AmiSight 9/29: The Responsibility of Being a Business Loan Broker
When I flipped through my Facebook memory feed today, I found this post that I wrote six years ago. Every principle I wrote back then holds today, and I wanted to share it.
Recently I have realized that lessons my Dad taught me over the years have had a profound and powerful impact on my work.
I am the founder and CEO of a national business loan brokerage, MultiFunding. Since we started six years ago, we’re trying to bring a new set of ethics and standards to an industry that has been fraught with scandals and unscrupulous behavior over decades. Every month, we work with hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs around the country to try and help them figure out the best possible loan options for their businesses.
My Dad is a retired ophthalmologist. Growing up, I watched him take care of thousands of eyes. Every patient got one on one attention. Every patient was treated carefully and thoughtfully – no matter how simple or complicated the case was. Reputation meant everything, and my Dad was loved and respected.
Sometimes my Dad tries to give me advice about how to run my loan brokerage. While we might not always agree about tactics, the truth is that I am applying the values and principles of his medical practice to a different industry.
I don’t want to suggest that taking care of loans is nearly as intricate as operating on eyeballs. But we think of ourselves as loan doctors. A bad loan can ruin a business, an entrepreneur’s dreams, and all of their employee's livelihoods. So when we’re entrusted with advising them about their loans, we have to take the situation as seriously as a doctor would.
We listen to each situation carefully, ask the appropriate questions, and explain alternative plans and possibilities. Then, we lay our plans so a business can be healthy and grow. And we worry and focus on what's best for the company instead of thinking about what loan product we might be able to sell at the highest commission.
Sometimes the solution is pretty black and white, and there is a quick diagnosis. But often, it's just not that clear – and there are different options with pros and cons to be considered. Often there is a multi-step solution that has to be constructed and recommended. And sometimes, a loan is not the right solution at all. Every business has to be treated like a patient – every single time. It's our responsibility to think that businesses life is on the line.
There has been a lot of activity and investment in the business lending space since I started MultiFunding. Hundreds of new alternative lenders have emerged. But, sadly, in many cases, the loans they offer do more damage than good. Other online brokers have emerged who try to use technology to replace the human judgment of our work. And sadly, some companies position themselves as brokers but peddle many lending products on the back end.
With all the buzz around us and talking about technology, we will focus on treating business owners as patients instead of numbers on a spreadsheet. That's what I learned to do growing up as a kid, and I think it will serve many people well for generations to come.