Journey to the Top | Melissa Martorella, Geraci LLP

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In this episode, Kevin sat down with Melissa Martorella, Geraci LLP’s newest partner. As the department head for Geraci’s banking & finance team, Melissa shared the journey that brought her to embrace her new role. Listen in to learn more about Melissa as a person and her role at the firm.

Melissa Martorella is a Partner and Department Head of Geraci LLP’s Banking and Finance practice group. Ms. Martorella manages a large team of attorneys and loan processors in the preparation of loan documents and related transactional documents. Her practice primarily revolves around the representation of nationwide mortgage professionals and providing for their transactional documentation needs. She also provides the compliance advice necessary to navigate mortgage lending transactions in all fifty states. Ms. Martorella also leads the firm’s non-judicial foreclosure practice and advises clients on all default related matters.

Ms. Martorella has been recognized by her peers in the legal community as a Super Lawyers® Rising Star from 2018-2020. Only 2.5% of attorneys receive this distinction.

Episode Transcript

Kevin Kim:
Hey everyone. Kevin Kim here once again for Lender Lounge. Today we’ve got a very, very, very special guest, my friend and now partner, Melissa Martorella. A lot of you know her. Thank you for joining us here today, Melissa.

Melissa Martorella:
Of course. Happy to be here.

Kevin Kim:
So of course, of course. We’re going to do this. We’re gonna have fun today. So guys, for our audience, I want everyone to know, first of all, if you haven’t seen the press release, we just made Melissa partner. It’s been a long time coming. She deserved it years ago in my personal opinion. And now she’s my partner and first female, non-founding partner, youngest partner ever. And frankly been my partner in crime or in work as I guess you can call it here at Geraci for what, five years now, five years now?

Melissa Martorella:
Yep.

Kevin Kim:
I’ve been here eight. So it’s a better part of my time here. So definitely someone that I consider a friend, but also look up to in a lot of respects. So today we’re going to have a little bit of fun. First off before we get started, Melissa, why don’t you introduce yourself to our audience who don’t know you, and why don’t you give us some information about where you come from and how you came to be here at Geraci?

Melissa Martorella:
Awesome. Happy to do so. So, like Kevin said I am an attorney here and now partner at Geraci. I manage the firm’s banking and finance department. That was also a new thing this year. Very exciting. But yeah, I guess a little bit more about how I got here. I’m originally from Massachusetts. I made the move to California for law school, decided it would be fun to try to see if I liked it out here as much as I did when I visited friends, decided I loved it and just kind of stuck around. Stumbled upon Geraci in the private lending industry. And it’s been amazing ever since. I’ve gotten to work with Kevin, Nema, Dennis, Anthony, the other partners here. They’ve really mentored me and supported me through this, learned a lot from them, little different things from each one of them. So it’s been a real pleasure to work here and be part of this team.

Kevin Kim:
And this is your first job out of law school too.

Melissa Martorella:
It is.

Kevin Kim:
That’s very rare for attorneys. I was at two different, three different law firms before I joined Geraci. This is your first one, right out of UCI law. I remember.

Melissa Martorella:
I drank the Kool-Aid.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You drank the Kool-Aid, the Geraci juice. And I remember, I still remember the day you got your bar results. And even then I was just like, “This kid’s going to make it here as long as we’re still around.” And we still are. So today’s format is going to be a little bit different for our audience. The ones who watched the episode, where I interviewed my partners, Nema and Anthony, where you do the same format. So I reached out to a couple of Melissa’s clients. And some of her team teammates and ask them to submit some questions.

Kevin Kim:
I have my own, but we really want to highlight these questions because Melissa has a very great relationship with a lot of our clients, one of the things that I was really greatly respected for and they gave us some really interesting ones. And so this is an opportunity for our listeners to really get to know you a little bit better. This may get a little bit personal.

Melissa Martorella:
I’m nervous. I’m nervous.

Kevin Kim:
All right. So let’s just open it up. Let’s just go right into it.

Melissa Martorella:
Oh, gosh.

Kevin Kim:
No, I mean, listen, there’s a couple of things. We’ll start easy. We’ll start business related, right?

Melissa Martorella:
Perfect.

Kevin Kim:
So, this question comes from our friends over at Arixa Capital, Kristina Sawyer. We all love Kristina Sawyer. She’s the best. She sent a question. “If you could train your clients,” which you can, “what would you train them to do differently?” And remember everyone, Melissa works and manages our banking and finance team. So there’s a lot of things that you guys should hear about this because she’s dealing with you guys, your guys’ business on a day-to-day basis.

Melissa Martorella:
That’s a great question. And I would expect nothing less from Christina. She’s amazing. I think what I would probably do, if I could train clients a little better is probably get them to start just thinking early or roping us in early. A lot of times, it doesn’t happen on every deal, but a lot of times people will reach out and be like, “We’ve got to close this tomorrow. Help. Draft the docs,” all of that. And that’s fine. We can do that.

Melissa Martorella:
But oftentimes there are issues that happen there’s entity document issues for borrowers and guarantors, there’s preliminary title, report issues. There’s just problems. And in that rush to close very quickly the clients are freaking out and just trying to push it through and it’s like, “You have to slow down and stop.” And so I guess, I mean, it would be wonderful if they could learn how to review those things too, but that’s really what we’re here for. And so I guess my advice, if I could train clients a little better it’s to reach out sooner because we can oftentimes get ahead of things that otherwise slow down your deals. We can kind of issue spot and manage that upfront. So that would be a huge thing if people just reached out a little earlier.

Kevin Kim:
Right. And practically speaking, if you’re doing a doc request last minute, and you’ve got all these defects in your file and your attorney comes back and tells you, “Hey, these are problematic. These are a no go. You can’t close this deal until these are all resolved.” Well, you just possibly jeopardized your relationship with your borrower because you promised X date and turns out the package was incomplete. So, we don’t want you going forward doing those things. And so, I mean, it’s a win-win for everyone if they got ahead of it a little bit, right?

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. And even if there’s problems too, it’s one of those things like the borrower’s defaulting or something’s going awry in the loan transaction, just reach out, because a lot of times it’s like, if you tell us right away, there’s a very good strategy, versus if it’s something that’s dragged on, you’ve communicated with the borrower a little bit, maybe giving some things away, it gets a little bit harder to get involved or makes the strategy a little bit harder, I should say. So I don’t know. That would be a wonderful thing. Just generally reach out early.

Kevin Kim:
Right. Because unfortunately, we’re in an industry full of entrepreneurs who are oftentimes procrastinators and rightfully so. They’re busy.

