Originate Report - April 2021

Page 26


Private Lending ‘Born of Innovation’



Innovative Customer Service


Pioneering Digital Asset Assurance




Creating a Culture



Innovative Companies

6 Temple View Capital: Private Lending ‘Born of Innovation’

Contributing Writer for Originate

20 The CIVIC Difference: Institutional Backing,

Private Money Strategic Edge

Contributing Writer for Originate Report

24 Renovo Financial: Innovative Customer Service

Contributing Writer for Originate Report

30 Legacy Group Capital: Creating a Culture of Trusted Partnerships

Contributing Writer for Originate Report

38 Builders Capital: What’s in the Secret Sauce?


Innovative Products

14 Armanino LLP: Pioneering Digital Asset Assurance

Contributing Writer for Originate Report

26 Mortgage Automator: Revolutionizing the Lending Industry One Click at a Time

for Originate

40 The Machines Are Going to Put You Out of Business: Automate or Die

Innovative Ideas

32 Soft Money: Is It the New Hard Money?

Industry Insiders

16 Private Lending Titans

Peter Steigleder, Fidelity Mortgage Lenders, Inc.

34 Industry Spotlight

Beth Flynn, Flynn Family Lending

April 2021 Originate Report 3 APRIL 2021 CONTENTS 6 16 34 24 30
4 For More Information About Our Conferences & Events: Ruby Keys • (949)379-2600 • r.keys@geracillp.com • https://geracicon.com/ The ® Your Ultimate Lending Platform THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

CEO Geraci LLP



Senior Vice President, Marketing & Media



Lead Graphic Designer LYNDA HIGHT



Emily Rappleye • Charles Peckman

Peter Steigleder • Beth Flynn

Mark Dewyea • Michael Mikhail Nema Daghbandan


MARK HANF President, Pacific Private Money

ORIGINATE WEBSITE www.originate.report

GERACI LAW FIRM www.geracilawfirm.com

MEDIA WEBSITE www.geracimediagroup.com

CONFERENCE WEBSITE www.geracicon.com

Welcome to the April Issue of Originate Report!

“Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” –Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi

With an entrepreneurial spirit, the private lending industry caters to innovation. It plays a central role creating significant new value that inherently changes the way people behave, do business, or address a problem.

Originate Report approached a cross-section of our industry –residential and commercial lenders and service providers – to discuss how innovation has shaped their companies and, in turn, hope to shape the industry as a whole. It is these innovators that serve as the catalyst for our annual Innovate conference and are the subjects of this issue.

Temple View Capital, our April cover story, has embraced the idea of innovation since its inception. In fact, founder and principal Michael Niccolini indicated that his company formed “by investors, for investors” was designed to “solve problems that (they) know intimately well from having been in the business for more than a decade.” Acknowledging that there are a variety of answers to the same problem, the team at Temple View ensures that they keep the lines of communication open and consistently “encourages people to challenge assumptions” which ultimately leads to unique solutions to further the firm’s goals. In this case, it’s focusing solely on residential 1-4 unit properties and filling any need that they see in the investment community.

Don’t miss Temple View Capital’s own COO, Grace Soueidan, for her panel discussing the SFR Market in 2021 at Geraci Media’s Innovate Conference taking place April 15-16th in Newport Beach where we focus on the up-and-coming trends shaping our industry.

At Originate Report, we are currently searching for the rockstar women who are helping to shape the industry for our June issue: The Women of Our Industry. Do you know anyone you think should be featured? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

April 2021 Originate Report 5
Till Next Month…
Marketing & Media
Lesley www.originate.report
Letter from the Editor


Innovation in all its forms — from incremental improvements to groundbreaking transformations — begins with an experiment gone right. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said, “Our success is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.” It comes as no surprise then that Temple View Capital Funding, a Bethesda, Maryland-based specialized private-lending firm

with innovation at its core, began with an experiment.

In the mid-aughts, the firm’s four founders — Michael Niccolini, Steven Trowern, Lara George and Gerardo Botello — were working together at MCM Capital, an $8 billion distressed asset management company they built from the ground up. They were buying mortgage debt from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to modify loans and help families stay in their homes. In the process, they ended up owning and selling thousands of real estate-owned properties out of the fund. They realized their REO property buyers needed more financing options, so they started to dabble in lending. When those early experiments worked, they doubled down and established Temple View

(Left to right) Michael Niccolini, Steven Trowern Two of the Co-Founders and Partners of Temple View Capital

Capital in 2007 as a platform to build and grow investor-focused loan programs.

try to solve problems that we know intimately well from having been in the business for more than a decade.”

Temple View Capital is one of three businesses in the MCM Capital family, which also includes Alta Realty, a full-service sales brokerage and REO management firm. However, Temple View is the fifth endeavor with MCM Capital DNA. “Since we started MCM Capital, the distressed debt fund, we have either reinvented or created new endeavors along the way four or five times. I think if you can characterize this company, it is a perpetual exercise in entrepreneurship,” said Steven Trowern, co-founder and partner of Temple View Capital.

Now five businesses and fourteen years later, the firm is wellcapitalized and the team well-versed in the industry. It operates nationally and currently provides real estate investor financing in 46 states. It’s hardly a startup, yet Temple View Capital largely still operates in that entrepreneurial mindspace, prioritizing experimentation, iteration and evolution. This combination of expertise and experimentation is part of what makes Temple View Capital a force in the private real estate lending industry.

The Temple View Capital team is also conscious that they’re working in an industry that is itself a function of innovation, meaning experimentation is table stakes for participation. In contrast to the traditional real estate market, where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play an outsized role in setting rules and standards to make the market more efficient, the private lending industry was built from scratch. There’s no one playbook to follow and no off-the-shelf software tools to get started. That means its players need to replicate some of the technological and financial efficiencies found in the traditional market to be competitive.

developing bespoke, competitive products that solve problems for the end customer and building a technology infrastructure that supports a seamless customer experience.

“One of the huge benefits we have at Temple View is that we are a balance sheet lender, and so we have flexibility in product innovation. We're not just checking boxes because that's what Fannie Mae tells you to do,” Niccolini said.

Temple View Capital’s leadingedge products are tailored to the niche needs of their clients.

“We really think of ourselves as ‘by investors for investors,’” said Michael Niccolini, co-founder and partner of Temple View Capital. “Everything we've created is really designed to

“This business that we’re in — fix-and-flip lending, residential transition lending, investor finance — really the entire sector is an innovation because the role we’re playing is to fill a demand for credit that’s not being met by banks or the GSEs,” Trowern said. “We are constantly trying to evolve and find more flexible and less expensive capital that we can offer our clients to help them innovate with their business. So, like the sector itself, [Temple View Capital] is born of innovation, to try to fill a need that wasn’t being met before.”

The spirit of innovation

Temple View Capital focuses its innovation efforts in two areas:

For example, they offer more experienced borrowers the option to take advanced rehab draws, so those borrowers can buy materials sooner and accelerate the timeline of their projects. Then for long-term investors, the firm offers interest only DSCR calculations, helping investors free up capital for their next project. They also specialize in single-asset lending, meaning one loan covers one house. For borrowers with many doors to manage, singleasset lending means they can avoid rent control agreements and lien release coordination.

“When they want to sell a property, it really allows them to stay in charge of their own business, instead of their lender controlling it, because they're tied to some sort of blanket financing on the whole portfolio,” Trowern said.

Temple View Capital: Continues on pg. 8

April 2021 Originate Report 7

On the technology side, Temple View Capital is 100% paperless. The firm has worked closely with respected law firms and compliance experts nationwide to integrate real-time instruments and create documents that are compliant and uniform from state to state. This means the Temple View Capital team can communicate better with clients, process documents more efficiently and release draws more quickly, no matter where borrowers are located around the country.

Lastly, the Temple View Capital team’s background in the world of distressed debt, combined with their experience purchasing $9 billion in assets and underwriting more than half a million loans, the firm

also operates its own Home Price Index. “We maintain massive reams of borrower behavior and property data, and we run our own HPI, which we think is more accurate than Case-Schiller, particularly on the street-by-street, neighborhood-byneighborhood basis,” Niccolini said. “We think that intelligence allows us to lend nationally in a business that historically has been very local and disaggregated.”

These are just a few of the ways Temple View Capital is working to optimize real estate lending. Talking to Niccolini and Trowern, it’s clear they’re only just getting started. “We think the last 13-14 years have put us in a great position for the next 13-14 years, to really be a dominant player in commercial financing for residential investors,” Niccolini said.

So how exactly has the Temple View team continued to foster innovation, big and small, for the better part of two decades? Here is a look at the key strategic elements that set Temple View Capital apart.

They start with a winning team. The Temple View Capital team has truly become like a chosen family, according to Niccolini. The core team has been together since the start. They know the industry inside out and they’re in it together to work hard, solve problems and achieve common goals.

While this tight-knit environment could sound intimidating to newcomers, in effect it sets the tone for familiarity and support for everyone on the team. The culture Niccolini and Trowern describe is down to earth and approachable. The firm’s management structure is relatively flat and people are given the latitude to go after their ideas when they see a way to do something better.

“There's not a lot of waiting to be told what to do, and I think, as a result, the culture isn't very complacent,” Trowern said.

This year, the firm is seeking to grow. Keeping in line with the Temple View Capital culture, Trowern said the hiring process is all about finding problem solvers. Trowern invoked Steve Jobs’ hiring philosophy at Apple to describe the Temple View Capital

Temple View Capital: Continued from pg. 7
Temple View’s Monthly Staff Meeting

approach: “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

They take nothing for granted. Many great innovators are known for their “question everything” ethos. Take Salesforce’s Marc Benioff for example. He launched what is now a $17 billion business and changed the way we use software by asking the question: “Why are we still loading and upgrading software when we have the internet?” As Hal Gregersen detailed in Harvard Business Review in 2017, Benioff continued to foster this spirit throughout Salesforce by going on listening tours and creating

a chat called “Airing of Grievances” for the team to discuss areas for improvement.

Temple View Capital is working from the same playbook as Benioff. Especially because private lending is still seen as a nascent industry, they know there are opportunities to improve. “Just because that’s the way we did it yesterday or that’s the way somebody else does it, does not mean that’s the best way to do it,” Niccolini said.

Team members are encouraged to challenge assumptions, and importantly, the firm creates a space where people can be comfortable

knowing if they speak up, they will be heard.

“Innovation is driven by open dialogue, and it's actually driven within companies by healthy conflict and debate,” Niccolini said. “We have a culture where raising your hand with an idea or voicing a concern or an issue or identifying something that's not working and coming up with a solution, not just a criticism, but a solution, is really lauded and exalted.”

Lastly, they know who they are — and who they’re not.

Just because Temple View Capital is constantly evolving to meet the Temple View Capital: Continues on pg. 10

April 2021 Originate Report 9
Temple View Leadership Staff Working on Strategic Innovation

needs of its clients, doesn’t mean it lacks focus. Instead, its strong sense of identity and deep knowledge of its customer base are anchors that act as a springboard for creativity.

