CEO Streamline Funding
How many years have you been in Private Lending and why did you enter this field?
I have been in the industry for nearly 14 years. I entered out of necessity, not out of desire. In 2008, like many in the lending industry, I found myself out of a job and scrambling for the next opportunity. How I entered the space was serendipitous because I was not trying to. However, I am happy I did as today it is part of who I am.
Where did you get your start?
There was once a time when I was a conventional lender. 2008 and the accompanying Great Recession changed that career path almost overnight. In searching for a way to satisfy my client’s financing needs, I stumbled across “hard money” in a Google search. When I learned that hard money had the luxury of making its own lending decisions, I was hooked. While pitching a loan, I was thrown a curve ball when the conversation pivoted to “hey, you want a job?” I accepted the offer, and 13 years later, I am still here. Today, I am the CEO of the firm and could not have written a better script.
What do you do for your firm? How do your contributions affect your company at large?
When people ask me what I do, I tell them I obsess. I obsess over people, culture, numbers, and the market. That alone keeps me occupied, but I also have a job to push for the growth of people, capital, and the company. My title is CEO, and my role is that of the face and voice of the organization. But my responsibility is to the success of the firm and our stakeholders. I have contributed a lot to the firm during my tenure. However, I believe my biggest contributions are still to come. On our quest to be the largest and best boutique private lending firm in the country, one day I hope to see all those who have contributed to our accomplishments successfully retire from the industry and make room for a new class to carry the torch.
How have you seen your company grow in spite of or because of current market conditions?
The growth we have seen has been an opportunity. There is more opportunity to capture business from underserved segments of the markets now than ever before. At year-end, we will have more loan production than last year or any year in our history. That growth was spurred by product and market innovation and not by what we were doing over the last few years on this epic run that we have been on since Wall Street entered our space.
What are some of your goals for 2022 and beyond?
While the number has changed each year we grow, our goals have not. We have always striven to be the best. More specifically, we aim to be the biggest and best boutique private money lender in the nation. Our mantra is “we help builders grow.” We will achieve this when we can provide our clients with the resources to become the most successful boutique investors and homebuilders in the nation. With making the client the focus, the goal is easily attainable. Our goal is to be the first-choice lender for the best in the business.
What does success look like for you?
Seeing people grow is what drives me. Therefore, I associate success with the growth of those around me.
What is something most people don’t know about you or your company?
We wrote our first loan in 2002 out of the trunk of a 1998 Toyota Corolla.
What steps are you or your company taking today to make an impact on the industry?
The private lending industry has evolved a lot since Streamline Funding was founded in 2002. The institutionalization of our industry has become the norm, so my response here may seem a little countercultural. I strive to continue to push that private lending remains in the hands of local experts and advisors, not national, generalist investors. We are looking to keep a segment of the industry boutique because we believe boutique is more meaningful to the client and to the community.
What piece of advice did you personally receive early in your career that has helped shape decisions you’ve made?
I have had the good fortune of investing my personal funds into many different deals. However, when I first started out, I did not. I started as a lender thinking about commissions more than anything else. Then, I met one of the investors whose money we were lending and ultimately putting at risk. She was my business partner’s mom. Whether I received advice verbally or it just dawned on me, I always remember the statement, “would you invest your mother’s money into this deal?” If the answer is yes, it is almost always a good deal. If the answer is no, it is almost always a bad deal. I still think about this when making a loan decision, and it has been at the forefront of my mind for the last 13 years.
Tell us about a person or organization you admire. How have they made an important impact on you, the industry, or the world?
I admire my clients. They are the salt of the Earth and the lifeblood of my business. Every one of my clients puts it all on the line to grow their investments, and I never take that for granted. I make it a point to celebrate and acknowledge this, as each of them are entrepreneurs who make the world go round.
Are you involved in any associations, networking groups, or the like that have influenced your career path?
I am involved in many different things, from associations to networking groups, to masterminds to teams. They all serve their purpose and provide me value. I like to think I deliver value to those around me in each of those groups. However, several years ago, I was fortunate to learn about the American Association of Private Lenders. The resources there were instantly meaningful to me. The people that I have met there, including many at Geraci, have been influential to me and my career path. They all strive for the same thing I do – growth.
If you had a clean slate to start over and do anything you wanted to do, what would that be?
This is a loaded question, but a simple one for me. I would focus on helping a few people achieve their wildest dreams instead of helping a bunch of people solve a financing problem.
What is the best advice you could give someone thinking about making a leap into Private Lending?
Keep it simple, stupid.