Melissa Martorella:
I get it.

Kevin Kim:
I’m the worst. Let me ask you this though. What’s the most kind of common issue, when you get these rush fact patterns, right? Say, “Hey, listen, guys, all of you listeners out there, come to me last minute, all you want, but look out for this, right? We see this all the time and you guys can make your lives and our lives a lot better if we just had this one little problem resolved.

Melissa Martorella:
I think a lot of times it’ll either deal with like title itself, how title is being taken and that’s usually in conjunction with ownership of the property. So it’s either a messed up entity or a weird trust situation, somebody’s died, like that. And so it gets real sketchy, like “Is this the right person that should be signing?” And really making sure that you have the right parties and the right consents needed. That’s always like the biggest one that I think holds documents up is when that happens.

Kevin Kim:
The last thing you want is to have the wrong borrower to set up the trust, right.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, that takes time. And turns out actually it’s Kevin that’s supposed to sign.

Kevin Kim:
Oh, yeah. And then that loan became becomes no good, right.

Melissa Martorella:
Exactly.

Kevin Kim:
Right, right, right. Right. Another question she’s asked, same with Christina as well, “If you were not this amazing attorney,” these are her words. “If you were not this amazing attorney, what would be your next line of work?” A little bit of background, because a lot of people don’t know this about you-

Melissa Martorella:
This is true.

Kevin Kim:
… this isn’t your first career.

Melissa Martorella:
It’s not, but I also don’t know that I would do that career now having done this. So what Kevin is alluding to, so after I went to college, I went to Boston College for undergrad. Didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I very much appreciate education and teaching. And so I actually went to Tufts University and got a degree in teaching. I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Did all of my student teaching got the certificates, did all of that, did that for a little while. And then I was like, “Nope. Original goal. Go back to law school.” That’s what we have to do. And so now I’m here. But that’s it. I don’t know that I would do that. Or if I did, it would be in a different context.

Kevin Kim:
I can see you as a professor somewhere.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, because I don’t think I could teach high school Spanish at this point. I have no desire to do that. But could I do … I mean, it would be really cool to teach some random elective class on what we do. That would be really cool or just general business skills, that kind of stuff. That would be really cool. Also, from working with our clients, I think property management generally is fascinating and just investing in real estate. And so it’s something that I hope that I have more time to learn about, on that end acquisitions and management and that kind of thing outside of the loan context, that would be also very interesting to me. So probably some mesh of all of the above.

Kevin Kim:
So you’d be our clients’ ideal target, become a real estate investor.

Melissa Martorella:
Exactly. Very interesting.

Kevin Kim:
All right. So this question is from, is from Auri Streit from Streit Lending.

Melissa Martorella:
Oh, god.

Kevin Kim:
He made me say this. Auri Streit, honorary partner at Geraci Law Firm. And a good friend and a good friend of the firm and yourself. Well, he actually asked the question about you’ve been in the industry five years. You’ve been really, really entrenched, right. You’ve been working closely with all types of clients for the past five years, very in the weeds and also out there networking with them at the events and conferences and all that great stuff. So looking back, what’s your biggest takeaway from your time working in this, in the private lending industry?

Melissa Martorella:
Biggest takeaway, oh my god.

Kevin Kim:
Very general question. Thanks, Auri.

Melissa Martorella:
You’re fired as honorary Geraci partner, as far as I’m concerned. Actually I really think it sounds stupid, but it’s the general life skills that I’ve gained through this, obviously, going through life and school and all of that, you take out loans. So, you’re doing all this. I never really understood what that meant until I got into this and then thinking about investments and all of that, and just really taking, “Yeah. Okay. We work with lenders who make loans secured by real property for the most part. Cool.” But taking those like investment strategies and applying them to your life about the actual decisions that you’re making to be financially smart, I think I’ve really learned a lot from that. And that’s probably the biggest takeaway that I have is literal life skills that…

Kevin Kim:
It is shocking that when get new people out of law school, they don’t really understand how interest works.

Melissa Martorella:
Right.

Kevin Kim:
Thankfully, in our space, it’s not complicated, it’s fixed interest. We don’t have compounding or anything like that, but still.

Melissa Martorella:
Right. And I really didn’t either. It’s something that, oh, yeah. I have a loan. I had to take out student loans. Everybody’s got loans. I feel like, but you don’t really think about what that means. It’s like, “Oh, I should repay this one. And not this one and why.” Or not, not repay them, but pay this one down faster than the other one and why, or I need to refinance this one because of this reason. Just being strategic about that. It was just, it’s really interesting how much this job has really helped me figure out life skills in addition.

Kevin Kim:
Right. Basic financial skills that we’re supposed to know. I think my generation was probably the last one to learn this in school. We had a class on this when I was in high school, but I think they stopped teaching it in schools.

Melissa Martorella:
I’m going to interrupt. You are in my generation. You are also a millennial.

Kevin Kim:
They taught it to me in school. They taught us the basics, right. This is what interest is. This is balancing a checkbook. We all had checkbooks back then. And it was like very simple financial basics. This is what a savings account is. This is what a retirement account is. But then my brother, even my brother doesn’t really understand it. And I’m really shocked to find that a lot of our new attorneys and they have great legal minds, but and so … Yeah, me too. I mean, I have never seen so many ways to invest in real estate since joining this firm and it’s such a vast, vast spectrum of investments.

Kevin Kim:
All right. So let’s ask some fun questions now because we’ve got some really good ones here. So let’s take a look here. All right. That’s actually a really good one. This is a question from Sarah Epstein over at Rodeo Lending, AKA Westridge Lending, who is someone you’ve always looked up to? You, Melissa always looked up to?

Melissa Martorella:
I mean, I guess this depends on the time of life. It’s a really great question. Of course they asked this. I think probably, I mean, now it’s definitely the other partners here. Especially I’ve worked with Kevin, Kevin is, I mean, you, everybody here listening knows Kevin. His skills with business development, I’ve always very much looked up to that to try to learn that and-

Kevin Kim:
Oh, come on. Come on.

Melissa Martorella:
No, it’s true. And then I have Nema here, who’s honestly one of the smarter people that I’ve ever known and is able to navigate different situations and really understand that clearly and concisely and convey that information to clients. It’s things that … I know that sounds stupid, but you guys are really people that I look up to as far as mentors, but I guess throughout my life, which is a really hard question.

Kevin Kim:
Take your time. We’ve got all day.