That’s why “Creativity Loves Constraints” was one of Google’s nine principles of innovation. As Marissa Mayer told Fast Company in 2008, when she was vice president of search products and user experience at Google, “People think of creativity as this sort of unbridled thing, but engineers thrive on constraints.”

For Temple View Capital creative constraints means knowing what’s in their wheelhouse and what’s not. They’re not chasing the fintech title because they know that’s not at the forefront of what they do. “Our business is about developing and expanding relationships by helping people grow their own businesses and kind of be there and anticipating some of the changes and challenges that they're going to run into,” Trowern said.

And while there’s opportunity everywhere in the industry, from small business to commercial to multi-family properties, Temple View Capital has homed in on one specific segment of the market: lending for residential one-to-fourunit properties. “We stick to our knitting,” Niccolini said. “Within one-to-fours, if there’s something that we see a need in the investment community, and we think we can fulfill it, we look at it, consider it, and pursue it.”

They’ve spent 14 years in the oneto-four segment and underwritten half a million loans, and they know that’s a strong suit. “We want to be the best at what we do, and you’ve got to concentrate and focus,” Trowern added.

What’s up next for Temple View Capital?

Temple View Capital’s singular ability to adapt while staying true to its fundamental purpose served it well throughout the tumult of 2020. Being founded just ahead of the Great Recession, the firm has

been ready for anything from the start. They went into the pandemic with a strong balance sheet and strong ability to finance and operate amid uncertainty. They already had technology in place to work remotely. And while they had no way to know what was coming, their agility meant they were able to continue lending throughout the pandemic without pause.

“We're proud of the platform and the team that we've built. We're proud of the way our customers have been treated. We're very proud of our track record. Navigating through COVID, honoring every commitment through the depths of the pandemic,” Niccolini said.

This agility has put Temple View Capital in the position to look ahead in 2021. So far, the future's looking bright. For their next big experiment, they’re exploring the world of ground-up construction. Currently, the team is considering developing a true construction to permanent loan. The product doesn’t exist yet, “but that doesn’t mean it won’t,” Trowern said.

“The development and growth of the rest of the investor finance sector is not temporary. This is an important part of the overall housing lending business,” Trowern said. “I think this sector will be an order of magnitude greater than what it currently is in five years. We see an enormous amount of upside in this whole sector, for everyone.”

Temple View Capital: Continued from pg. 9
The firm has worked closely with respected law firms and compliance experts nationwide to integrate real-time instruments and create documents that are compliant and uniform from state to state.
April 2021 Originate Report 11 PARTNER WITH US Real estate investor financing designed by real estate investors. Over the past 13 years, TVC Funding has partnered with brokers across the US helping thousands of real estate investors turn real estate into cash. With flexible loan products, aggressive rates and common-sense decision making, becoming our partner is truly a win-win proposition for both you and your borrowers. Becoming an approved TVC Funding Broker means you’ll have access to the products, tools and support you need across a wide range of Fix & Flip, DSCR and Bridge Loans. Trusted by Wholesale Brokers and Correspondent Partners Nationwide (844) 358-3626 tvc-bpa@templeviewcap.com | www.TVCFunding.com Main Office: 7550 Wisconsin Ave. 10th Floor Bethesda, MD 20814

Private Lending Services Directory

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Investors Services

Discover companies that offer services to property investors and mortgage / trust deed investors: Self-Directed IRA, Accounting, Asset Protection, Insurance, Property Tax Appeal, and Tax Advisory.

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Due Diligence

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April 2021 Originate Report 13


Armanino LLP, one of the top 25 independent business and accounting firms in the U.S. by revenue, is carving out a name for itself as a global leader in blockchain and digital asset solutions.

Headquartered just a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley, Armanino has been working with leading fintech and cryptocurrency companies in an audit, tax, and advisory capacity since 2014. This exposure served as a launch pad into the world of blockchain and accounting.

“Innovation is a big focus for us. It is something that we actually live because we’ve enshrined it as a strategic anchor for the firm,” said Noah Buxton, a director at Armanino.

Buxton leads Armanino’s Crypto & Digital Assets practice and was part of the team that began experimenting with use cases for the technology. By 2018, they realized there was a major opportunity at the intersection of accounting and distributed ledgers.

In January 2019, Armanino launched a dedicated practice focused on the crypto and digital assets industry.

Early on, the concept was to embrace and leverage the same blockchain technology their tech clients were using to explore new use cases. In short order, it became apparent that there was a significant opportunity to build transparency tools. Today, Armanino offers a first-of-itskind suite of attestation services and transparency tools designed specifically for digital assets. Possible future applications cut across industries, including real estate investment and lending.

“In a world where all assets are digital, analog audit and assurance services will be obsolete,” said Patrick Clancy, senior manager of strategic growth for blockchain and private funds at Armanino. “Our money has been digitized, our public markets have been digitized, next up is the digital disruption of private securities offerings and markets.”

Armanino’s flagship digital asset transparency platform, TrustExplorer™, is built for the impending digital future. Today, it enables real-time attestation and transparency services for over approximately $5 billion in digital assets. TrustExplorer™ is the first and only real-time attest platform available, giving clients and their current and prospective customers the ability to download attestation reports, some only 30 seconds old. The tool adds a “paradigm-shifting level of transparency,” said Buxton. “We think of it as a giant leap for public accounting.”

Readers can see this tool in action on the Armanino website (you will need to select a current client to view their real-time attest dashboard).

The Power of Public Chains, Tokenization and Security Token Offerings

Appreciating what makes TrustExplorer™ so groundbreaking requires some foundational knowledge about how blockchain and tokenization work.

Emily Rappleye, Contributing Writer for Originate Report

Put simply, public blockchains are shared digital ledgers of transactions. A peer-to-peer network of computers, or nodes, must verify the data stored in “blocks” on the chain. Any changes to a block triggers changes to all the blocks that follow, which requires approval from the network. Because the structure is decentralized and constantly verified, the technology is highly secure and transparent.

Blockchains are all about storing and transferring value. The Bitcoin platform is the first blockchain and still the largest; Bitcoin is the currency built on top. Other public chains such as Ethereum (the second largest today), can be used to tokenize (create digital representations of other assets) and to make that digital value programmable.

Tokens can empower representation of ownership in a frictionless, transparent, automated, programmable, and compliant manner. Tokens that represent real-world assets like real estate ownership interests are called security tokens. They function as a “digital wrapper” around traditional private securities that offers the promise of making private securities better, faster, and cheaper.

tokenize assets, no custodian to hold the tokens, no registered transfer agents, no licensed broker dealers, and therefore no secondary markets for trading and liquidity. “Now those players are there,” Buxton said. “That’s the promise for security token offerings on real estate and debt pools taking off like wildfire, frankly, in the next few years.”

In industries like real estate investment and lending, tokenization on public blockchains holds the incredible potential to free up previously illiquid assets. Once an ownership interest is tokenized, fund managers can benefit from increased management capabilities, ease of visibility to cap tables, and increased depth and breadth of capital. They can even program income and dividends using onchain assets, like stablecoins or other cryptocurrencies.

critical to making tokenized assets programmable. Such off-chain information can increasingly be brought on-chain using “oracle networks,” which are purposebuilt information bridges between off-chain and on-chain systems. Altogether, this means fund managers and issuers will soon benefit from the ability to strike daily or minute-by-minute net asset value calculations for tokenized ownership shares.

The Benefits of Tokenization in Real Estate

The concept of tokenization has been around for several years, but until now, it lacked the infrastructure to really take off, according to Buxton and Clancy. There was no platform to

Tokenized assets that reside onchain will increasingly be used as collateral in other on-chain activities, including decentralized lending. All together this means public chains and the digital assets that run on top are like an “Internet 3.0” that “doesn’t just help you transfer information, it helps you transfer information and value,” said Buxton. “It’s an internet of money, not just money on the internet."

In the context of commercial real estate and debt funds, information about the underlying assets is

CONTACT: https://www.armaninollp.com/

One of the most exciting evolutions for TrustExplorer™ will be its use as a trusted source of off-chain information, known as an “oracle” in the blockchain world. In a digitized future, where commercial real estate and debt ownership is tokenized, trustworthy data feeds of off-chain data (e.g., asset valuations, expenses, income streams) will be in high demand. TrustExplorer’s™ oracle service is designed to begin filling this need for trust and transparency as a service to on-chain protocols. In Q3 2020, TrustExplorer™ was the first such system to provide oracle data on-chain.

“Asset managers across industries should consider that digital assets are eating traditional assets. With the ability to wrap a private offering in a digital wrapper at low cost, increased efficiency and high liquidity, a move to the tokenized offering will become the norm,” said Buxton.

April 2021 Originate Report 15


COO of Fidelity Mortgage Lenders, Inc.


Q: What is the purpose of a COO?

I think the role of a COO depends on the company's size and culture - do you wear one hat or multiple hats?

A COO is critical for getting things done. Traditionally, the role of a COO was comprised of cutting expenses and adding or dismissing staff. Today, a COO's role has expanded to controlling costs and adding to the bottom line by growing and generating revenue.

At Fidelity, my role includes overseeing day-to-day operations, streamlining processes to create efficiencies, reducing expenses without hindering revenue growth and generating sales. Simultaneously I have to consider the bigger

picture of the company's future and implementing that vision.

Q: What is your mission?

My mission is not only to reduce expenses and increase revenue but also to provide a work environment for my staff that is both healthy and fulfilling. As they say, “a company is only as good as its employees”.

salary to a solely commission-based income. I struggled financially and had to regularly borrow money to pay bills and then hope to close a deal in time to pay that money back. It took several years to build up my clientele to where I was making enough money and I didn’t have to borrow any more; things were looking up. Then the 2008 financial crisis hit, and the real estate market collapsed. I had two kids, a wife in law school, and the financial troubles returned, leaving us to live off food stamps and government assistance.

Q: Where did it all begin?

Q: Can you explain a time where you faced adversity or had struggles early on in your career?

I immigrated to the United States from Germany at the age of fourteen with minimal English language knowledge. Twenty-two years ago, I began a commercial real estate career and had to transition from a

My future in private debt and equity started, unbeknownst to me, seventeen years ago when I met a man named Chuck Hershson, or “Uncle Chuck,” as everyone calls him. We were both members of a charitable organization called The Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home. When Chuck found out that I was in commercial real estate, he began calling me for my opinion on the value of commercial real estate properties in the San Fernando Valley. My evaluation would determine the size of the loan Chuck was willing to place against the property, and on occasion, I would sell a property for Chuck. Our business relationship very quickly turned into a close friendship. One day Chuck asked me to come work with him at Fidelity. Chuck was looking for someone to come in, help run the company, and eventually buy him out.

