyn, NY - Meridian Capital Group CEO Ralph Herzka, 53, is at the top of his game and may even be working on taking his company public according to a profile in The Real Deal (http://bit.ly/1R8UwLa ).

Over the past 20 years, Herzka has taken his company to the next level, most recently introducing an investment sales division and brokering 4,000 transactions worth $30 billion.

Meridian has over 250 employees in its New York City headquarters and offices in six states. Its competitors say the firm holds an eye-popping 15 percent of the market share in New York.

In interviews with Herzka’s clients, brokers, and colleagues, a picture of a man with a relentless appetite for his business emerges, even to the exclusion of his family or social obligations. “When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like hard work,” Herzka told The Real Deal. “We’ve hired a team that is the best in the business at both managing our firm’s volume and delivering for our clients.”

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But some former Meridian employees described the working environment as a “boiler room” where junior brokers with almost no formal business education work the phones, while senior brokers with MBAs, work in silence. “Herzka is not shy to use some negative motivation when he has to,” one source said.

A Borough Park native, Herzka got his start as a principal in Gelt Funding in the 1980s, which would later become Allen Gross’ GFI Capital Resources Group. Soon after, Gelt was sued by First Nationwide Bank for misrepresenting property values to secure non-recourse loans; a suit which was eventually dismissed. In 1991, Herzka and other Gelt executives left the company to form Meridian. Herzka’s partners, Aaron Birnbaum, Avi Weinstock, and Jeff Weinberg oversee different aspects of the firm, but Herzka is the company’s main broker. In 2013, Meridian came in second among top large-loan brokerage companies, bringing in an estimated $5.47 billion in deals. Its biggest clients include The Chetrit Group, the Pinnacle Group, and Kushner Cos.

Herzka’s competitors say they’ve had dealings with him at some point because of “their [Meridian’s] sheer size and style of marketing,” adding “Ralph is moving upstream and is leaving a lot of business open for his competition. You can’t do $120 million in business a day, which is his motto, and also do $2 million deals.”

Yet, Herzka’s reputation as a fierce competitor only drives him to work even harder. He has sought to instill that kind of attitude into his employees, creating a new official mantra of “Eat. Sleep. Close. Repeat.” Herzka has called Meridian a “high energy business” and stresses the importance of having young brokers, but according to an employee of Meridian, it’s “a workday that most people could not endure.”

Still, Herzka does take some time out for charity events, like Camp Simcha’s annual Bike4Chai ride. Herzka had pledged to meet his fundraising goal of $10,000 for the upcoming August ride, but has already raised $150,000 to benefit the camp for sick children thanks to the support of his top clients.

It remains to be seen if Herzka’s next move will include taking Meridian public. A Meridian spokesperson denied the rumored IPO saying there were no such plans, but that “the company would not rule out accessing the debt or equity markets to spawn continued growth at an appropriate time in the future.”


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Read Comments (20)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 17, 2015 at 11:13 AM Mazal1 Says:

What is he holding in his hand?

2

 Jun 17, 2015 at 11:20 AM lavrenty Says:

is it wise to flaunt your success and ask for ayin hora?

3

 Jun 17, 2015 at 11:31 AM Anonymous Says:

What is the purpose of this article ...to invest in Meridian when it goes public ?

4

 Jun 17, 2015 at 11:37 AM chasedishguy Says:

Nice keep it up ralph Jew's rack!!!!!!!!!!

5

 Jun 17, 2015 at 11:56 AM Anonymous Says:

Very driven, but customer service is just as important. The wheel is constantly turning. What frum orthodox person's motto is eat. sleep. close. repeat?

6

 Jun 17, 2015 at 12:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Mazal1 Says:

What is he holding in his hand?

A microphone.

7

 Jun 17, 2015 at 12:18 PM bennyt Says:

Reply to #1  
Mazal1 Says:

What is he holding in his hand?

a microphone.

8

 Jun 17, 2015 at 12:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Very driven, but customer service is just as important. The wheel is constantly turning. What frum orthodox person's motto is eat. sleep. close. repeat?

One who lives to make money instead of to serve Hashem.

9

 Jun 17, 2015 at 12:28 PM REALIST Says:

Reply to #1  
Mazal1 Says:

What is he holding in his hand?

Clearly a microphone.

10

 Jun 17, 2015 at 12:46 PM NoMan Says:

Reply to #1  
Mazal1 Says:

What is he holding in his hand?

A microphone.