Melissa Martorella:
I know. I’m trying to think. I feel like everybody’s got like, “Oh yeah, it’s like my great Uncle Sam” or something. I just, I can’t think of that, but it’s probably just a combination of the people in my life. I even look up to my younger sister. She’s crushing it at med school. She was always a crazy, good athlete. I just look up to that kind of motivation and drive. I have other friends as well, that have just shown that kind of determination. And it’s really more about that rather than a single person.

Kevin Kim:
Well, let’s expand on that because this is something that I’ve always admired about you in that respect, that you actually inquire about things that you’re curious about, right? Like, “I want to know more about that.” A lot of folks that love to learn and want to get out there and do more stuff like that, what’s one of the things they can do? Because you’re very active in doing that. You’re very vocal in doing that, like, “Hey, I want to learn how to do that” or, “Hey, that’s pretty cool. Can you tell me more about that?” I’ve always admired that kind of, I don’t know if the word is drive or willingness to ask, but was there something that in your life that got you to start doing that? Because it’s not easy for a lot of people, right. Whether it’s ego or just lack of curiosity or just shyness, right?

Melissa Martorella:
I think it probably really started in college and there’s no real point when that happened, but I just kind of realized, I was like, “You know what? There is no stupid question.” Of course, there are dumb questions, but at the end of the day, it’s like, if I don’t understand something, even if I’m the only person in that class or that room or whatever, that doesn’t understand it, I’m still going to ask. I don’t know. So it was really a realization that I had to take ownership of what I knew and if I wanted to succeed and be successful, I had to make sure that I truly understood what was happening. And so I guess I just don’t settle with answers. If somebody just told me, “That’s this,” I want to know why it’s that. And if it conflicts with something else that I know, I want to understand how those work together so that it makes sense in my brain. Definitely happened like midway through college where it was like, “Oh, no. I-”

Kevin Kim:
You weren’t satisfied with just the answer they gave you because it didn’t register up here.

Melissa Martorella:
Exactly. There was a disconnect. I had to understand a little bit more in depth and that way I would understand. I even remember in law school, we were in…was in property class when we’re dealing with the rule against perpetuities.

Kevin Kim:
Oh god.

Melissa Martorella:
It was awful. And people were just making an assumption. And I was like, “I don’t understand what the assumption is. And there were, I don’t even remember what the situation was, but as soon as they said it, it was very obvious on its face, but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t thinking of that. And so if I hadn’t known that I never would have remembered it. I never would have understand it. I never would’ve been able to explain it. And so for me, I always want to be able to do those things. And if I can’t take something that you’re teaching me and spit it back out in my own words, then I’m not good enough, or I don’t know it well enough to walk away from you and say, “I’m content with that answer.”

Kevin Kim:
Right. Right. And I think that that … Exactly. That’s exactly it. From a kind of a perspective of trying to learn how to do this more or having that, it’s a legitimate almost curiosity. If it doesn’t make sense to me, I have to keep … It’s a persistence thing too. And a lot of folks, we tell them something and then they just kind of assume or believe it. And they just kind of like, “Okay, it’s fine.” And then they don’t go further because they don’t truly understand it, but they just accept it. So, yeah. That’s one thing that I’ve seen you use in learning new topics, both legal, practice related, but also soft skills. But I see it also with your team members and you push the issue with them. “Do you understand this?” And so, and that’s why you see a lot of young attorneys learn so much at our firm. We have a lot of young attorneys that are from coming out right out of law school. And they get a lot of opportunities to learn from people like you, so.

Melissa Martorella:
I think a lot of that too, I mean, even taking that teaching degree back into play, obviously, I’m not a teacher, but it’s something I learned a lot of skills in that. And one of them, especially teaching high school Spanish, you’re teaching, it’s a Spanish 1 or 2 class. The entire class is in Spanish and so at the end I’d be like, [foreign language 00:19:41], What did I say? And then I’d wait to make sure that they actually understood. And I would sometimes direct to people to be like “Did you actually understand what we’re doing?” And I really think that even now with my team members, if I’m picking up that they’re not, they’re like, “Oh yeah, I get it.” And I’m like, “Do you get it?”

Kevin Kim:
Right.

Melissa Martorella:
Because at the end of the day, you’re better off if you really truly understand. And then it saves time down the line because then you know that, and next time you ask the question it’ll be more complex rather than [inaudible 00:20:14]

Kevin Kim:
Right. Another question from Sarah Epstein. Because you’re from the east coast, what do you miss most about the east coast?

Melissa Martorella:
A lot of things.

Kevin Kim:
You’re going home soon, aren’t you? Aren’t you going home soon?

Melissa Martorella:
Oh, I was supposed to, but you know, COVID.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah.

Melissa Martorella:
I really hope I can next fall. I miss a lot of things about the east coast. I think in my ideal life, I would split time between here and there, because I can’t imagine not living here in California, but I also, I am so homesick, especially, you know I’m from Massachusetts. I lived in Boston for a long time. I really miss that city. I think the biggest thing is probably, I mean, first the seasons. Fall is my favorite season and we get that a little bit here, but not really. And the foliage and the weather, I know it sounds really basic, but I miss that so much. And then also being from Boston, big sports city and that passion and culture of the city, you don’t really get that in Orange County. Like nobody really cares about that stuff versus it’s a very unifying thing back there.

Kevin Kim:
It’s not as city wide here. You have a lot of, you have a lot of bandwagoners. It is a big part of the LA scene, but it’s still not as intense.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, exactly. I don’t know. And I just, I miss that part of being back home. And of course my grandma’s cooking. I miss that quite a bit.

Kevin Kim:
We talk about that a lot. Melissa and I have long conversations about Italian American cuisine and how you can’t find good pasta in California…actually what’s the pasta that you’re looking for? So maybe some of our listeners can help you out here. What’s what’s it called?

Melissa Martorella:
It’s fusili lunghi, so it’s like a long fusili. It’s like two feet long. It’s delicious. My grandma literally sends me a care package every other month and just loads it up with pasta.

Kevin Kim:
Nice. Nice. So for those of you guys who are listening in, if you want to get brownie points with Melissa, you send her that pasta. All right. So let’s have a little fun with this now. So, I actually really like this question. It’s from Christina [inaudible 00:22:40] what energizes you outside of work? Outside of work. So we’re getting a little personal now.

