Rafael E. Cestero


The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)

A recognized leader in the community development finance industry, Rafael E. Cestero brings more than 30 years of experience in tackling the most pressing housing challenges cities across the nation are facing.

Upon joining The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) in January of 2012, Mr. Cestero put his extensive background in the public and private sectors to work leading the organization through a significant restructure and capitalization process following the great recession. His work with senior leadership and board of directors led to the company’s return to financial strength and renewed focus on its mission and the expansion of its social impact. As a AA- S&P rated company, CPC now stands as one of the most financially strong and impactful nonprofit multifamily finance companies in the country.

To strengthen CPC as a self-sustaining nonprofit, Mr. Cestero focused on diversifying its capital sources as a means to provide the company with additional flexibility and financial strength to support its growth and mission of creating a positive impact in communities. This included the creation of its Agency lending subsidiary, CPC Mortgage Company, which carries nationally licensed GSE lending products focusing in small balance loans and affordable housing preservation. In 2020 CPC also raised $150 million through its inaugural public offering of sustainability bonds, the largest such bond raise executed by a community development financial institution (CDFI) at the time. That year, the company also became the first real estate nonprofit to achieve carbon neutral operations, demonstrating CPC’s commitment as a leader in advancing sustainability and energy efficiency within the industry.

Through its construction lending, Agency lending, equity investing activities and numerous initiatives CPC has provided more than $12 billion to finance over 220,000 units of affordable and workforce housing, and is currently one of the largest CDFIs solely dedicated to multifamily housing finance.

From February 2009 to April 2011, Cestero served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the largest municipal affordable housing development and housing code enforcement agency in the country. As HPD commissioner, he simultaneously served as chairman of the board for the New York City Housing Development Corporation, the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency. During his tenure, Cestero helped implement and oversee Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance the creation and preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing. Before taking the helm at HPD, Cestero was the agency’s Deputy Commissioner of Development.

Cestero has also held leadership positions at L+M Development Partners as Managing Director, at Enterprise Community Partners as Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, and at the Enterprise Foundation as Director of New York Programs.

Cestero also co-hosts the popular podcast, The Housing Problem, where he discusses today’s most pressing housing and community development issues with co-host Kirk Goodrich and guests from across the country.

A native of Rochester, New York, Cestero received a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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