11

 Jun 17, 2015 at 01:32 PM Brooklynhocker Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Very driven, but customer service is just as important. The wheel is constantly turning. What frum orthodox person's motto is eat. sleep. close. repeat?

That quote was just used for the article. Mr. Hertzka is a very generous person who has helped financially support countless organizations and also gives of his valuable time - but I guess you can't believe that because it wasn't written anywhere.

12

 Jun 17, 2015 at 01:55 PM sane Says:

A bit too driven for my taste. But that's why I'm not rich.

13

 Jun 17, 2015 at 02:19 PM Anonymous Says:

"A Borough Park native, Herzka got his start as a principal in Gelt Funding in the 1980s, which would later become Allen Gross’ GFI Capital Resources Group. Soon after, Gelt was sued by First Nationwide Bank for misrepresenting property values to secure non-recourse loans; a suit which was eventually dismissed. In 1991, Herzka and other Gelt executives left the company to form Meridian. "

Suffice it to say not such a wise piece of information to include especially since I would assume this is somewhat of an advertorial article. I mean read between the lines guys! I wonder why and how they left Gelt funding.

14

 Jun 17, 2015 at 03:01 PM Anonymous Says:

He is an ehrliche yid and big baal tzadakah, including some contributions to yiddeshe mosdos. Its a real Kiddush hashem when a Yid is profiled for being so successful in making big $$$ rather than waiting on line for housing subsidies or screaming about cuts in food stamps.

15

 Jun 17, 2015 at 03:26 PM guy Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

He is an ehrliche yid and big baal tzadakah, including some contributions to yiddeshe mosdos. Its a real Kiddush hashem when a Yid is profiled for being so successful in making big $$$ rather than waiting on line for housing subsidies or screaming about cuts in food stamps.

Why isn't a simple honest hard working middle class Yid also a Kiddush Hashem?

16

 Jun 17, 2015 at 06:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
guy Says:

Why isn't a simple honest hard working middle class Yid also a Kiddush Hashem?

perhaps so, but if the level of "kedusha" is measured by the $$ donated to chashuve rabbonim and askanim, a poishete yid is much lower on the Ebeshter's kedusha meter

17

 Jun 17, 2015 at 07:09 PM Hiten Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

"A Borough Park native, Herzka got his start as a principal in Gelt Funding in the 1980s, which would later become Allen Gross’ GFI Capital Resources Group. Soon after, Gelt was sued by First Nationwide Bank for misrepresenting property values to secure non-recourse loans; a suit which was eventually dismissed. In 1991, Herzka and other Gelt executives left the company to form Meridian. "

Suffice it to say not such a wise piece of information to include especially since I would assume this is somewhat of an advertorial article. I mean read between the lines guys! I wonder why and how they left Gelt funding.

Hi there, this is not an advertorial article. The Real Deal wrote a profile of Herzka, and we chronicled both the success he's had and the criticism he's received, which includes any lawsuits, disputes, failures etc. People come to TRD to read real news about NY real estate's biggest players, not to read advertorials, which we have never done. So we have no problem reporting on the ugly, as long as it's relevant to the story. Feel free to reach me at hs@therealdeal if you want to discuss further.

Sincerely,
Hiten Samtani
Managing Editor, The Real Deal

18

 Jun 17, 2015 at 11:11 PM MarkTwain2 Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Very driven, but customer service is just as important. The wheel is constantly turning. What frum orthodox person's motto is eat. sleep. close. repeat?

Rav Elyashiv ztl, with "close" referring to a Sefer.

19

 Jun 18, 2015 at 10:59 AM #13 Says:

Reply to #17  
Hiten Says:

Hi there, this is not an advertorial article. The Real Deal wrote a profile of Herzka, and we chronicled both the success he's had and the criticism he's received, which includes any lawsuits, disputes, failures etc. People come to TRD to read real news about NY real estate's biggest players, not to read advertorials, which we have never done. So we have no problem reporting on the ugly, as long as it's relevant to the story. Feel free to reach me at hs@therealdeal if you want to discuss further.

Sincerely,
Hiten Samtani
Managing Editor, The Real Deal

At the end of the day you guys generaly only profile people who want to be profiled. You don't just pick people out of the hat. So yes its true once you profile you include it all. But to begin with its kind of tilted towards the profiler.
Anyhow its pretty nicely glossed over about the Herzka/ Gross dispute.

20

 Jun 19, 2015 at 01:32 PM samthenylic Says:

Reply to #1  
Mazal1 Says:

What is he holding in his hand?

It is a microphone. After all, he is talking to a group of people.

21

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