Melissa Martorella:
No, that’s totally fine. So in the last like year and a half or so, and I’ve discovered exercising and working out. It was never something that I did and I didn’t understand it, but as many people know, as you are on your path to a career in partnership or whatever that career goal is, you tend to not take care of yourself. And so, I just felt like about a year and a half ago, I was like, “I really have to take some time for me outside of work to focus on being healthy.” And so, yeah, no, I started working out, did I do HIIT training every morning. I’ve recently started waking up at 4:45 to do that. So that’s great. Wonderful start to my day. I can deadlift my weight now, which is insane. Yeah. That’s really cool.

Kevin Kim:
This is not something that I expected out of you. I can tell you that much. I was like, I figured you were going to maybe go on the treadmill a little bit and then lift a little bit of weights and be done. But all of a sudden I hear about you’re joining like a crazy, it sounds like a CrossFit gym. And I was like “Leave it to Melissa to go from zero to 11.”

Melissa Martorella:
No, it’s cool. And it’s fun. Like I like being the person … It’s probably just because I’ve been a teacher’s pet my entire life, but I like it when the coaches like me. So I have something to prove to …I can do that. I can do that thing. I’m going to be the best.

Kevin Kim:
And those HIIT gyms are a little more social too, right? There’s not a boring by yourself at the gym. Yeah.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. There are classes and all that. So it’s really nice. Yeah. No. So that’s been a really great thing. I literally go every single day, every single morning. Really helps get that mental clarity. It’s one of the few times where I don’t think about work or if I do, it’s almost like I let it go and then afterwards I just have an idea of how to deal with whatever the issue is. And so that’s really cool to kind of have that separation and then be able to come back and with renewed focus.

Kevin Kim:
And you do it in the morning. You’re always a morning workout person?

Melissa Martorella:
Morning person, morning person. Yep. Nope. I can’t do the evening workout. I tried. And I was just like, this is weird. I just didn’t care for it.

Kevin Kim:
Have you ever had a leg day so bad where you can’t walk so far?

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. No. Literally this actually happened last week. We did a crazy leg workout and I was in pain for like four days. It was difficult to move around.

Kevin Kim:
Don’t fall down while you’re walking.

Melissa Martorella:
Worth it. Worth it.

Kevin Kim:
All right. So we got some would you rather questions? I think this is actually interesting to ask because it’s kind of insightful as to how we view our lives and stuff like that. So one question … Oh, this is a good one.

Melissa Martorella:
Who asked this?

Kevin Kim:
This is a really good one. So because this is directly related to our jobs. All right. So would you rather do, this is from, this is from Sarah at Rodeo. Would you rather do all of your loan docs on a typewriter for eternity or never be able to use a cell phone for the rest of the time? This is hard. This is a hard question because… I’m addicted to this thing, right. You can’t even see it. I can’t live without this thing. Terrible.

Melissa Martorella:
That is a great question. Probably not the typewriter, because then I wouldn’t get anything done. Otherwise, you know what, actually I’ll do them on a typewriter if that means I can charge hourly. [inaudible 00:26:30].

Kevin Kim:
Yes. This is why you’re partner.

Melissa Martorella:
No, that would be actually miserable. However, no I think, honestly, I’d probably get rid of the phone. I think there’s other ways to keep in touch and do things. I would figure that out. No. Typewriting my loan documents.

Kevin Kim:
As long as I’ve got a laptop and internet. I mean, you can kind of make it work, right?

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, I’m going to say that I have that ability.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah. She never said, she never excluded laptops, right. So, okay. All right. Oh, we talked about how kind of your working out in the morning and that kind of stuff. And this is from Ari again. A question from Ari was so this is after work. All right. So I know you have some hobbies besides working out, right. Namely Disney fanatic here, people. So how do you blow off steam after your long 14 hour days? And by the way, for the audience, Melissa broke the record a few years ago of number of hours in a week. And so made us all want to just hang our heads in shame.

Melissa Martorella:
Not healthy.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah, we were literally worried she was going to pass out at her desk. But after that long day of work, what do you do after work to blow off steam?

Melissa Martorella:
So, I mean, I live with my boyfriend Mark. We’ve been together for almost five years, so he’s always been a really great source of support and fun, which is nice. He’s a lot more laid back than I am. So it helps me not be so crazy. And we have two little chihuahuas. They’re very sweet. So I like to do things with them, go on walks, go to the dog park and play with them and all of that. But otherwise, yeah, COVID has been sad for this, but we have Disney passes. We used to go in the evenings or on the weekends and can’t do that anymore. And that’s just tragic to me, but otherwise, we’re big movie fans, so Disney movies, the Marvel movies. Really excited, hoping Black Widow will come out soon. Very much looking forward to that for like a year. But yeah, no, I think it’s really a lot of that. I don’t know. I guess maybe five years ago, I probably would have talked about going to bars and restaurants and stuff and I’m just not as much into that. I’ve definitely become a homebody.

Kevin Kim:
Well, haven’t we all because of this?

Melissa Martorella:
Oh, yeah. No, I’m down. Puzzles, games, all of that. I try to even, it’s pretty rare for me to even just like veg out though. I mean I’m down to watch a movie, but it’s not something where I’ll just sit in front of the TV and just watch TV all day. Not just, I can’t do that. So I’m always, even if I’m stuck at home, I’m trying to do something that’s a little bit more mentally engaging, like a puzzle or something to kind of just, I also very much love video games. I’m terrible at playing most of them, but I love watching other people play and helping with strategy and puzzles, again puzzles, big thing. But right now I’m in the middle of, I’m trying to finish the new paper Mario on the switch. And that’s been really fun.

Kevin Kim:
See. You went from like, I’m a boring homebody, but you’re playing video games. See it’s okay. Right. You’re not an old lady yet. You know.

Melissa Martorella:
I’ll take up knitting. Just kidding.

Kevin Kim:
Hey man, it’s a life skill that, you know.

Melissa Martorella:
I couldn’t do it.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah. Well, no, I mean, it’s a life skill. I’ve been trying to figure out, I don’t know, my wife won’t let me do it, but I was like, we have a sewing machine sitting around the house. I’m just like, “I don’t know how to use that thing. And if I knew how to use it, then I could fix my clothes,” which I tear very often. But she won’t let me learn how to use it. She says, “I’ll do it for you.” So, all right. So let’s talk about this. This is a nice, fun question. You and I both love talking about travel. We’ve traveled a lot together to various conferences and places around the US, one time overseas to China together. That was a fun trip. Looking back on all the travel you’ve done in your life, what was your most memorable travel destination, first? And then I’ll ask about other things too.

Melissa Martorella:
Can I have two answers, one work related and one not work related.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah, why not.