Peter Steigleder: Continues on pg. 18

April 2021 Originate Report 17
Peter Steigleder, COO Fidelity Mortgage Lenders, Inc.

Q: How did these experiences mold and shape you into the leader you are today?

I remember the challenges I have had, and I try to see people's challenges from their perspective. This is a mindset I have to maintain with staff, clients, and anyone else I come across. You'll hardly ever know what someone is struggling with at that time, and it's important to be empathetic towards their situations. I have made the mistake of making assumptions. As my cousin, Paul, says: "don't assume; it makes an ass out of you and me."

Q: Is there anything that you wish you could go back and tell yourself at the beginning of your career?

There are a million things I wish I could tell my younger self at the start of my career. In all honesty, if I knew how hard the beginning would be, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to start. But with that experience and where I’m at in my career now, I’m glad I didn’t know, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. One thing I would like to tell my younger self is to stay organized and follow up. These are two areas I struggled with when I was starting out and I had to learn the hard way to gain these skills.

to work with and learn from. Still, the most significant influence in my career has been Charles Hershson, or “Uncle Chuck,” as he is known in the industry. Chuck convinced me to transition from commercial real estate to the private lending business and taught me how to succeed in it. I’m grateful to him because it brought me to this chapter in my life/career.

proportional to how hard and smart I work. The better I do, the better the company does, and that provides me with a great deal of self-fulfillment. However, this also makes it the hardest part of my job because I feel a personal responsibility for my coworkers' and the company’s financial success, and I don't want to let anyone down.

Q: What would you consider to be the highlight of your career thus far? While not part of my job, my career's highlight was my election to CoPresident of the Guardians with Zane Koss last year. The Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home's mission is to provide financial support for members of the community who the Los Angeles Jewish Home serves through residential and communitybased programs. The Guardians' history goes back to 1938, and in its 83-year history, I am the first nonJewish President. My affinity for The Jewish Home started seventeen years ago when I learned that the Home was taking care of Holocaust survivors. Years earlier, when working at the German Consulate in Los Angeles, I met hundreds of Holocaust survivors, and their stories touched me. When I saw the opportunity to give back to those who have suffered so much, I knew the Guardians was an organization I needed to join.

Q: Do you think that time or money more valuable?

When I started my career, money was more valuable than time because I could barely pay my own bills. Time makes you anxious when you’re broke. As I have become more financially secure and been working consistently, time has become more valuable because it is finite. The amount of money I make has changed, but the amount of time I have has not.

Q: How do you make sure your company stays ahead in this industry?

To make sure my company remains competitive in the industry, I must be constantly learning. This entails attending conferences to see what other companies are doing effectively and ineffectively, staying up to date on technology to increase our efficiency, and never being complacent with status quo. There’s always something we can do better.

Q: Who is someone that has had a significant impact on your career and why?

I was fortunate enough to have many mentors and seasoned professionals

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? Least?

The most enjoyable part of my job is that my success is directly

Q: What tools do you use to aid you in your role as COO to be most efficient, organized, and focused? What has been most effective for me has been working with my staff

Peter Steigleder: Continued from pg.

and not trying to micromanage or do everything myself. The best way to get the most from my staff is to let go and trust them to get things done and let them know that they can come to me anytime.

Q: Has your role changed significantly to address the current environment?

As a financial institution, we have been deemed an essential business, which meant many operational changes to address all the concerns, risks, and the unknown that came with COVID. The health and safety of staff became the top priority. Additionally, we wanted to ensure our staff continued receiving a full salary. We staggered attendance, so we had about half our staff at the office on any given day while still providing a full salary and all the benefits. On top of that, we implemented COVID testing, followed all the CDC guidelines, and continued to have

the offices professionally cleaned several times a week. At the start of COVID, many of our borrowers asked for assistance because many of them were struggling to pay back loans, so a big portion of my job became working with them to see how we could help. Before COVID, the servicing manager would take the initial calls we received regarding our borrowers' issues, but after COVID, I have taken all the calls. I received over one hundred calls trying to balance borrowers' and investors' needs. I needed to understand what borrowers' problems were firsthand, so that I could have an informed conversation with investors to create a deferment plan that worked for both parties.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who has just started out in private lending?

My advice for anyone starting in the private lending business is to find a great mentor and start at a solid

CONTACT: https://fidelityca.com/

company. Often working at the wrong company or with inexperienced people can turn you away from what, to me, has been a great experience and give you the wrong impression of this industry.

Peter Steigleder, Chief Operating Officer of Fidelity Mortgage Lenders, Inc., and Co-Founder of Hudson Commercial Partners, Inc. brings with him 27 years of finance, commercial real estate, and economic development experience.

Peter served as Director of Economic Development for the German Consulate General in Los Angeles. In 1999, Peter began his real estate career at Beitler Commercial. In 2006, Peter joined Lee & Associates where his consistent status as one of the company’s top producers quickly elevated him to Principal status. In 2009, he joined Delphi Business Properties as a partner before founding Hudson Commercial Partners.

April 2021 Originate Report 19

The CIVIC Difference


CIVIC Financial Services, based in Redondo Beach, California, may be backed by Wall Street, but unlike other hard-money lenders that rely on finite resources, CIVIC’s private money is there when its customers need it. Funding more than $100 million a month – and growing – Originate Report sat down with Kendra Rommel, Director of Regional Sales, to discuss the ‘CIVIC Difference,’ the hard money space, and the Company’s recent acquisition by Pacific West Bank.

“CIVIC was recently acquired by Pacific West Bank (PWB), a publicly traded institution. What this did for the hard-money lender,” Rommel said, “is significantly lower our cost of capital, which enables CIVIC to extend more competitively priced products.” PWB had been a strategic partner of CIVIC long before the acquisition, therefore the new partnership was a “natural fit”.

“The acquisition eliminates the challenge of having to cater to multiple take-outs,” Rommel said. “We now have the ability to balance sheet most of our paper, which enables us to make quicker, more critical decisions on what we are willing and able to finance; I think it empowers us.”

“It is important to note,” Rommel added, “that the PWB relationship does not preclude us having additional credit partners. This flexibility is what makes CIVIC the ideal partner for so many borrowers and lenders.” Additionally, Rommel points out that this partnership does not ‘bankify’ CIVIC; instead, it serves as the culmination of a years’ long pre-existing strategic relationship.

Turning to how CIVIC rapidly adapted during the coronavirus pandemic – Rommel said that she has been grateful for the competitive edge

that institutional backing provided. The most essential element for any successful lender, she said, is their access to and management of capital.

“We were never put in the position of having repo or warehouse lines getting maxed out because we have great capital partners that honored the commitments we had in place pre-pandemic,” explained Rommel. Fortunately, we were also in a position to keep loans on our balance sheet, and not sell at a loss. That stability encouraged additional capital partners to look at us, what we’ve been doing, and how we underwrite deals. This gave us the time and opportunity to determine who would make the best partner for CIVIC long term.”

From an organizational perspective, Rommel said, she could not be happier with the team that is in place at CIVIC. As the Company continues


to grow, she added that President Bill Tessar's leadership sets the course.

“Bill is a strategist and visionary that isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves. He runs the organization in a way where that hands-on attitude sets the example. It is the expectation,” she said. “He’s extremely transparent, loyal, and trusting. When…things initially started with COVID-19, he immediately called a virtual meeting with the whole organization and told us to stick to our core values, stay focused and engaged and take care of each other and our customers. He maintained composure, empathy, and consistent communication regarding the health of our people, our capital and continued business. Clear leadership for an organization makes all the difference.”

Paired with this leadership, Rommel said, are CIVIC’s core values: act with honor, be a great partner, communicate clearly, create smiles, and simplify. Adhering to these standards, she said, allows all CIVIC team members to share common goals, create an outstanding customer experience, and work towards growing the Company’s sphere of influence in private money.

“I feel like two of the most overstated but under-delivered words right now are authenticity and gratitude,” she said. “They’re traveling around social media right now and speaking from a place of truth for us, here at CIVIC. Our culture is built by a team of people who are truly authentic and embody our core values. We do have a large team, but we do not simply hire people to fill seats. What helps

CONTACT: https://www.civicfs.com/

to set us apart is the fact that it’s not just about getting things done; it’s about getting things done RIGHT. And to do that requires tremendous attention to detail by people who truly care.”

To have such a team in place like the one at CIVIC, she said, is a rarity. Rommel added that the Company is showing no plans of slowing down. In fact, looking forward CIVIC is continuing to grow and expand into new markets and offer new products, while maintaining its top-tier service to clients. CIVIC lends in 20 states plus the District of Columbia. Its 300+ employees are located in 14 states including several offices in California, plus Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland, Nashville, Dallas, Charlotte, Atlanta and more.

April 2021 Originate Report 21




Captivate 2021 Special Edition

If you have an article you would like to submit in one of our upcoming editions, reach out to us at:


April 2021 Originate Report 23


Innovative Customer Service

Renovo Financial is a Chicagobased portfolio lender with a singular focus on the customer experience. Founded in 2011 on the heels of the subprime mortgage crisis, Renovo was built to withstand volatility and provide a resilient financing option for Chicago real estate investors. Cofounders Kevin Werner and Daniel Rosen were successful in this pursuit: A decade later, Renovo projects can be found in 92% of Chicago neighborhoods, and they didn’t have a single delinquency during the pandemic.

“Renovo is very much a Chicago company,” James Gaskin, Renovo’s senior vice president of corporate development, said over the phone.

However, the firm is thinking bigger as it embarks on its second decade of lending. The first tell? Gaskin was dialing in from Austin, Texas. Renovo opened seven new offices around the country since the start of the pandemic, and plans to open three more in the next month, according to Gaskin.

“We are seeking to build a bunch of great local businesses that focus

on relationships,” he said. This local mindset is core to the ethos at Renovo, largely because the firm puts the customer at the center of everything it does, whether it’s their strategic growth model or innovative offerings.

The Renovo Difference

The Renovo Financial philosophy is simple. It’s predicated on the idea that most of what goes into a lending business is replicable. Most competitors are within a small range of each other on loan-to-cost (LTC)


and loan-to-value (LTV). “So, how do you build a great business when 90% of your competitors are doing the same thing?” Gaskin commented. “We have to be really good at the other 10%.”

where it can find the right people. These lenders “understand the intricacies of the local market” and have networks of referral partners, including real estate agents, general contractors, and permit expediters.

Customer-Focused Innovation

debt and buy enough time to finish their projects. “A lot of folks are in a tight spot and really shouldn’t be, because if you take the time to get to know the market and the project, then you know it makes all the sense in the world,” Gaskin said.

To get “really good” at the other 10%, Renovo is focused on turning a transactional business into an interpersonal one, and in a relationship business, every interaction matters. For Renovo, this means the results of every single Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey are automatically emailed to everyone in the company. If anyone who touches a Renovo loan, from the borrower to the real estate agent, scores the company below a 9, Renovo’s chief operating officer picks up the phone to see how they can remedy the situation. It’s a system that works. In 2020, Renovo received a score of 95%, meaning most customers would refer Renovo to a friend or colleague. And until last year, Renovo’s growth was built entirely on word-ofmouth referrals.

