This month we are excited to feature a brand new CUSO and new NACUSO member, LenderClose. I think you’ll enjoy hearing how this company began.
PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences
What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?
I am the President / Founder of LenderClose.
My day consists of talking to clients/staff/vendors/investors. I work 9 days a week and I enjoy every bit of it. You can say I spearhead the R&D segments of the business, sales, technology and customer service. But I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without having the right team alongside me.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?
My greatest joy is being part of someone’s success story. Whether it’s an employee we’ve promoted, a client we’ve helped restart or improve a process. As a culture at LenderClose we all believe in an impactful set of values. It begins with a simple formula: Take care of our clients, and it all comes full circle.
I want to hear the story of how you came to work with credit unions. What attracted you to work for LenderClose?
I’ve done my banking with Credit Unions since 1999. I’m very much a Credit Union guy. I have decades of experience in real estate and consumer lending. When the CFPB was formed in 2009, I knew Credit Unions were going to need help. That’s when I started LenderClose.
Our mission at LenderClose, is to help credit unions capture younger members, by developing state of the art technology to convert and “attract” more millennials in the decades ahead to ditch the banks for Credit Unions.
Now if we can go even further back, where did you grow up and what was it like living there? Where did you go to school?
I was born in the country of Jordan. Jordan is the home of Dead Sea, Petra and the River of Jordan.
The people of Jordan have a great deal of pride in their heritage, history and culture. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly encourage you to travel to Jordan. We spoil our guests from overseas.
I never forget where I’m from, However, home for me is Des Moines, Iowa. 😊
I attended college in Orange County, California (Santiago Canyon College)
Who were your mentors along the way? People who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
We all encounter individuals who help shape up our characters. I try to learn from other people’s mistakes and perhaps take the same path others took to success. Anyone with extreme work ethics is a winner in by book. I never count working hours in correlation to my success. I work until my body tells me to rest. I try to inspire others and in return that inspires me.
Finally, can you share something interesting about you that would surprise our readers? It can be anything, a hobby, an adventure, sports, the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you,
This is supposed to be the “funny” part. So, I would say that I rode a camel a couple of times in my life time.
Most embarrassing thing: Probably falling face down while golfing with clients, because the ground was wet. 😊
PART TWO: The Business Story
Tell me the story of how your CUSO/Company was created – the early days. Tell me about some of the memorable characters in the history, some that brought your story color, drama, comedy, conflict?
Back in 2010 when the CFPB was unfolding. I saw an opportunity and a void in the market for simple, affordable and adaptable technology which will bring everything needed to originate loans under one platform. Utilizing our lending background and identifying areas of opportunities, we’ve built LenderClose. We offer everything from Flood Determination, Tax Tracking, County Recording Services to Valuation Products. We know the mortgage market inside and out. And we are passionate about it.
What were the key relationships that mattered most? What were the key sources of support or resistance you encountered?
Someone once said, “You get what you pay for.” It’s true. Even with staffing. I hire people that are smarter than me. Our staff at LenderClose are some of the most motivated, hardworking individuals around. Those are the kind of relationships that matter.
The most challenging part of my job is motivating Credit Unions to utilize technology. I’m puzzled when I walk into a Credit Union and they’re still using typewriters to create loan documents.
What have been the greatest successes in your opinion?
It’s exciting seeing our user base expand month after month. Looking at what we’ve done this year vs. last year, is motivating. The potential ahead is even more exciting. We have more new products to roll out in the coming months, which will bring Credit Unions that advantage to compete against the BIG BANKS.
PART THREE: Reflections and Lessons
If you could start your CUSO/Company all over again, would you do anything differently? Why and what would you do?
I can think of 300 things I could have done differently. But there’s no way of telling what works and what doesn’t until it happens. Our days go by fast and the years pass even faster. We don’t have time to dwell on the past. Let’s position ourselves “prepared” for the future.
Finally, when you think of the future for credit unions, what gives you hope and what makes you concerned?
I talk to a lot of small to midsize Credit Unions. I don’t worry much about large Credit Unions. But credit unions under 100,000 members I worry about. They need technology in order to survive the Armageddon of technology coming in the next decade. The “Digital” era is not something we talk about any more, it’s here now.
Banks and Credit Unions are competing based on who can lend the fastest, and most painless and convenient for the borrower. Everyone offers the same interest rates, terms and fees. Are Credit Unions streamlining the processes? Are Credit Unions using technology and data to their advantage? Or are we still stuck in 1993 processes?
That’s what we’re all about at LenderClose. Helping Credit Unions take charge in the “digital” age.