Melissa Martorella:
So not work related my junior year of college, that summer between junior and senior year, I lived in Madrid for that summer. That was a phenomenal experience. Just, I mean, getting to know language, culture. I lived with a family, I had a metro pass and made my way around the city. I toured around, saw everything, met people, talked to people. And it was just a wonderful experience to kind of, I mean, it’d be crazy to say like, “Oh yeah, I know all about Spain and everything,” but it was so nice to just get immersed in the culture and just feel-

Kevin Kim:
How long were you living there for?

Melissa Martorella:
About two and a half months.

Kevin Kim:
Wow. That’s a good amount of time.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. No, it was super fun. And like I said, living with a family too, it was really cool to kind of get to understand their routine and how people from Spain lived their lives.

Kevin Kim:
Right. You’re not a tourist. Yeah, exactly.

Melissa Martorella:
It felt like a little bit more personal, I guess. And you know, I just remember the first week, I forgot about the whole siesta thing, and tried to go out to the store and everything was closed.

Kevin Kim:
So for those of us who don’t understand this, give us … Is that really a thing? They actually, everyone just takes a nap in the middle of the day?

Melissa Martorella:
It’s not necessarily a nap, but people they’re just not at work generally. My host mom was home at that time every day and then would go back to work until later in the evening. But then it would also up meaning that dinner was at like 9:00 or 10:00 PM. So it was just like the day just like grew, but it was nice because you had that rest in the middle to kind of get through it…

Kevin Kim:
It was like two workdays then almost. You have a little break in between. All right.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. And obviously those big chain stores and stuff like that, those are open during that time. But if you wanted to hit up like a mom and pop store or a bookstore or a coffee shop, like … up in the air.

Kevin Kim:
Interesting.

Melissa Martorella:
It was really cool though.

Kevin Kim:
Interesting.

Melissa Martorella:
That was definitely one of the most memorable experiences that I’ve had and it was the first time that I had really traveled alone for a long period of time. And that was just from a personal life thing and figuring out what I was comfortable with. But I wasn’t like a huge moment for me. And then work-wise, it was our trip to China dude, that Shanghai trip was a blast. It was so much fun.

Kevin Kim:
That was pretty good one. It was raining the entire time, but it was still dope.

Melissa Martorella:
We had so much fun. I helped Kevin navigate the metro there. He was panicked. It was great.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah. She figured it out. And well, neither of us can read Chinese. And I had been, I had been to China before, I’ve been to Beijing before, but I was just completely just confused.

Melissa Martorella:
[inaudible 00:33:52] and we made it.

Kevin Kim:
We made it. We survived, we survived. And we ended up actually having a really good time with some of our friends in the industry and shout out to Eddie Wilson who invited us out. And it was a really good time. I actually got to see an old friend of mine from law school. He was in Shanghai at the time. So it was, I thought that was a really cool trip. And it was really good. It was really interesting because those of you who guys, with Melissa, you guys know this, those of you who don’t, so it’s a long flight to China. It’s about 12, 13 hour flight to China. So I can knock out on a plane, like no one’s business. I will pass out.

Melissa Martorella:
True.

Kevin Kim:
While we’re taking off.

Melissa Martorella:
That’s the truth.

Kevin Kim:
I was knock out. Right. So basically I slept the whole way. It’s a nighttime flight, Melissa, cannot sleep on planes, so she decided to work for 11 out of 13 hours on the plane.

Melissa Martorella:
I got so much done. Because you don’t have cell service so nobody was calling me, my emails were spotty. So I was like, oh, I can [inaudible 00:34:56] get stuff done. It was great.

Kevin Kim:
And this is why you’re partner, these are the small things of why you’re partner and why I admire you so much because I could never do that.

Melissa Martorella:
Kevin was literally like, “Yo, let’s start drinking.” They came by and had champagne and I was like, “I’m going to work.”

Kevin Kim:
Right, right, right. Terrible example. Terrible. I’m a terrible example. Yeah.

Melissa Martorella:
It was fun.

Kevin Kim:
That was a really great trip. And what’s really cool is, in doing what we do is we get to go all around the country sometimes overseas and see these great, great cities and hang out with our clients. And some of them know the areas better than we do. And I mean, we know Vegas like the back of our hands now because we go so often. But to me it was that trip to Miami. That was fun. That was a good one. And that was good to see it because, Nema went to law school out there, so he knew the area, one of our clients, Kenny is based out there. So he took us out and it was a really, really interesting city and learning more about on how the industry works out there, was just a whole new perspective on things. So I really enjoyed that trip. Like half the firm went, so that was also fun.

Kevin Kim:
All right. So another question is actually, let’s go back to [inaudible 00:36:18] a little bit or industry related questions now, right. So, one of the things that I want to ask you work with a ton of clients, right? So you have all types, right? So, from mom and pop investor type lenders, all the way to, institutional raid, a hundred employees type operations. Of the spectrum of clients that you’ve seen, what attributes would you say make a successful lender to their business? You’ve seen them grow, you’ve seen them scale. You’ve seen them kill it. And they have these certain things about their business. What do you think that is?

Melissa Martorella:
I think it’s a few different things. The first one, especially in light of this pandemic has been an ability to kind of think on your feet and pivot really quickly. That is by far one of the biggest things, because the industry is always changing. What collateral is hot, what the loan type is, that’s hot, that’s always going to be changing. Figuring out how to adapt. I think that’s definitely a big part of it.

Kevin Kim:
Being nimble.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, exactly. Being nimble. The other thing that I think is really important and that, most of the people that I would say that are enduring are the ones that are smart, right. And it’s not to say that all, some of our clients are not smart, but it’s the ones that are really going in and taking a little bit more time, like I said, reaching out earlier, bringing up questions and concerns and not just trying to push a deal through for the sake of getting the deal done. We’ve worked with people like that, and that’s fine, but it tends to be the ones that slow it down a little bit, think about it a little bit more, underwrite it a little bit more. I think those are the ones that tend to have better success. I have several clients that I know that really underwrite their deals well, and have either no defaults or very few defaults and a couple of them, they have hundreds of loans out there and while they may have started foreclosure, they never complete a foreclosure because [inaudible 00:38:23] repays or whatever it is.

Kevin Kim:
Let me ask you about that. So in our industry, it’s fast, right? I mean, closings in our space are, I mean, I would say a couple of days, a day is fast, but a lot of clients … What timeframe is being kind of deliberate, just to give you a general timeframe. If I’m being deliberate with a loan package, is it a week? Is it two weeks? Is it three days?