Their growth strategy brings this same level of customer awareness. “We believe that real estate is hyperlocal,” Gaskin said. “Most of the successful investors we work with operate within a very tight geographic area, sometimes down to a handful of blocks, or maybe a zip code.” With this in mind, the firm is only expanding into markets

“For us, innovation is about finding new and better ways to be a great partner to our customers, and we do that by listening to them and trying to find solutions to the problems that affect them,” Gaskin said.

For example, Renovo spent years building a bespoke loan origination servicing platform that handles everything from pre-origination to the final payment. Now the firm is integrating technology to accelerate construction draws and disbursements because this was one of the biggest pain points for borrowers. “We are always working on ways to get them their money faster and easier. Technology plays a big part in that,” Gaskin said.

To answer a need created by the pandemic, Renovo is offering a new bridge loan. It’s designed specifically for borrowers who are nearing the end of a construction loan but need more time. Many of these borrowers are finding their loans were sold during COVID to servicers across the country who won’t extend the loan or may be charging sky high rates. Renovo’s offering will give those borrowers a reduced interest rate loan to get them out of expensive

CONTACT: https://www.renovofinancial.com/

Renovo has countless other little innovations that help make the lives of its clients easier. It services all its loans in-house. It runs a pod structure for lender support, so every lender has a dedicated processing team. It even has a strategic partnership with Home Depot so all its customers save on building supplies.

“The little things add up,” Gaskin said. “If we can make something a little bit easier and something a little bit cheaper, we’re going to do that because at the end of the day, that is what makes a difference.”

Looking Ahead

The focus in 2021 for Renovo is smart growth, which means preserving the customer-first, local mindset as it grows. Not only is the firm growing geographically, but it's also expanding its channels and products. Renovo is currently launching a wholesale third party origination business, starting with six to 10 targeted relationships with regional lenders.

“We’re going to continue to find areas where we can add value to our customers through new and innovative lending products,” Gaskin said. “We’ve got a really exciting road ahead.”

April 2021 Originate Report 25


Innovation is great. Innovation combined with a dedication to unparalleled customer service and a relentless drive to improve is even better. That’s exactly what you will find at Mortgage Automator. We had the privilege of sitting down with Lawrence Schwartz, one of the original founders of the blossoming company, who gave us a unique glance at what makes this one-of-akind operation so successful.

What Sets Mortgage Automator Apart?

When you think about hard money and private mortgage lenders,

chances are the first things that they prioritize are raising money and finding more loans. This makes it difficult for them to find time to focus on improving their internal efficiencies and providing exceptional customer service to their brokers, borrowers, and investor partners. Mortgage Automator is here to change that. Using their innovative software and vast experience within both the lending and technology sectors, the experts at Mortgage Automator have crafted a customizable, streamlined loan origination and servicing platform

that completely automates the oncetedious loan process. For years, lenders have fantasized about a truly end-to-end, all-inclusive e-platform that crosses all the ‘t’s’ and dots all the ‘i’s’ on its own, and thanks to Mortgage Automator, that dream is now a reality. So real in fact, that, to date, over $10 billion has been funded via this ground-breaking platform. With over 49,000 documents having been auto- generated, that means that the more than 150 Mortgage Automator clients operating in markets from coast to coast in the US and Canada can focus on


generating more business instead of being bogged down under massive amounts of paperwork. With interest rates at all-time lows, the lending industry is getting exponentially more competitive.

Mortgage Automator’s tried-andtested process can give you a leg up on the competition to help set you apart from the crowd. And thanks to the multiple time-saving features built into their all-inclusive loan suite, lenders will have no problem handling the extra workload. More clients, more profits, all in less time. That’s the win-win situation with Mortgage Automator. Lawrence made it clear what makes his company truly unique: “We are a true end-to-end loan origination and servicing platform in this space. We are all-encompassing from getting the deals into the system to managing the file, underwriting it, taking care of investors, creating payoffs; we literally have all bases covered from A to Z.”

Truly a One-Stop-Shop

The system capabilities of Mortgage Automator’s groundbreaking software platform are seemingly endless. Whether you need to generate custom documents, send out routine borrower communications or track real-time developments in the loan origination timeline, the solution is only ever a few clicks away. By using their intuitive, technology-driven approach, the Mortgage Automator team can also provide you with an

adaptive, user-friendly, and efficient borrower portal from which your clients can review their loan status, request additional funds, and receive account statements. From there, a comprehensive loan origination suite grants lenders the ability to monitor ongoing transactions and accomplish tasks using customized processes that support every type of loan imaginable. “I think a lot of our success is because we have a background in private lending and our clients can sense that we get ‘it’,” explained Lawrence. “We know what their needs are, we know what they struggle with, so we built a product that will make their lives easier. We take a lot of pride in that.”

In-House Responsiveness, Uncompromising Security

With the advent of telework and outsourcing in today’s professional sector, it’s easy to sacrifice quality for convenience. That certainly isn’t the case when it comes to Mortgage Automator. The company prides itself by retaining 100% of its employees in-house. This allows for a seamless workflow in a collaborative environment that produces consistent and attentive customer service. No unforeseen delays. No costly gaps in communication. Only the solutions you need to achieve your lending objectives, delivered when and where you need them. This corporate structure allows for unbeatable attention to detail and responsiveness. Mortgage

Automator’s employees communicate in real-time directly with one another so they can deliver you the best end-product in a fraction of the time compared to the other service providers. As Lawrence explains: “Nothing is done externally. Every line of code is written in our office. I think that is particularly important with this type of sensitive data. We are able to adapt, build quickly and listen to feedback from our clients on how to improve our product—and we’re all ears.”

And because everything is handled internally, Mortgage Automator offers lenders peace of mind when it comes to the security of their data. Lawrence gave us a break-down of how his advanced software puts lenders in the driver’s seat when it comes to data security: “In the software, you can control who has access to what data and when. Not just anyone can log in and see all the data. Lenders are fully in control when setting their own roles and permissions—giving them complete control regarding how their data is protected.”

It’s safe to say that Mortgage Automator is pushing the envelope when it comes to modernizing the lending industry. And there’s no indication they’re slowing down. Quite the opposite, in fact. The firm plans to double its client base in the next year while continuing to add advanced lending features to their software platform.

CONTACT: https://www.mortgageautomator.com/

April 2021 Originate Report 27


Webinars have grown in popularity in recent years and have become an important marketing tool. These live web-based seminars can connect you with leads from all over the world. They encourage interacti by allowing the audience to ask questions orJust how beneficial can a webinar be to your business? Here are 7 reasons why webinars are a fantastic marketing strategy. Webinars are a cost-effective way to extend your reach globally. Rather than pay for flights and hotels to meet with individual leads, you can engage with a larger group over their computer screens. People from all over the world can attend, providing your brand or product with the potential to see huge results. This global reach creates networking opportunities for building relationships and partnerships.

our audience has invested time in registering and listening to the information you plan to share. They’re expecting valuable takeaways from the webinar, even something they can put into place at their own company. This positions you and your brand as an industry leader, or expert.

Webinars can give your audience the chance to ask questions and provide feedback. This is valuable because you can address concerns, reservations, or any lingering questions they may have about your training or product in real-time.

You can customize your presentation to your audience based on their questions and feedback to keep them engaged. Ask them to take an action, such as completing a task or answering a question. This will increase audience participation and interest.

Include guest speakers, such as industry leaders or affiliates, to speak during your webinar. These individuals should be familiar with your industry and value of your product. They will be able to educate the audience on the benefits or impact, validating information you have or will be sharing.

By inviting a guest speaker, you can also increase the webinar’s attendance by including your guest’s audience and following. This can grow the number of leads you may gain substantially.

5. Results:

Results can be seen quickly from webinars. After

hosting a webinar you’ll have metrics to measure how well it performed. These metrics include the number of attendees, number of those registered, and total views. The webinar can and should be recorded for you, the audience, and affiliates to share with others, growing the results even more. Each time a person completes your webinar’s registration form they should be considered a new potential lead, whether it be for a sale or a potential partnership. Webinars adds a personal interaction that videos and commercials don’t. Webinars put a face and name with your product making you approachable, human, and someone they can trust. Educating them on how your product can benefit their company is the first step in opening the door to future discussions and partnerships. It is essential to show both new and established leads how your product or service can improve or enhance their workplace. Depending on the prospect, the sales process can be slow. Businesses want to convert a lead into a cusWhile it’s certainly important to provide useful information and tips to your audience, it’s equally important to share how your brand or business can help them achieve this. How can your product be a solution to their problems? Your webinar should show the audience the value of your brand. Garnering interest in the product and its potential impact is the first step in completing a sale.

There are numerous benefits to hosting a webinar. Though this article only touches on a handful of them, it should be clear that webinars are an effective tool for engagement and growth. As you take these benefits into account, you should begin to think how you can use a webinar for lead generation and to increase traffic, which will yield great results for your business. Webinars have grown in popularity in recent years and have become an important marketing tool. These live web-based seminars can connect you with leads from all over the world. They encourage interaction by allowing the audience to ask questions or provide feedback in real-time. Just how beneficial can a webinar be to your business? Here are 7 reasons why webinars are a fantastic marketing strategy.

Webinars are a cost-effective way to extend your reach globally. Rather than pay for flights and hotels to meet with individual leads, you can engage with a larger group over their computer screens.

People from all over the world can attend, providing

your brand or product with the potential to see huge results. This global reach creates networking opportunities for building relationships and partnerships. Your audi ence has invested time in registering and listening to the information you plan to share. They’re expecting valuable takeaways from the webinar, even some thing they can put into place at their own company. This positions you and your brand as an industry lead er, or expert. Webinars can give your audience the chance to ask questions and provide feedback. This is valuable because you can address concerns, reser vations, or any lingering questions they may have about your training or product in real-time. You can customize your presentation to your audience based on their questions and feedback to keep them engaged. Ask them to take an action, such as completing a task or answering a question. This will increase audience participation and interest. Include guest speakers, such as industry leaders or affiliates, to speak during your webinar. These individuals should be familiar with your industry and value of your product. They will be able to educate the audience on the benefits or impact, validating information you have or will be sharing. By inviting a guest speaker, you can also increase the webinar’s attendance by including your guest’s audience and following. This can grow the number of leads you may gain substantially. Results can be seen quickly from webinars. After hosting a webinar you’ll have metrics to measure how well it performed. These metrics include the number of at tendees, number of those registered, and total views. The webinar can and should be recorded for you, the audience, and affiliates to share with others, grow ing the results even more. Each time a person com pletes your webinar’s registration form they should be considered a new potential lead, whether it be for a sale or a potential partnership. Webinars adds a personal interaction that videos and commercials don’t. Webinars put a face and name with your prod uct making you approachable, human, and someone they can trust. Educating them on how your product can benefit their company is the first step in opening the door to future discussions and partnerships. It is essential to show both new and established leads how your product or service can improve or enhance their workplace.Depending on the prospect, the sales formation and tips to your audience, it’s equally important to share how your brand or business can help them achieve this. How can your product be a solution to their problems? Your webinar should show the audience the value of your brand. Garnering interest in the product and its potential impact is the first step in completing a sale.There are numerous benefits to hosting a webinar. Though this article only touches on a handful of them, it should be clear that webinars are an effective tool for engagement and growth. As you take these benefits into account, you should begin to think how you can use a webinar for lead generation and to increase traffic, which will yield great results for your business. Webinars have grown in popularity in recent years and have4.

