Briana Hildt, Founder and CEO at Cardinal Capital Group (CCG), is in the business of creation. She pushes the boundaries of innovation and redefines the status quo, so it is only fitting that her favorite quote is a repurposed iteration of Theodore Roosevelt’s iconic “Man in the Arena” speech that is framed proudly in her office. In her case, just as with many powerful women who have and will continue to revolutionize all professions, “…the credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends herself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if she fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” It is no secret going above and beyond is often the single most influential differentiating factor when it comes to succeeding or falling just short—in both life and business.
Hildt is certainly no stranger to this type of hard work. With over $650 million in loans funded since 2020, representing a 200% growth rate, Hildt and the rest of the CCG team made it their goal to establish a company premised on transparency, communication, and reliability. When it comes to the financial industry, numbers do not lie. All metrics indicate that CCG has decisively accomplished their mission and are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Originate Report recently had the privilege of sitting down with Hildt to discuss her journey to the top in the real estate lending industry, chat about the impressive success of Cardinal Capital Group, and what she foresees will be the most pressing issues in the immediate future for the industry.
Breaking the mold
Every career arc is different, influenced by internal and external factors that dictate an individual’s professional journey. Although this certainly is not a groundbreaking observation, it is worth noting when someone defies the status quo and defies conventional trends to accomplish something truly special, particularly in industries with long-held norms and customs, such as the historically male-dominated financial lending sector.
Hildt’s work ethic instilled in her from a young age. Growing up in rural Massachusetts to an entrepreneurial-minded father that helped shape her business savviness and a strong-minded mother who taught her to never take no for an answer, she learned early on the fundamental values of resilience and self-confidence which would prove to be essential as she mastered the art of real estate lending and successfully running her own thriving company. After graduating from the University of New Haven, Hildt relocated to California in 2010 to fulfill her dreams of breaking into the real estate industry. Once she achieved early success working with distressed properties in the foreclosure space, she developed an interest the private money lending industry as a means of providing vital working capital to critically underserved real estate investors and developers.
Leveraging her experience and vast network garnered during her time in the distress marketplace, Hildt decided to move back to the East Coast and launch Cardinal Capital Group. With a knack for crafting innovative funding solutions for even the most challenging real estate projects, she has consistently built a proven track record of delivering outstanding results for her clients.
At no point in her career has Hildt let the fact that she is a woman inhibit her from actively pursuing her professional goals—in fact, she has used it to her advantage. Hildt has always had a knack for developing close working relationships with her clients built upon a mutual investment in one another’s long-term success. Her decision to name her business Cardinal Capital is symbolic of the devotion a cardinal represents and indicative of her belief in the intrinsic power of devotion. Whether it is dedicating endless hours and late nights to close deals in a matter of days or out-competing multinational banks with hundreds of employees, devotion is what sets CCG apart from a standard lender, and the company has acquired a reputation for delivering reliable results day in and day out. “I used to go to lending conferences that would have 500 male attendees and only five fellow women,” recalls Hildt. “I never let that gender imbalance stop me or intimidate me. I wanted to change the trajectory of the lending industry and see what a woman could do in a ‘man’s world.’”
Building a culture of client-centered lending
The lending industry has grown into an extremely competitive industry. It takes something different to stand out from the pack, and CCG has done just that.
With nearly three decades of collective industry experience, the CCG team prides itself in delivering individually tailored loan products geared to meet the needs of a nationwide client-base. CCG offers a broad range of loan products and rates, starting with rates as low as 7.99%. Similarly, CCG has the requisite insight and liquidity to handle optimal volume from top-tier developers while educating and assisting newer investors to achieve their goals. No venture is too complex or ambitious for the experts at CCG, whose approach is to be a financial partner to their clients, not just your average private money lender.
CCG’s lending results speak volumes for the effectiveness of their client-centered corporate culture. They have had exactly zero foreclosures on the loans they have serviced, an accomplishment that is especially impressive given the pandemic-related challenges lenders have had to contend with for the past two years.
Flexibility pays dividends in a dynamic marketplace
It is somewhat of an understatement to say that the past few years have been atypical—not just within the real estate space but in all facets of life. COVID-19 and the subsequent economic fallout have resulted in a marketplace characterized by widespread uncertainty and record-setting volatility. Lenders, like every other business, have been forced to adapt to these fluctuations to remain viable and respond to the constantly evolving needs of their client bases. While that is undoubtedly easier said than done, CCG has managed to not only sustain its lending operations but to grow and scale its business exponentially.
What is the secret behind their success? In a word: Flexibility. With labor shortages and supply chain issues plaguing the construction industry, Hildt quickly realized that her clients needed viable capital solutions to help them mitigate risk and financially navigate unpredictable project timelines impacted by delays and setbacks. Accordingly, CCG emphasized working with its client to develop bridge financing and flexible repayment schedules to keep projects on track.
CCG’s enviable degree of responsiveness in emergencies is what keeps clients coming back to them for all their lending needs. With a comprehensive lineup of competitive loan programs specifically geared to meet the unique requirements of investors looking to quickly close a fix-and-flip, buy-and-hold, Crefinance, new construction, or commercial transaction, CCG completes these programs in a fraction of the time and without the administrative hassle of a traditional bank.