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. I mean, it’s really hard because I’m not there for that initial time. Right. I’m not there at the beginning of the loan application. I’m just like, at the time where it’s like, “Hey, we’re good. We need docs right now.” And so, for most of those deals, I know that they’re going fast, they’re definitely 10 days or less, if those are all happening in a week or less, a couple of days. But then obviously the larger deals, the bigger commercial deals which we haven’t seen as many of right now just [inaudible 00:39:17] space, but those deals take a longer time to underwrite. You have tenants that you need SNDAs for. You usually have a more complicated title structure and entity structure. There’s a lot more going on in those deals.

Kevin Kim:
Environmental, that’s also a big factor.

Melissa Martorella:
Exactly.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Melissa Martorella:
So there’s a lot more going on in those deals. And I say those are around longer because they’re even on my desk longer, even though I’m still at that, oh my god, we’re ready to go [inaudible 00:39:41] they’re still on my desk for a week or two versus the others that are on my desk for an afternoon.

Kevin Kim:
Would you say, I guess then being prepared then, there’s the nimbleness and also one of your other things is being prepared and being deliberate. It comes to how you’re lending instead of as much of a cowboy approach. So, “Let’s just go, argh.” Yeah.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. And a lot of them will reach out to just be like, “Hey, am I doing this right?” And it’s always good to ask that question. [crosstalk 00:40:12]

Kevin Kim:
That’s a question that we don’t get as often as we’d like, right.

Melissa Martorella:
Exactly. Yeah. Because it’s like, I don’t know, we might be, and that’s a great answer. If I look at what you’ve done and you’re doing it perfect. Awesome. But nine times out of 10, that’s probably not the case. And it’s not to say that you’re not compliant or whatever, but you can always be doing something better. I don’t think there’s ever perfection and there’s always a way to simplify things.,kind of just make that process a little easier, better, faster, whatever it means. And so, yeah.

Kevin Kim:
So for the listeners out there, I think if I sum that up, it’s like, not only just, there’s a level of humility to ask that question right. And being like, “Hey, I may have 10, 20, 30 years of experience, but am I doing this right?” Or “In your perspective, what can I do better in this whole process of delivering the package to you guys for a loan doc order?” And I said it before, we don’t get that question as much as we’d like, and when we get that question, it’s like, we get energized because like, “Oh man, this client’s really willing to listen. And also has that level of humility.” And you get inspired, at least I do, I’m like this person can go very far with this kind of attitude. So that’s really cool.

Kevin Kim:
Let’s go internal now. So I also asked some of your teammates and we got some questions from them. And one question that kind of lines on the way it’s a little more personal, but still not so much, comes from the illustrious Nema he asked who or what inspires you? Very, very broad, very general. Thank you Nema, but inspiration is something that people need, motivation and inspiration.

Melissa Martorella:
The answer to this question that Nema would like to hear is-

Kevin Kim:
Is him. But no. We don’t say those kinds of things here.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, I mean, I guess, but otherwise it’s really this passion for learning and growing. I don’t know. I think about sometimes, if I knew it all, and I worked a 9-5 or whatever, I think I would just literally go crazy. I just don’t know what I would do with myself with that time. It’s probably bad in a lot of ways, but I really define myself by what I do for a living and being successful and great at that and knowing that there’s always a way to improve. And so I don’t know if that’s really inspiration, but it’s something that I’m always striving for.

Kevin Kim:
It’s motivation, right. It’s definitely a motivation.

Melissa Martorella:
Exactly. And so I think for me, that’s always the driving force behind what I do is like, “Okay, I will never be perfect to anything,” but I can certainly do my best to try to get there and to keep pushing.

Kevin Kim:
Do you take it year to year saying, “I want to learn how to do this this year.” Is it like that? Or is it more like, is it just constantly, always just looking to learn new things? Or how do you take it on?

Melissa Martorella:
I think it’s a little bit of both. For example, earlier this year we have a competencies chart that we have on our team to be like, “Hey, do you know how to do this?” to kind of help evaluate which attorneys know how to do what, to then to be like, “Oh, this person needs to be trained on this” or they could train somebody else like that kind of deal. And so I always kind of look at that and there are some things on there three years ago where I was like, “I don’t even know what that is.” And then it gets to a point where I’m like, “Oh, I should learn what that is,” and kind of adding to that. And so being really intentional about, “Oh, I don’t know anything about … I don’t know, broker agreements. Let me go learn about broker agreements. What do I have to know?” And just trying to figure that out. And then it also comes down to sometimes the industry changes or things that are important change. And so I want to learn about that.

Kevin Kim:
Right. I remember you came to me and asked me, “What’s the deal with all these funds and how they work?”

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah.

Kevin Kim:
And it was kind of surprising because I was like, “You don’t need to know this kind of stuff. There’s no reason why you need to know this,” but.

Melissa Martorella:
But it’s helpful to, I think, understand the bigger picture. Yeah, I’m not going to draft a mortgage fund, but it’s really interesting and helpful to like, think about it. It’d be like, oh, I understand why they’re investing this way to also understand the loan origination side of why they’ve taken certain actions or decisions. Even back when for CLOs, I didn’t really know what that was, but I knew a lot of clients where we’re doing that. And so I’d be like, “Hey, what is this?” I just want to know enough, I don’t need to do the thing, but I want to know enough that if people are talking about this, I know what’s going on and I could contribute to that conversation.

Kevin Kim:
Right. And it’s really annoying when you have people who already know it very well and kind of oversimplify it. So you really want to get into it. You want to learn it, right.

Melissa Martorella:
Exactly.

Kevin Kim:
And I’ve learned that about you over the years, because I have the approach of oversimplifying concepts for me to learn them better. And when I know it, well, I just kind of like, “Oh, it’s like this.” And then you get that look on your face. Like, “No, I need to know more about that. That’s not enough information.” And that goes to another good question from Nema, is who knows you more, Nema, Kevin, or Anthony. And by the way, you should see our partner meetings, for our listeners, it’s like the Three Stooges, Nema, me, and Anthony can get a little bit stupid at times.

Melissa Martorella:
And then Dennis is there trying to be like the moderator.

Kevin Kim:
Right, right, right.

Melissa Martorella:
And I’m the newbie.

Kevin Kim:
Well, who knows you more? Because you spend the most time with Nema. So I mean, there’s a high likelihood of annoyance there.