April 2021 Originate Report 29
Business Development • Fintech/Newest Loan Programs • Automation in Today’s Evolving Society • Upcoming Trends & Changes • Marketing & Outreach • Essential Tools & Technologies • New Legal Issues and Regulations Share your ideas! Email submissions@originate.report for more information. LET

LEGACY GROUP CAPITAL Creating a Culture of Trusted Partnerships

Legacy Group Capital, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, operates on a deceptively simple mission statement: creating healthy returns for investors through real estate investing and lending opportunities. The Company has seen its fair share of economic downturns, and through adaptation and a commitment to staying abreast of the latest trends

in lending, has thrived in seemingly unlikely circumstances.

in his thirty-year career in the mortgage industry.

To better understand how Legacy Group Capital differentiates itself from the competition – and has created a culture of longstanding partnerships within the hard money space – Originate Report sat down (virtually) with CEO Scott Rerucha to discuss what sets his Company apart and the lessons he has learned

As CEO of Legacy Group, Scott said that the team he has built consistently fires on all cylinders and has a keen eye for the best real estate transactions. With professionals unswervingly drumming up capital, acquiring real estate through various funds, and hiring builders to see projects through to fruition


all to provide profits and value for investors – Scott said that making sure everyone is ‘on the same page’ is a key to success when all the gears of a deal are moving at once.

“We all sync together, and we have software that melds our deals so we can track them from start to finish,” he said. “We know where everyone’s at, and we have a system behind that. It took a few years to get this into place, and at first, we were tracking elements through Excel spreadsheets, and now we’ve created software to track and make sure a deal flows smoothly from start to finish.”

This commitment to deal completion, he said, was one of the driving factors in coming out of the 2008 financial crisis in a position to thrive in today’s buyer market. At the time, Scott added, the real estate fund in place at Legacy consisted of three loan types: bridge loans, rehab loans (which encompass fix and flip projects,) and construction loans. Although banks were ‘tightening and solidifying their lending practices’ at that time, he said that the diversified approach helped Legacy weather the storm –an attribute that continues into the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

on top of what our builders, who are in the middle of deals, are seeing in the market shift. We’re underwriting deals with market expectations, and what we see now is a crazy hot market in the Seattle area. We have to judge the market and see if it’s going to rise or going to fall.”

Scott said it could be easy to adopt a pessimistic attitude towards the market as it rises and falls, but he added that one differentiator of Legacy Group Capital is the group’s ability to take ostensibly negative situations and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Scott said his group’s nimble nature produces results. Even considering the 2008 crash, Legacy has never lost one investor dollar nor foreclosed on a single property in the 15 years of running the fund. He said that his track record is due to the team members Legacy has and their ability to adapt to any situation.

This dexterous nature, however, was certainly not limited to the 2008 financial crisis. When speaking about the coronavirus pandemic –Washington was one of the earliest states to see an outbreak of the virus – Scott said his team’s ability to adapt was on full display.

not spring up overnight, but the Company’s consistency throughout tumultuous periods has created a positive reputation in the private money space.

“Even though projects took longer to complete because builders were shut down, we took into account these regulatory challenges and didn’t charge extension fees or higher rates because of the extended build times,” he said. “There’s no way to overcome some of the cards you get dealt, but you have to manage through it and stay with your builders, your partners, and work with them to perform to the best of their abilities.”

These partnerships, Scott said, go ‘very deep’ and are built on a level of trust challenging to find elsewhere in the private lending field. For Legacy to win in any given deal or see it to completion while providing capital gains for investors, an infrastructure of confidence is of the utmost importance. And that infrastructure, he added, leads to Legacy’s continued growth.

“We were in the middle of a down market,” he said. “Banks tighten up, and many people turn to private money to finance deals. That gives us leverage, and we have to make sure that our portfolio is wide and we stay

Communication, Scott said, is of the utmost importance during periods of economic downturn and national stress. In the Seattle area, he added that dozens of builders use Legacy exclusively. These trusted partnerships do

CONTACT: https://legacyg.com/

“We’re looking to expand into a number of different markets,” Scott said. “We’ve always maintained our consumer lending license or 25 percent of our loan portfolio, and our diversified offerings are needed and will thrive in different markets. What we bring to the table is decades of in-the-trenches experience and a commitment to see deals through to the end.”

April 2021 Originate Report 31 –

SOFT MONEY: Is It the New Hard Money?

"Soft Money" is a relatively new term in the private lending industry, an innovative approach to private money lending. A soft money loan combines similar guideline benefits of a hard money loan but at lower rates and costs.

While a soft money loan requires more underwriting than a hard money loan, it offers lower risks to both the borrower and the lender,

making it a deeply attractive option to potential borrowers who find the concept, (but not the details), of a hard money loan appealing.

Hard Money Loans

Hard money loans have become the prime loan product for direct private money lenders. Due to the nature of an asset-based loan, utilizing this mortgage program is based on the Loan to Value (LTV) of the investment property in the loan scenario.

This type of loan program is appealing to both lenders and borrowers, because they require little underwriting, making them a quick loan for the applicant to get approved and a quick return for the lender on their money.

The high-risk nature of this type of loan as well as reservations from the 2008 housing market crash, may make some borrowers reluctant to pursue this type of asset-based loan. Real Estate Investors are attracted to


a hard money loan because it has less underwriting and guidelines than a traditional mortgage.

However, with more flexibility comes a higher cost, which is why a soft money loan has become a cost-effective solution to a prospective borrower.

What is Soft Money?

Soft Money is an innovative new approach to private money lending which combines the benefits of both hard money loans and more traditional loans. First, a clarification on the name: the term ‘soft money’ in the world of lending is completely different than ‘soft money’ in the world of political campaigning. In the context of lending, the term ‘soft money’ implies that this type of loan falls somewhere

between a hard money loan and a traditional mortgage.

A soft money loan requires more underwriting than a hard money loan, allowing it to have lower rates and greater security. It is based on both the borrower’s credit score and the property’s LTV and is usually a term loan rather than a bridge loan.

What makes a soft money loan groundbreaking in the mortgage world, is that a borrower can also

build or repair their credit with a soft money loan, making it appealing to those with lower credit scores or those looking to rebuild their credit.

The combination of lower rates, credit building, and a longer time frame makes the soft money loan a better fit than a hard money loan for many borrower’s situations, particularly those interested in investing in a home or a more longterm property.

Why is Soft Money the Future of Lending?

Calling soft money ‘the new hard money’ may seem trite and contrived, but upon further reflection, soft money truly is the direction for the future of lending.

An innovative approach combining the benefits of hard money loans with lower risk, higher rates, and a term loan time-frame - soft money loans fit many borrowers far better with longer terms (12-18 months).

While the hard money loan is still the preferred option for many real estate investment scenarios, a soft money loan will become increasingly popular for first-time real estate investors, borrowers looking to build their credit score, and investors with a good credit history who are looking for less risk and slightly lower rates.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Mikhail is the Founder and CEO of Stratton Equities, the Nation’s Leading Hard Money and NON-QM Lender to National Real Estate Investors, with the largest variety of mortgage loans and programs nationwide. Having launched Stratton Equities in early 2017, Michael has always been an entrepreneur and innovator in the real estate market, purchasing his first home at 19 using a hard money loan. Under Michael’s leadership, Stratton Equities has grown into one of the biggest leaders in the Mortgage and Real Estate industry across genres and platforms. CONTACT: info@strattonequities.com | https://www.strattonequities.com/

April 2021 Originate Report 33


Managing Partner at Flynn Family Lending


Q: How has your outlook of the private lending industry changed in light of the new normal?

We’ve always been a little more cautious than our hard money and private lending competitors, so our business model hasn’t changed much. Our LTVs remain ultra conservative and our terms are shorter than a year to help create a “speed bump” should anything happen with the project, the market, or otherwise. In fact, our business has improved and grown in the last year due to our lack of dependency on institutional capital or the secondary markets. This reaffirmed how reliable and consistent we are to work with–many clients came to us scrambling to fund their deals in the 11th hour because either their lender stopped funding abruptly or underwriting criteria changed, requiring more cash to close.

If anything, I think the private lending industry will become stronger for the smaller, truly private lenders out there like Flynn Family Lending. Tightening credit guidelines and frozen capital markets allowed small lenders like us to shine in a moment of crisis. Investors became acutely aware of how important it can be to work directly with key business decision makers and those who control their own fund sources. Demand for private money will remain strong for the remainder of 2021 and likely beyond.

Q: What are you doing differently today to move your company forward than you were 6 months ago?

Our business model and key differentiation in our market has traditionally been direct placement of whole note investments over pooling funds. Our investors prefer to work with us because they have

more control and security being individually named on a note and deed. And, quite frankly, we preferred the more personalized approach and autonomy whole notes provide. However, with the increased volume since COVID, capital deployment can become challenging, at times. As we continue to grow, we finally felt it was time to start a fund (with the help of Geraci – thanks Kevin and Tae!) as a complementary offering for our investors to place their funds. We’re excited for this new fund to be created and with trust already established with our current investor base due to our conservative approach to underwriting, the transition won’t actually be as difficult as originally anticipated.

Q: How has your company evolved since its inception?

It started off with just my husband (my boyfriend back then) and me working on private money part-time as a side hustle to our day jobs. We had only two investors and some of our own funds to lend. After two years and 2x growth each year, we decided to quit our day jobs and do private lending full time.

While we’ve grown substantially over the years, our culture and core values have remained the same.

We chose the name Flynn Family Lending in the beginning because we wanted to set ourselves apart from the bigger lenders in our market as a small and local lender who truly cared about its community.

How can a mom-and-pop shop like us compete when other lenders have

Beth Flynn: Continues on pg. 36

April 2021 Originate Report 35
Beth Flynn, Managing Partner Flynn Family Lending

warehouse lines and large marketing spend? We chose to differentiate ourselves based on the way we choose to approach business – treating others like they are family and ensuring every participant involved in the transaction is well cared for with win-win-win outcomes.

Q: What is something most people don’t know about your company?

