In a world dominated by cutting-edge technologies and headline-grabbing start-ups, it can be easy to lose sight of the key factors that have produced success for generations. That is certainly not to say that new ideas and concepts are not pertinent—they definitely have a big role to play in any organization—but they are essentially useless if not paired with proper corporate values and a unifying mission to drive long-term success.
FUTURES Financial is a private lender that has successfully fused innovative concepts with a strong organizational identity, and the results speak for themselves. With 100% historical capital returns in over ten markets across the country, FUTURES Financial has burst on the private lending scene to become one of the go-to capital providers for real estate investors. Originate Report recently had the chance to sit down with co-founders Kendra Rommel and David Rosenberg to get an insider’s view of how the duo have created a culture premised on a relentless pursuit of quality in all aspects of the lending process.
Innovation Starts from Within
The FUTURES Financial vision is built around a foundational concept that requires a collective buy-in from all of its employees: impact. “In order to consistently create impact, we must listen to and understand what people need. Prior to making our first hire, David and I asked each prospective team member what they wanted out of their career both professionally and personally,” details Kendra. “We are passionate about making certain FUTURES Financial can support each of its family members not just as an employee but as a person. Understanding what our team members’ respective passions, objectives, and goals are allows us to provide the necessary resources, accountability, and mentorship to set them up for success in the long-term.”
David and Kendra definitely practice what they preach—going the extra mile to ensure their employees all feel appreciated and are united in their collective mission to provide value to their customers. “Each team member has regular check-ins that enable each of us to assess their fulfillment and satisfaction with their role, overall contribution, and responsibilities in the organization,” says Kendra. “David and I remind our family that each of us has unique talents and skills that are crucial to FUTURES Financial being best-in-class and need everyone’s contributions to do so. Our company is run and owned by our team.”
Successfully integrating technology into business operations while maintaining adequate human interaction for an optimal client experience is a challenging balancing game. Sacrificing efficiency for simplicity or vice versa can have a detrimental impact on the quality of a company’s end-product regardless of the industry they are aligned with. Striking the perfect balance that leverages the convenience of technology-enabled applications and the personalized attention to every customer is a task FUTURES Financial is always pursuing.
“You would think after over eight years or more of ‘fintech’ talk, we would have launched a lending operation with one person in a broom closet that could effectively close $1 billion per year—but that is not the case,” Kendra muses. “We have yet to find the perfect end-to-end system for the private sector, but FUTURES Financial has all systems in place for borrowers, sponsors, developers and brokers to apply, track, close, and manage the servicing of their files online. We are actively working with technology partners to support the needs of our users today and, more importantly, to understand our demands and goals for a more efficient lending and investing experience with each new day. FUTURES Financial is excited about the ways new and creative tech will eliminate the inefficiencies in our space—but we realize that doing so will take the right connections, tons of patience and the willingness to tackle problems on a daily basis, consistently and persistently.”
An organization is inevitably defined by its people—a simple fact of life that is not lost on David and Kendra. “FUTURES Financial is unique because of who we are as a team, how we are capitalized, the way in which we approach each deal, and the level of service we maintain with our clients from inquiry to servicing,” states David.
Experience definitely came into play as the duo crafted their corporate structure. “David and I have more than 25 years of collective mortgage lending, asset management, construction/development, and servicing experience,” notes Kendra. “Between the two of us, we have closed over 700 transactions and $1 billion in volume. Our team was intentionally created with more than 15 years in the mortgage industry, and they all bring varying skillsets to the table that we leverage to deliver results to our client base.”
Change spurs growth. Businesses either adapt to the times or they die an early death. With the ever-changing dynamics in the lending space, FUTURES Financial recognizes their workflow must be aligned with their operational environment to yield the best outcomes.
“With the changing times, FUTURES Financial assesses each deal not just to originate but to help ensure the success of the borrower and our investors,” observes Kendra. “This effectively translates into making sure our clients get the best deals in terms of value and total cost basis, that their strategy is well-defined and viable, that we have collectively acted in good partnership by explaining and hedging the risks associated with leverage and pricing, and that we have adequately vetted their exit strategies.”
“FUTURES Financial works as a team from the minute a client has decided to trust us as their lending partner,” explains David. “Whether it is a returned phone call, email, text, or DM, our clients will not go unanswered or unvalued. Our team understands that our company’s success is only as good as how we treat people by execution and communication. If we fail to execute or communicate, we fail to retain or attract any partners on the front or back side of the business. Our credibility is what has made us a profitable business since day one.”
Control What Matters, Results Will Follow
A long-standing hallmark of the private lending industry is its inherently competitive environment. Kendra and her colleagues at FUTURES Financial, however, are not letting that aspect influence their day-to-day operations. “We don’t necessarily work to stay ahead of the competition. What we actually do is work hard to stay in our own lanes, the lanes where we best execute for sustainable and scalable growth,” notes Kendra. “Of course, we stay actively engaged on pertinent market data, but constantly worrying about what the competition is up to would be a thief to our long-term success. With decades of combined industry experience, we have grown to appreciate and respect so many that others would consider our ‘competitors’ to the point where we actually now consider them friends and resources.”
A significant component to success in private lending is staying relevant to customers. That translates into understanding their needs and developing innovative and accessible financial solutions to help them achieve their goals. That is why FUTURES Financial strives to maintain open lines of communication with their clients to solicit useful input that helps them deliver the products that will produce results. “FUTURES Financials remains ‘in touch’ with all clients on all sides of real estate transactions,” says David. “People need to feel heard and valued in order to create the best user experience possible. When we ask and listen, we have the tools to improve our services and ensure all of our clients have a positive experience working with us. We are confident that we have launched a dynamic and talented organization that will enhance lives and command a new lens through which people see all things pertaining to real estate lending and investing.”
Eyes on the Horizon: Planning for the Future
When it comes to the lending industry, the stark reality is that no one has a proverbial crystal ball, making it essential to have the organizational flexibility and insight to pivot quickly to accommodate emergent trends and constantly shifting market dynamics. The FUTURES Financial team is confident that focusing on the basics and consistently optimizing existing workflows in terms of efficiency and quality will ultimately translate to success regardless of external pressures and market fluctuations. “We feel confident that private lending is a great space to be in both today and the future. True private capital, a solid balance sheet, coupled with a strong assets and risk-adjusted underwriting protocol generate results,” observes Kendra. “Capital is only good when it moves. The private sector does a fantastic job doing just that whether by private lending, private equity, or NPL/PL acquisitions, etc.”
The past two years have been anything but predictable as the world continues to adjust amidst the fallout of the pandemic. While some degree of stability has crept back into the real estate and lending sectors, there is still some uncertainty floating around as to where things are headed in the coming months. Even in the event that the economy takes a turn for the worse, there is still room to create opportunities in the lending space and generate revenue. “As much as people love smooth waters, it is the rough seas that create opportunity,” says David. “Opportunity today versus even one month ago looks different and requires you to really keep your eyes open but it is out there—and will continue to be—for those that have the experience and resources to chase it down.”