Melissa Martorella:
Oh, yeah. Also, I’m clearly in the office right now. There’s only like three of us here. I really like it to kind of have separations [inaudible 00:46:28] I know a lot of people [inaudible 00:46:29] and I feel badly for them. This has been super beneficial for me to be productive and stay focused during this time. And so I actually, I’m working in Nema’s office just to save space and energy. I feel like, so we don’t have to [inaudible 00:46:45] all that nonsense in the other building. There are times where we want to kill each other. And it’s amazing that a murder hasn’t [crosstalk 00:46:53]

Kevin Kim:
I don’t understand why you do it. I don’t know. I still don’t understand. Because you could still sit in this room. We could, you could sit with-

Melissa Martorella:
It’s lonely because there’s nobody here.

Kevin Kim:
This is true.

Melissa Martorella:
It’s us and [crosstalk 00:47:04]

Kevin Kim:
It’s a ghost town. For our audience out there. We have two buildings, both are about 5,000 square feet-ish, 6,000 square feet-ish. They’re empty. It’s just Melissa, Nema, and Peg. The three of them. That’s it?

Melissa Martorella:
So it’s like, I don’t want to be all by myself. It’s creepy. There’s nobody here. I don’t know. There’s weird noises in the building and I’m like, “No, I just want to be …”

Kevin Kim:
I get that. I get that. But I’m sure it can be a lot.

Melissa Martorella:
But it’s also, the benefit of it is yes, we get on each other’s nerves and we yell at each other a lot. However, I get to learn a lot too, because obviously, he’s years ahead of me in practice. I listen in on his calls and things that he’s doing that I know that he wasn’t doing five years ago when he was at my skill level, right. And so it’s like, “Oh, this is a look ahead. This is what I have to look forward to, to aspire to. These are the things that I need to learn next” and kind of always getting that. And so for me that’s also been really helpful to see that. So he probably annoys me the most.

Kevin Kim:
But there you go, Nema. There you go. You win.

Melissa Martorella:
Wouldn’t be here without him.

Kevin Kim:
That’s interesting, to talk about though. Because one of the things that I always tell folks in any industry, I guess you can call it, is have a mentor, have someone who can teach you and take an interest. And Nema’s definitely been there for you. You worked directly with him and now you’re taking over his department and you’re learning from him. But looking forward into the future, and that’s been part of your growth, looking forward into the future for the law firm and for the organization as a whole, for Geraci, what would you like to see us do to grow even further and where do you see us going? Because we’ve grown, we’ve shrank, we’ve grown again. We had the pandemic. This firm is so dynamic over the years, and you’ve been instrumental in helping us grow, from a literally a local kind of four or five attorney group to now we are, I don’t even know how many people we have under our flag now, but where do you see us going? Where do you want us to go?

Melissa Martorella:
It’s a great question. I would like to, I mean, obviously expand our team’s reach a little bit more. There are those clients that know of us, should be probably using us, but are stuck doing whatever the thing is that they’ve currently got going on for their compliance and docs. And I would like to always keep expanding on that end. The thing that I think allowed our team in particular to be very successful was our automation efforts for [inaudible 00:49:56] without that software and all the work that we put into that to get that even working we wouldn’t be able to do what we [inaudible 00:50:07] so I would like to see more of that firm-wide. I know that, Kevin, your team is doing that a little bit and I just remember being so resistant at first when we started implementing [crosstalk 00:50:22]

Kevin Kim:
Yeah, we were worried about robots taking our jobs. We still are.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah. But at the end of the day, it’s like, “Oh no, this automation is just making it so that I can do more things and learn more things and spend more time doing cool things rather than the rote work.” And I would really like to see that more firm-wide because I really think if you can do that, I think it’s easier to grow and expand because then rather than only focusing on doing that work, you can also spend a little bit more time building a better template, getting more clients, that kind of thing. And so I’d really like to see that more on like a firm-wide level. Yeah. I think that’s the biggest thing that I’d like to see.

Kevin Kim:
And where do you want to go over the next few years? This is a good question. Now you have a new title, been promoted. You’re managing a whole department right now. Not just department head, but also partner. So where would you like to go and where do you want to go with going forward? I mean, there’s a lot of things that we’re going to be doing over the next few years. What do you, Melissa, want to be doing?

Melissa Martorella:
I love working with the clients that I work with. I’ve handed relationships off to other people in certain areas, but there are the few and they know who they are that I’ve retained on because I just simply love working with them. But I would like it to be at a point where I have more of an ability to [inaudible 00:51:49] new team members on them, only because I think that’s a benefit to everybody if there’s more people that know how to [inaudible 00:51:57] client and also really teaching more about client service to the younger attorneys, I think that’s a huge part of what’s made me successful is knowing how to understand when there’s urgency, picking that up, and just really like doing your all for your client. That’s a thing that you don’t learn in law school. That just generally [crosstalk 00:52:21]

Kevin Kim:
You learn the opposite law school, you learn the opposite.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Martorella:
And it’s like no, our clients, that’s the most important thing. At the end of the day, you just got to do what you got to do to get them happy and make sure that the job gets done for them so it’s really, to me, I’d like to do a little bit more with that and really teach that to our younger attorneys, because I think that’s the number one skill that you need to be successful and I’d like to be more instrumental on that.

Kevin Kim:
Right. And a lot of our clients, it’s kind of funny because when you think about customer service, it’s not … Law school teaches you to think like a lawyer and that’s really about it. You’re not taught customer service. You’re not taught business skills, you’re not taught anything. And so it’s very frustrating to see law students not understand they are paying money to us for a service.

Melissa Martorella:
And without them, we wouldn’t have a job.

Kevin Kim:
Exactly. And it’s simple, it’s simple logic, right. But it’s-

Melissa Martorella:
It’s lost on a lot of people and it’s true. Because I didn’t learn that in law school either, but I learned it thankfully, picked up on that very quickly here, but it’s those kinds of soft skills [inaudible 00:53:32] I really want to teach more people and kind of get that point across.

Kevin Kim:
Absolutely. I mean, it’s the kind of like a fundamental pillar at our firm and I don’t know about you, but why I’ve stuck around for so long. There’s no law firm like this in that sense, the amount of prioritization over customer service, it doesn’t exist anywhere else. I’d never seen it.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, I think I would honestly fail at a traditional law school or not law school, law firm, the ones where it’s like, “Oh, you have to go through this person to talk to that client. You can’t even email that client. You can’t even be CC’d on the email to the client.” I just would die. I was chomping at the bit when I started to be like, I can do this, I can talk to them, are these emails okay? Am I doing something stupid? No? Okay. Let me at them. I want to be in there talking to people and getting to know people, to be through layers of security before you get to a client [crosstalk 00:54:31]

Kevin Kim:
Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s at the end of the day, it’s red tape, right?