I make homemade lunch and snacks for my team several times a week. We truly embrace our brand promise and company culture of treating everyone we work with like they are part of our family. I take pride in making a home-cooked meal for our team. It’s a labor of love and a small token of my appreciation for all they do. I hope they know how much I care about them (and their families) and how valuable I think they are to our success.

Q: What has been the highlight so far in your career?

Everything – this business has become my baby. I can’t say one thing stands out, but for me personally –the less business-oriented one – was the challenge and struggle of building a business with my life partner. We never planned on spending so much time together and certainly didn’t think our business would grow to become what it is today. I’d be lying if I said it was kittens and rainbows all day long. The reality is that we enjoyed the fruits of our labor the first year and after that it was a real issue trying to handle the growth

while taking care of ourselves and each other. But we never gave up – on the business and each other –and now we’ve finally overcome the challenges of scaling a company and have grown stronger as a couple and a family. It was not a pretty journey behind closed doors, but I wouldn’t change anything about what we’ve done and how far we’ve come.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Relax and enjoy the ride. I was so serious as a young professional; always focused on the “next step”. As a young woman, I methodically planned my college graduation, getting hired into my first corporate job, finding and marrying the “perfect” guy, having a baby, working towards the next promotion. And then, in my late 30s, it all came crashing down. After divorce, I lost almost everything I had worked so hard for. But now, I’m far better off emotionally, personally, and professionally than ever before. I would never have had such clarity without losing it all and deciding afterwards to just let it all go and enjoy the ride for once in my life.

estate community. It’s been one happy accidental journey, for sure, but in all honesty, we started private lending so that we could be at home with our kids more. Our basement is our home office where our team works, and the kids come down often to check in with us.

It has been humbling to experience such immediate success without much control over the process. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but I never quit. I found that some of my best decisions were made in times of crisis. The establishment of Flynn Family Lending has saved me in some small way – both personally and professionally. I still like to be in control, though, so let’s just call this a work in progress.

Q: What piece of advice did you personally receive early in your career that has helped shaped decisions you’ve made?

All the planning in the world does not always mean you’ll create success. The funny thing is none of ours was planned! I certainly never planned on starting my own business, and we never planned on growing as fast as we did. I never thought I would be helping others achieve generational wealth through real estate and be an influential part of the local real

One thing that still resonates with me every day occurred at my first job out of college. I was an advertising coordinator for the Home Depot, which was my first exposure to corporate culture and values. One of the core values was “Do the Right Thing”, which is such a simple phrase – vague enough to mean anything, but strong enough to compel you to act accordingly. To this very day, I strive to do the right thing – for my team, for my family, for my borrowers and investors, for my community. I don’t always make the right choices but it’s my Northern star and a guiding principle in all I do.

Beth Flynn: Continued from pg. 35

Q: Tell us about a person or organization you admire. How have they made an important impact on you, the industry, or the world?

This is a bit cliché, but I would say my parents. They taught me as a young kid that you won’t get rich working a day job. Mom would read Money magazine in her recliner and tell me about what she learned in hopes of instilling personal financial acumen. My dad was a woodshop teacher, and on weekends and summers he would flip houses way before the term “flipping” was even coined. I learned the art of the side hustle from them. Mom stayed at home, and she taught me to take care of those I loved first, and then business comes second. My dad taught me intuition when it comes to real estate that I don’t see as much today. These lessons have served me well over the years and made me a better real estate investor and lender. I would never have gotten into the real estate business if it wasn’t for them.

Q: How have you turned a career mistake or failure into success in your career?

Though I don’t necessarily consider is a mistake or failure, I think my overzealous career planning made it difficult for me to see opportunities beyond myself and my defined goals at the time. I really had no idea I had it in me to run a small business and, to be honest, I didn’t desire to. This accidental journey I’m on has given me so much personally and really allowed me to blossom.

Q: What do you predict for the future in private lending throughout the end of this year and beyond?

As mentioned earlier, I try not to foresee, plan, or predict the future as it hasn’t served me well in the past. I’m trying to live in the moment and solve each day’s challenges head-on and celebrate each success – however big or small – for what it is. But, if I had a crystal ball, I think we’ll see a lot of growth in this sector. Real estate continues to be hot all over the country and affordability and

lack of housing remains an evergreen headline the industry. The need for alternative and creative lending solutions will remain strong.

Q: If you had a clean slate to start over and do anything you wanted to do, what would that be?

Absolutely nothing. I believe in the butterfly effect and that if I had the ability to change a part of my past, it could alter where and who I am now. That’s not something I’m willing to leave up to chance. I love where I’m at now and my battle scars are what gives me depth.

Q: How do you want to be remembered? What have you done to cultivate that feeling from others?

I want to be remembered as someone who cared deeply and gave back to others. I cultivate this with others by listening actively, being authentic and vulnerable, and showing empathy. For my team, I embrace the role of a servant leader and for my family and friends I try to do small acts of service, so they know I’m always thinking of them.

April 2021 Originate Report 37 CONTACT: beth@flynnfamilylending.com SHARE YOUR STORY! If you would like to be our next featured Industry Spotlight, reach out to us at: submissions@originate.report

Builders Capital-What’s in the Secret Sauce?

Builders Capital views themselves as an extension of your team. With offices around the country and headquarters located in Seattle, Washington, the group offers a wide range of loan programs for builders, developers, and real estate investors. To better understand the Builders Capital ‘secret sauce,’ including how the group has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, Originate Report sat down with Chairman and Founder, Curt Altig.

“Acting as an extension of a borrower or lender’s team,” Curt said, “is at the forefront of the Builders Capital mantra. In a world that is ‘awash with capital,’ it is essential to value customer relationships, innovation in the real estate space, and invest in technology that extends outside the ‘basics’ required to complete a transaction.”

build extend all the way through a project, and we’re going to be with those borrowers every month as they complete their draws and get their project to the finish line. Our team is there, side-by-side, to troubleshoot hiccups that come down the pipeline so that once a project comes to fruition, they can move to the next project and see their business grow.”

“As much as it’s about that initial product, the programs we put into place, it’s only the critical first step,” he said. “The relationships we

Builders Capital operates in numerous markets across the country and provides loan programs in states that differ significantly


in regulation, requirements, and infrastructure. Though some lenders may view this as an insurmountable challenge rife with headaches and complications, Curt said that his group works to streamline processes using the latest technology and a much more subtle element, the team that sees deals to their completion.

“Our borrowers are interfacing with us at least once a month, so they have long forgotten what the rate and fee is,” he said. “Outside of our operation hub in Seattle, for example, when someone is making a loan in Orlando, we make sure that we have people placed strategically, who are familiar with the area, so deals can be completed on schedule.”

More important to Curt, however, than the strategic placement of personnel is a commitment to bringing personal attention – the Builders Capital touch – to every customer relationship. This includes having boots on the ground across the country and encapsulating a pledge to invest in technology. Curt admitted that at times, the lending industry relies on ‘arcane technology’ to complete deals, but in today’s fast-paced, technologydriven marketplace, it is essential to know what customers want and how to provide it.

“We have around $8 million invested in our technology platform,” Curt said. “You will be hard-pressed to find that sort of commitment elsewhere in the lending world. We realized early on that selecting a product off of the shelf would not work, so we doubled-down on our commitment to implementing our platform into the backbone of our business.”

“A core component of this platform,” he said, “is serving as a one-stopshop for lending professionals from across the country. But paired with this platform, is an element that is ‘make or break’ for any organization, the culture.”

people enjoy coming into work, there is a camaraderie in place that allows people to work with each other and solve any issues that may come up. We want to deliver on our brand promise, and there’s a culture in place where it’s safe to encourage suggestions – every person, by themselves, doesn’t have all the answers. We’re a team.”

Curt added that a critical component of Builders Capital’s success is its ‘extremely flat’ organization. He said that you won’t find ‘layers of hierarchy’ like other organizations and that all team members roll up their sleeves to see a project to completion.

Looking forward to a postcoronavirus economy, Curt said that Builders Capital is continually looking for new markets to grow into, adding that the ‘big, audacious goal’ is to be the largest private construction lender in the country.

“Make no mistake – our team works very hard, and there is a high expectation for performance and execution. At the same time, there is an environment in place where

CONTACT: https://builders-capital.com/

“We are squarely pointed in the direction of continued growth,” he said. “We are building our team, investing in technology, and continuing to secure deals that fully encapsulate the breadth of our experience and expertise in this space. I couldn’t be prouder of the way our team has dealt with this situation, the pandemic, and I think we will emerge from this period ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

April 2021 Originate Report 39

The Machines Are Going to Put You Out of Business: Automate or Die

In my first year of practice, my now business partner Anthony Geraci said to me, “Nema, in ten years technology is going to make transactional attorney jobs obsolete. Legal Zoom has already started removing entry-level corporate work, and they are going to keep advancing and eventually put us all out of business.” At the time, I dismissed his assertion as an overly

pessimistic futurist proclamation. Boy was I wrong.

I started practicing law in 2010. Similar to now, I was preparing loan documents. Back then, we had a form bank of documents that we would use when preparing a set of loan documents. There was a Word document for the Promissory Note, another for the Deed of Trust, etc.

Clients would send us deal terms in an e-mail and I would get trained from a senior attorney about which documents we should use in the form bank based on the type of deal that was in front of me. In each loan folder there were usually 1015 Word documents which together made up the loan. We worked with a handful of clients and typically charged about $600 for a set of


business purpose loan documents. The process took about 3-5 business days and everyone was okay with that.

Each year, we gained more and more clients, started hiring more attorneys, and tried to figure out ways to become a little faster at what we were doing. As is typical for a law firm, we would increase our billing rates, first to $775 for loan documents, then $800, then $1,000. Instead of multiple different Word documents, I put my law degree to great use and formatted a few different loan document sets which would cover different loan scenarios,

including one set for a loan with a personal guaranty, another when there were two borrowers, etc. Better yet, I figured out how to use an Excel mail merge process where I could code various fields such as the borrower’s name and property addresses. I would complete the coded fields and then VOILA! Loan documents were 70% complete by the time I filled in the Excel sheet. We were not a law firm, we were becoming a tech company! Or so I thought.

In 2014, I tried increasing our fee to prepare loan documents to $1,200 and for the first time started to see opposition from our clients. They were explaining to me that interest rates were going down, more market competition was present, and that borrowers were becoming fee sensitive. At the same time, we were growing as a law firm and in order to retain the top talent, we needed to increase the salaries we were paying our attorneys to prepare documents. I found myself in a bit of a pickle. Worse yet, we had hit a scale and size where we were handling so many transactions that attorneys were re-using old loan files to try to gain speed, but in the process, they were making mistakes by not clearing out old transactional data. Our clients were rightfully upset. No one wants to pay for an attorney who produces poor work product.

funds who started calling me to let me know that they were planning on making loans outside of California in order to keep their interest rates up for their investors. They wanted our law firm to prepare loan documents with the help of local counsel to make sure that the documents were enforceable in each state in which they were lending. I was really stuck from an efficiency perspective. I had no way to keep a form bank of documents with all these states and making sure the documents were updated. We were constantly revising documents each time we entered a new market, and often times updating them again when we re-entered a state based on a recommendation of outside counsel.

