Bernie Navarro, President
Bernie Navarro is president of Benworth Capital Partners, a privately-held real estate investment company and licensed mortgage lender headquartered in South Miami focused on asset-based lending. He founded the firm in 2008 with a business model designed to mitigate the very risks that caused the mortgage crisis of the past decade. He and his team have built one of the most successful alternative and traditional private lending entities in Florida, including a crowdfund platform. Prior to forming Benworth, Mr. Navarro established HomeMortgage, which became the South Florida leader in new construction residential mortgages. He ultimately sold that company to the nation’s number-one home lender, at the time. Earlier in his career, Mr. Navarro worked in the finance and mortgage areas for Fortune 500 companies such as Citibank, GMAC and JP Morgan Chase.
Mr. Navarro has over 20 years of mortgage lending, real estate development and construction experience, including operations, sales and regulatory compliance, and is a licensed mortgage loan originator. He has extensive knowledge and expertise in secondary markets and financial retail operations.
Mr. Navarro is passionate about educating tomorrow’s future. In 2014, Florida’s Governor appointed Mr. Navarro to the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College, the largest and most diverse college in the nation. In addition, he provides leadership oversight for the College’s Idea Center as a member of the entrepreneurial institute’s board of directors.
He founded and currently serves as Chairman of the LBA Construction and Business Management Academy, the first business charter high school founded by a business association in the United States. The nonprofit Academy has received recognition by Fortune 500 companies, national educators and U.S. government officials specializing in educational issues. A source of media attention since its establishment in 2012, the Academy has emerged as a national model for educational partnerships. The Academy’s curriculum includes core high school academics plus electives in business and construction management. In addition to his work with the Academy, Mr. Navarro has been active for well over a decade in the Latin Builders Association (LBA) and is a Past President of the organization. The LBA is the largest Hispanic construction and real estate professional association in the United States.
Mr. Navarro is active in the development of the local economy. He has led a number of trade missions on behalf of the South Florida business community, working with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the City of Miami Mayor’s Office and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. He was elected by the residents of Miami-Dade County to serve on the Miami-Dade Community Council Area 10/Westchester. He was later elected Chairman of the Council by his fellow council members. He also served on the City of Miami Beach Zoning Board. Recognized for his civic leadership, Mr. Navarro was a panelist to select candidates to participate in the President’s Commission of White House Fellows, one of the nation’s premier programs to provide young leaders with first-hand experience in Federal government.
In 2012, Mr. Navarro’s company, Benworth Capital Partners, was honored by the Beacon Council of Miami-Dade (Greater Miami’s official economic development agency) as Financial Services Company of the Year for superlative achievement in the industry, for leading job growth and economic development and for serving as a role model for other businesses.
Mr. Navarro is considered one of South Florida’s top business and thought leaders, and is frequently sought out for opinion and to serve as a guest speaker and panelist on top-of-mind community and political issues facing South Florida as well as business topics of finance, capital investment, real estate and construction.
Mr. Navarro has received numerous honors and awards throughout his career. In 2016, he received the Legacy Award from SCORE’s Miami-Dade chapter in recognition of the impact his vision and innovation has had on the local community. In 2012, he was honored by the South Florida Business Journal as one of “40 Under 40,” recognizing the region’s best and brightest business leaders under 40 years-old for their business success, professional achievements and community involvement. Mr. Navarro has also been recognized as Mortgage Lender of the Year and has received other top honors from organizations such as the Builders Association of Florida, the Latin Builders Association and Platinum Florida’s BEST Awards.
Mr. Navarro earned an A.L.M. degree in Government from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Miami. A lifelong South Florida resident, he lives in South Miami with his wife and their three children.