Melissa Martorella:
Right.

Kevin Kim:
And bureaucracy and I hate that too. And we’ve never been asked this question before by clients, but they kind of expect it to be that way, but then they’re surprised when they see an attorney reach out directly and I’m not an, or you’re not on the email and I’ve gotten comments once in a while, and I tell them that it doesn’t matter who brought you to the law firm, the entire law firm is your resource.

Melissa Martorella:
Right.

Kevin Kim:
And yeah, that was probably the biggest reason why I’ve been around for so long. I can’t leave. I just, I love that about our firm.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah.

Kevin Kim:
Let’s kind of go into something a little more fun and then I want your thoughts on kind of the industry a little bit as a close, but a little bit more about you. So, first of all, because this is the kind of foundation, so you will soon be a homeowner I’m hearing, right, and you’re making big strides in life. You got a big promotion. For those of you out there who don’t know she’s drives a fancy red sports car. Now you’re going to be a homeowner. For Melissa in the next few years, what are the things that you want to be? What do you want to achieve? As a person what do you want to be doing?

Melissa Martorella:
I know it’s crazy because I thought the next big thing would be buying the house in a couple of years.

Kevin Kim:
And you just did it [crosstalk 00:56:03] In California by the way, which is freaking expensive. But yeah.

Melissa Martorella:
It’s really hard to say exactly because like I said, I thought that would be the next big thing to look forward to. I really want to potentially do something where I can, especially with my grandparents, they were really the biggest support in my life growing up. And now they’re older now. And it would be nice to either do something to feel like I’ve given back to them a little bit and what between seeing them more and maybe like having them come out here for an extended period of time and building something so that, that happens smoothly. I mean, it’s not a big event, like buying a car or a house, but it’s something that I very much want to.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah, but that’s a kind of a big thing, right? Taking care of, creating a situation where you can take care of your family is a big deal. That’s something that, young attorneys, you’re still a young attorney. I’m still a young attorney. We don’t usually think about, until way later in life. So that’s really cool. No extra fancy sports car. No Lambo.

Melissa Martorella:
The new Corvette is beautiful. So maybe that, and I really liked the M8 but you know, my little [inaudible 00:57:21] two series will have to do for now.

Kevin Kim:
By the way, for the audience, for the listeners, Melissa is one crazy driver. I was shocked. I was like, “You’re doing what?” Nema and I want to bring this up. So I might as well bring it up. Can you describe the way you drive for us out there? This is a point of contention amongst a lot of us, so I think you’re an aggressive driver. Nema thinks you’re an angry driver. Which one is it?

Melissa Martorella:
It’s only angry if people don’t move out of my way. No, I think I’m just aggressive. I’m not content. I don’t understand how people are just content to sit there and just [inaudible 00:58:06] like drive. I’m like, “We have places to go and things to do. [inaudible 00:58:11] get done.”

Kevin Kim:
Now your car can get there faster.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, No, and it’s great. I live in Rancho, Santa Margarita. And so for people that don’t know, I basically take the toll road in every day and there’s this one corner it’s the best [inaudible 00:58:27] my day. But if I don’t get to do that corner, the way that I want to, because of terrible divers, it can ruin my mornings. No, I think I’m just aggressive. I don’t think I’m angry.

Kevin Kim:
That’s okay. And you can do it. You have the car to do it. It’s built for it.

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, and it’s great.

Kevin Kim:
It’s all good. All right. So as a kind of a closing segment, I kind of want to, I want you to break out your crystal ball because you’ve been working on this for five years now. You’ve seen it evolve over the past five years. We’ve told you horror stories of the last recession as it pertains to our industry. You’ve seen this pandemic and its effect on the industry. So break out your crystal ball for our listeners. Where do you see our industry headed in the next year specifically?

Melissa Martorella:
Yeah, I think it’s going to be even more a focus on the residential market and obviously, business purpose, investment property, that kind of thing. We saw that a lot change during the pandemic. Commercial spaces either not being used or it’s being used for limited purposes. So those kinds of loans are really going down. So I think it’ll be more on the rent or I guess rental property, but investment property side as far as residential properties. But I would be really interested to see what happens with commercial because obviously at some point, not that the pandemic just like ends, but we’ll be back to work, there’s a vaccine rolling out all of that. At some point people will be using commercial space again, but I’m curious to see what that looks like, because I think at this point, most of us have figured out how to run a business remotely with people working at home. I think we’ve figured out that online shopping is great. So it’s going to be really interesting to see what that looks like when everything opens back up and you can really utilize that space again.

Melissa Martorella:
I don’t know. I think that’s like the next big question and being creative with that and seeing what happens. And then I would assume whatever the owners of those properties are doing to kind of pivot and change their use, I would hope that lenders are also very quick to adapt, to deal with that on their end. And I’m just really excited to see what that looks like and how we can help them on that side.

Kevin Kim:
Right. And I think that’s one of the things that we’ve heard of. I was on a podcast with some folks in the Carolinas and there was a gentleman there discussing this is very early on in the pandemic and they had pivoted strategies to taking, what was it? Three-star, corporate or business travel hotels and turning them into condos and apartments and that kind of stuff.

Melissa Martorella:
Oh, interesting.

Kevin Kim:
And it’s a really interesting move and also office to residential conversion. Considering, I’m sure a lot of people are revisiting their need for an office. Those in the audience, this is not real, I’m in my house and she’s at our office, but we’re contemplating it too. We’re contemplating it too.

Melissa Martorella:
Downsizing, yeah.

Kevin Kim:
Yeah. We don’t need all the space that we have right now. So it’s interesting to see. That’s a very good perspective on it because where that’s going ahead is a big question mark, you’re right. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know what? All we can do is wait and see, but hopefully clients stay nimble and get prepared.

Melissa Martorella:
Yes.

Kevin Kim:
Right. And we can help them from there. So. All right, Melissa. Well, I think that’s all the time we have for today. Once again, everyone, thank you for listening. Thank you Melissa, for joining us today. And for all of you listeners out there, please like, join, subscribe, smash that like button for us, and this podcast will be available on all platforms to the next time for Lenders Lounge. And this was a great episode. Thank you Melissa, once again. And we’ll be coming to you with another episode soon. Thank you.

Melissa Martorella:
Thanks, Kevin. Thanks everyone.