I was named partner at Geraci LLP in December 2015. At the time there were six attorneys on my team including me and a new reality set in. Clients demanded loan documents be produced cheaper, faster, and with no errors. There is an old saying that you can only ever get two of these three: Cheap, Fast, or Good. I was now tasked to produce all three, and if I couldn’t, we would no longer have jobs.

I didn’t know it then, but the World had changed, and we were in a fight for our survival.

During that time period, our clients were primarily California mortgage

One of our clients requested to purchase a set of template loan documents from us. He asked if I could code them using a free online tool. I told him that I didn’t know what the tool was and could not help. Instead, I kept trying to figure out how to maximize using mail merge and other Excel based tools in order

Automate or Die: Continues on pg. 42

April 2021 Originate Report 41

to try to reduce drafting time for loan documents.

The problem was that loans were becoming exceedingly complicated. Gone were the days where there was a single borrower, with a single principal signing loan documents. We were dealing with complex entity structures, complex deal terms, multiple properties, and multiple states, making basic automation useless. Instead of being 70% complete by the time we were done with the Excel file, we were at best 25%. We were becoming Good but not Cheap or Fast enough.

One Sunday I was playing catch up as I often had to do, and I remembered my conversation with my client about the free online tool he was using. I went to the company’s website and spent the next several hours watching tutorials and various videos of how the software worked. Unlike mail merge where you needed to use different document sets for different loan scenarios, the software permitted a user to start using conditions. For example, I could write a condition which stated that if there was no text entered into the “Guarantor” field, then the document stack should not produce the Guaranty. Better yet, it would modify the recitals in other documents to remove any reference to a Guarantor. While this may sound easy, it was in fact revolutionary. The software was dynamically changing

sentence structures based on the conditions we were programming. We were beginning to build loan document automation software.

From 2015 to 2017 we pushed the software to its limits. We hired outside consultants who would code our documents, started coding custom client conditions directly into the loan documents, and began

due to lack of complexity, (4) performed by a remote attorney at a cheaper labor rate, or in the worst case scenario, (5) performed by an attorney on your payroll locally. He rightfully noted that clients would continue to push down fees and lawyers would need to only focus on tasks that require a high degree of skill: strategy, negotiation, and

to see the fruit of our labor. We were able to keep our prices down and were delivering work product that was fast and high quality.

Then in 2018 I read a book called Tomorrow’s Lawyers by Andrew Susskind. The book talked about automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and a bunch of other buzzwords that I had heard but knew little about. The author’s basic premise was that the lawyers of tomorrow would only do three things: strategy, tactics, and negotiations. He also discussed how you should take most job tasks and then break them down into their most basic units and determine whether the task could be: (1) performed by software, (2) offshored to a non-attorney for almost no fee, (3) performed by a non-attorney

tactics. Anything repeatable would not be done by an attorney; better yet, anything repeatable would not be done by humans at all.

I then started to think about how these principles applied to my area of practice. To prepare a set of loan documents, I need to:

1. Obtain the terms from the client (could be done by software if we can either tap into a client’s CRM system or have them enter terms online).

2. Obtain documents from the client such as operating agreements, articles of incorporation, title reports, and other documents (could be done by someone who is skilled enough to understand what documents are necessary and why, and have an ability

Automate or Die: Continued from pg. 41
The problem was that loans were becoming exceedingly complicated. Gone were the days where there was a single borrower, with a single principal signing loan documents.

to read through the documents to understand if there are deficiencies).

3. Analyze the documents provided to determine signature authority, determine what form of title policy is correct, determine what types of title endorsements the loan should have, and determine whether the loan was compliant from a regulatory and statutory perspective (needs a highly skilled attorney or someone trained by an attorney).

4. Input the terms into software to generate the documents (could likely be outsourced to a cheap labor source).

5. Produce the documents using software.

6. Review the documents to make sure they are complete, compliant, and match the client’s desires (requires a highly skilled attorney based on complexity).

Up to this point, we had attorneys performing all six tasks above. We immediately hired several loan processors, purchased best in class automation software, and began furiously coding and re-engineering the way we practice law.

wanted us to perform so they could control costs and purchase only what they wanted.

Today, we have built out a fully automated online loan documentation system called Lightning Docs. A client can go online, enter loan terms, and instantaneously receive the same loan documents that we would have produced by using the same automation we use in house. The deals can have multiple borrowers, multiple properties, prepayment penalties, interest holdbacks, impounds, complex entity structures, construction, membership pledges, collateral security agreements, and a myriad of other complex drafting features and yet be downloaded instantly. We offer this as a standalone service to our clients for as little as $200 per loan file.

we’re not stopping anytime soon. But what about modifications, forbearances, loan sale agreements, and other loan-related agreements? What about private placements, litigation pleadings, and all other legal documents? If it’s repeatable, it’s automatable.

I looked at the task list above and started breaking down the time and expertise and stopped thinking about the preparation of loan documents as a single task which cost around $1,000. Instead, it was six distinct tasks and we needed to be able to offer our clients the ability to pick and choose which ones they

Now I spend most of my time focusing on advancing automation at the company. At any given time, I am working with numerous outside technical vendors including web developers, internal and external document coders, and workflow consultants to try to create a better loan document solution. We built a best in class nationwide online loan document solution that produces thousands of loan documents per month, and

But what about you? Do you repeat any task daily? Do you manually update a Word document when issuing a Letter of Intent? Are you the only person who is technically trained to perform each and every task that you perform at work? If not, you may not realize it now, but you’re fighting for your survival as well. We are just scratching the surface of what software can produce and if you are not harnessing technology and breaking down every task into its basic units, you are on the wrong side of history.

Technology is great – it lets us perform tasks in less than an hour which used to take us 6-8 hours. But here’s the thing: someone with technical skills is looking at your job right now and figuring out how to do it cheaper, faster, and better.

Maybe Anthony wasn’t so crazy after all.

April 2021 Originate Report 43
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nema Daghbandan is a Partner with Geraci LLP. He primarily representing lenders, brokers, and loan servicers nationwide. His practice revolves around the preparation of documents and providing compliance advice. Mr. Daghbandan also possesses a deep expertise in loss mitigation and advises in the management of defaulted loans nationally.
CONTACT: nema@geracillp.com |

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April 2021 Originate Report 45 DAILY DISCUSSION POINTS • Q & A FORUM WEEKLY EDUCATIONAL EVENTS • MONTHLY VIRTUAL NETWORKING SERIES Facebook: Private Lending Lessons | Email: alex@infiniteroadinvestments.com Private Lending Lessons is a Facebook community for people who are new to private lending or want to network with others in the private lending space. Learning where to start, the right questions to ask, the resources you might need, and the key steps to help mitigate your risk are crucial to your success as a private lender. Education is Key in Private Lending Come learn, support, network and enjoy private lending in a collaborative fun filled online environment.


Ani Kamikyan, LBC Capital Income Fund, LLC

Ani Kamikyan is an analytical and result-driven underwriting professional with expertise in assessment of the risk of the real estate, entities and guarantors, project income analysis. She possesses a high-level knowledge of entire loan underwriting process. Moreover, Ani not only underwrites the files, but she frequently does property inspections and borrower loan signings. Ani is also an expert in the secondary market for mortgage notes to be sold at the secondary market. Ani holds a Broker’s license from the Department of Real Estate, MLO license from Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry and a notary license. Prior to joining LBC Capital Income Fund, LLC, Ani worked as a banker at US Bank. https://lbccapital.com/

Bobby Khorshidi, Archway Capital

Bobby Khorshidi is President and CEO of Archway Capital LLC, where he manages the firm’s expansion and credit decisions. Archway Capital provides bridge debt and equity to Commercial Real Estate sponsors nationwide. The firm operates its business thru a series of discretionary funds that it manages, focusing primarily on lower -middle and middle-market transactions. The firm’s products include traditional bridge debt, structured subordinate financing, Preferred/Co-GP equity, and whole loan acquisitions. The principals of Archway Capital collectively manage over 7B in assets.

Bobby has more than 20 years of experience in various real estate investment and management areas, both as a lender and investor. His expertise includes purchasing and restructuring non-performing loans, originating, and underwriting real estate loans, and investing in CRE as an operator. Bobby started out his career and spent a decade as an underwriter, loan officer and manager at Wells Fargo Bank, where he was responsible for funding more than $1.5 billion in loans.

Bobby’s civic activities includes his appointment to the Board of Advisors of UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital and his involvement with Chai Lifeline. He is big fan of MLB and always rooting for the Dodgers. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and 3 children. https://www.archwayfund.com/

David Chen, Esq., Activist Legal

David Chen is a Partner with Activist Legal, LLP, and has represented national banks and institutional lenders in foreclosure, bankruptcy, and eviction matters for over ten years. Based in the District of Columbia, Activist Legal, LLP facilitates legal services in the areas of real estate, mortgage, banking, and private investor transactions for non-performing loans and assets. The firm provides centralized access to default law firms, allowing servicers and private investors to manage defaulted assets nationwide. Activist Legal maintains relationships with creditor’s rights law firms in all 50 states, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, to provide effective and cost-conscious foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction, and other default-related services. https://activistlegal.com/

David Christensen. Red Oak Capital Group

David has over 35 years of commercial mortgage experience encompassing a range of refinance, construction, acquisition, mezzanine debt and joint venture equity activity. He is a designate member of CCIM as well.

David joined Red Oak Financial in January 2021 and serves as Regional Manager, Northwest division. David is based in San Francisco and will be responsible for leading commercial real estate loan origination efforts for the firm’s bridge lending programs, encompassing deal analysis, underwriting, as well as structured financing. https://redoakcapitalgroup.com/


Emil Khodorkovsky, Forbix

Emil Khodorkovsky is the founding partner of Forbix Financial, which is a direct HUD lender. Forbix also offers all types of commercial loans, including bridge, acquisition, refinance, and CMBS loans. In addition to being a lender, Emil has developed and owned more than 1,000 apartment units nationwide. This gives him the unique perspective of being a lender, owner, and developer. Whether he is talking to a client about their first commercial investment or a seasoned developer, he gives everyone the same attention. It is his unique background in both lending and real estate investment that has proven to be invaluable to his clients.

He lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife and son and founded a non-profit organization to foster entrepreneurship among children. https://forbix.com/

Eric Abramovich, Roc Capital

Eric Abramovich is the Co-Founder and Chief Credit Officer of Roc Capital and has pioneered its Residential Private Lender Program which has contributed in originating over $3 billion in loans. Previously, Mr. Abramovich was a director at Deutsche Bank where he managed a quantitative equity long/short strategy trading Japanese equities. Additionally, he co-founded an investment vehicle which invested in distressed residential real estate assets post the financial crisis. Mr. Abramovich holds a B.A. in Finance and Actuarial Science from the Stern School of Business at New York University. https://roccapital.com/

Grace Soueidan, Temple View Capital

Ms. Soueidan is the Chief Lending Officer of Temple View Capital, and is responsible for risk management, funding and underwriting operations and information technology. Ms. Soueidan brings to this role over 30 years of mortgage industry knowledge. Prior to joining TVC, Ms. Soueidan was Head of Single Asset Lending at CoreVest (a Colony Capital company) and held the positions of Chief Operating Officer, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Lending Officer at various financial and banking institutions, including FirstKey Lending, Peak Corporate Network and IndyMac Bank. Ms. Soueidan earned a BA Degree in Business Administration from Beirut University College. https://www.templeviewcap.com/

Greg Hebner, Arixa Capital

Mr. Hebner serves as Arixa Capital’s Managing Director and Portfolio Manager. In this capacity, he has primary responsibility for investment strategy, originations and operations of the Firm’s verticallyintegrated lending platform.

Mr. Hebner brings over 20 years of real estate experience having invested in more than 1,600 transactions deploying over $1.7 billion in capital on behalf of investors and partners. Prior to joining Arixa, he was Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Community Rebuild Partners , a California-based real estate development firm that acquired, renovated and sold residential real estate properties. https://www.arixacapital.com/

Jeb Mason, Mindset

Jeb is a Partner at Mindset where he has spent the last ten years building the firm's diverse and successful advisory practice.

Jeb is a highly adept policy strategist, sought after for his expertise on housing finance policy, financial regulatory reform, and complex financial market problems with a nexus to Washington. He advises mortgage market participants on the policy landscape with an eye toward the technology and regulatory transformation taking place in housing finance markets. He also specializes in helping institutional investors, global brands, and startups navigate risks and capitalize on opportunities in today's dynamic public policy environment. https://mindsetdc.com/

John Beacham, Toorak Capital Partners

John is the CEO and founder of Toorak Capital Partners, the largest correspondent capital provider to the private real estate lending industry. Prior to Toorak, John was the founder and president of B2R Finance, a leading single family rental and residential bridge loan originator. He also led Deutcshe Bank’s SFR lending initiative, where he structured the first-ever SFR securitization and originated more than $5 billion in SFR loans. In total, John has completed more than $50 billion in transactions and has structured financings which won CMBS or structured finance “Deal of the Year” awards four times. https://www.toorakcapital.com/

Kendra Rommel, Civic Financial Services

A mortgage professional of over 20 years, Kendra, began her career at the tail end of the savings & thrift crisis in the 90’s. She was only 17 when she began as a loan officer working for Coast Security Mortgage. Her desire to learn more, lead her through her many successful years in operations as a processor, funder, post closer, & operations manager in organizations across Orange County, CA. Kendra’s most recent 12 years has been spent in asset management, capital markets, & private lending. She holds multiple state originator’s licenses & regularly attends industry training to stay ahead of industry news. https://www.civicfs.com/

April 2021 Originate Report 47

Mark Hanf, Pacific Private Money

Mark Hanf is CEO of San Francisco Bay Area-based Pacific Private Money Inc., a full-spectrum alternative real estate loan provider to consumers and investors in California. Mark’s real estate career spans over 35 years, including 25 years in commercial development and management, and 13 years in private lending. https://www.pacificprivatemoney.com/

Mitch Ohlbaum, Macoy Capital

Mr. Ohlbaum is a licensed real estate broker and loan officer with more than 23 years of experience in the industry. As President of Macoy Capital Partners, he is responsible for business development and loan acquisition for privately funded, commercial, and construction loans, including ground up and fix and flip construction. Recognized as a leader within the real estate and lending industries, Mr. Ohlbaum has been featured as an expert in the media including appearances on CNBC as well as dozens of interviews in major publications including: The Wall Street Journal; Business Week; LA Times; and the LA Business Journal. He is also a longtime and weekly contributor to the rate trend index Bankrate.com. https://www.macoycapital.com/

Noah Brocious, Capital Fund 1

Noah is a principal and the President of CFI which was founded in 2009. After graduating from California Lutheran University in 2003 where he played 4 years of Men’s Basketball, he started his career in real estate and has been in the industry ever since having experience in private lending as well as residential and commercial development. Noah lives in Scottsdale with his wife, Jenna, and their 5-year-old son, Bear. https://capitalfund1.com/



Bench Equity

Paul D. Cardon is a principal of Bench Equity, LLC, a private money lending company headquartered near Phoenix, Arizona. Bench Equity originates and services its own loans as a portfolio lender, and as of early 2021, is quickly approaching $1 billion in loan originations. Paul began his professional career as an attorney at a Phoenix law firm focusing his practice on real estate litigation where he represented lenders, borrowers, landlords, tenants, sellers, and buyer in resolving real estate disputes. In his current role, Paul oversees Bench Equity’s lending operations and investor relations. Paul’s greatest joy stems from his family—his wife and six children. https://benchequity.com/

Paul Rahimian, Parkview Financial

Paul Rahimian manages a national debt fund that provides construction financing to ground-up real estate development projects. He founded Parkview Financial in early 2009 and has since originated hundreds of commercial and residential loans, always plying his trademark, hands-on management style. He has been widely recognized as an industry pioneer as he was one of the first to offer complete integration of loan origination and servicing under one roof. Prior to becoming a lender, Paul was a third-generation real estate developer and general contractor. Between 1988 and 2009, he successfully completed over $350 million in commercial and residential projects. His vast expertise and knowledge in the construction and development industry has benefited both Parkview and its borrowers. Paul received his bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Business/Economics and his Juris Doctorate from USC. https://www.parkviewfinancial.com/

Peter Steigleder, Fidelity Mortgage Lenders Inc.

Peter Steigleder, Chief Operating Officer of Fidelity Mortgage Lenders, Inc., and Co-Founder of Hudson Commercial Partners, Inc. brings with him 27 years of finance, commercial real estate and economic development experience.

Peter served as Director of Economic Development for the German Consulate General in Los Angeles. In 1999, Peter began his real estate career at Beitler Commercial. In 2006, Peter joined Lee & Associates where his consistent status as one of the company’s top producers quickly elevated him to Principal status. In 2009, he joined Delphi Business Properties as a partner before founding Hudson Commercial Partners. https://fidelityca.com/

Randy Newman, Total Lender Solutions

Randy is the founder and CEO of Total Lender Solutions, a foreclosure trustee representing lenders in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas. An attorney licensed in New York for over 30 years, he specializes in complex commercial foreclosures. He frequently contributes articles and is a highly rated speaker on topics surrounding default and foreclosure. Randy is the current president of the United Trustees Association, the national trade organization for foreclosure trustees. https://totallendersolutions.com/


Ryan Craft, Saluda Grade

Ryan Craft is the Founder and CEO of Saluda Grade, and has spent his entire career focused on mortgage-backed securities and securitized products. Most recently, Ryan was the Head of Securitized Product Sales at Baird, where he built out a fully bolstered sales and trading division by hiring over 25 new salespeople and adding multiple new trading and banking businesses. Mr. Craft began his career at Merrill Lynch as a Non Agency and Subprime RMBS trader through the 2008 financial crisis. After the BofA acquisition, he traded the ABX and CMBX credit default swap indices mapping Subprime and Commercial mortgages. After transitioning to Securitized Product sales, he was recruited to join Royal Bank of Canada after becoming a top producer across Bank of America’s Global Fixed Income division. Mr. Craft earned a BS in Finance & Management from Georgetown University, where he captained the Hoyas baseball team and earned First Team All-BIG EAST honors. https://www.saludagrade.com/

Sam Chivitchian, Secured Capital Lending, Inc.

“Sam” Sarkis Chivitchian is the CEO and founder of Secured Capital Lending, Inc. Sam is a private investor and real estate broker who specialize in private lending and has originated and closed over 1000 deals in the last 15 years . Sam was nominated as the broker of the year at the 2020 National Hard Money Lending Conference at the Pitbull event. Sam also is a former professional MMA fighter who fought for the UFC and is a judo black belt. https://securedcaplending.com/

Sarper Beyazyurek, Churchill Real Estate

Sarper Beyazyurek is a Managing Director of Churchill Real Estate. Prior to Churchill, Sarper was at Wells Fargo Securities, where he managed the $10B Mortgage Finance Whole Loan portfolio, overseeing the analysis, valuation, and pricing for nonperforming, re-performing, and REO assets. Sarper holds a B.S. in Economics and Finance from Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey and a M.S. in Information Technology with a concentration in Finance from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. https://www.churchillre.com/

Scott Rerucha, Legacy Group Capital LLC

Scott is the CEO and a co-founder of Legacy Group Capital (LGC). Scott is a mortgage industry veteran possessing over 27 years of experience. From 2006 to 2014 Scott was the President & CEO of Legacy Group Holdings. His leadership saw Legacy Group Holdings become the 35th largest real-estate lender in the country. Scott’s industry experience and leadership will be instrumental in leading Legacy Group Capital to long-term growth and success. https://legacyg.com/

TR Hazelrigg IV, Avatar Financial Group

T.R. Hazelrigg IV is the co-founder and President of Avatar Financial Group. His responsibilities include loan origination and credit analysis as well as structuring Avatar’s national debt strategies. With over 25 years in the structured finance industry, Mr. Hazelrigg has built a vast network of real estate brokers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, investors and even competitors that provide Avatar with consistent high quality loan volume. In addition to these responsibilities, Mr. Hazelrigg is instrumental in raising both institutional and family office capital for the company. His vast experience is an essential asset to all aspects of Avatar’s portfolio management. https://www.avatarfinancial.com/

Zachary Streit, George Smith Partners

Zachary D. Streit works as part of a team that has closed $2.5BN in debt and equity structured financings in the last three years across a broad array of real estate transactions. He has significant experience arranging and closing land, construction, bridge and permanent financing across all commercial property types. Zachary’s clients recognize him for his relentless focus on execution and responsiveness. Zachary has more than a dozen years of real estate experience, including 5 years as a capital advisor, 5 years of experience as a principal lender and 3 years as an equity investor. Prior professional positions include: Managing Director of Originations for Anchor Loans LP; Vice President of Originations at Colony American Finance, a Colony Capital subsidiary; Founder and President of Streit Lending; and Investment Associate, Aviva Investors’ Global Real Estate MultiManager Group. Zachary has a Master of Science in Real Estate Finance from New York University, a Juris Doctorate from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a Bachelor of the Arts, Summa Cum Laude, in Political Science from Yeshiva University. Zachary remains involved with his alumni associations. https://www.gspartners.com/

April 2021 Originate Report 49
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