When it comes to software, it’s no secret that the better you understand your client, the more effective your solution. And regardless of which industry or vertical you’re in, the ability to walk in your clients’ shoes to understand their needs and pain points is invaluable.
As Kaihan Krippendorff writes in Fast Company:
“Companies don’t grow just to grow. They don’t last just to last. They thrive when the world needs them, when they are committed to solving a problem that matters.”
A software developer by trade, I knew little about the multi-family loan process when I first met with a HUD attorney over coffee in 2014. As we got to talking, I was immediately struck by how outdated the industry’s practices were. While the rest of the world was operating in the 21st century, loan underwriters were working almost exclusively in Microsoft Excel – the only tool available to them at the time – and dealing with problems and complications that had already been solved by modern technology.
I knew there had to be a better way, and I was committed to creating it.
I moved to St. Louis soon after to join a local lender and began working alongside a lender to gain hands-on experience with the long and tedious HUD loan process. I fully immersed myself: folding papers, stuffing envelopes, talking to borrowers, printing documents, figuring out the market to understand lenders’ pain points.
What I quickly learned was underwriters are plagued by a myriad of obstacles: almost zero uniformity, grueling checklists that are never followed, inconsistencies across multiple documents, non-negotiable boilerplate documents and other manual burdens resulting in an endless amount of frustration and increasingly long hours.
In addition to the nine to 12 months it takes to close a HUD loan, these loans are expensive, costing upwards of $80,000 in labor to close. And if lenders fail to close (or only make it halfway, which many of them do as a result of the complicated process), all – or sometimes half – of that money goes down the drain.
Reclaiming your time and money
Walking in your clients’ shoes allows businesses to build relationships with clients and develop an understanding of their needs to then personalize your products to meet those needs. My experience in the industry allowed me to do just that, and looking back, it was a crucial step that paved the way for LendingStandard.
We were able to identify a shortcoming in the multi-family lending space and created a practical solution that market-proofs businesses, reduces errors, improves efficiencies and keeps projects on track to take the pain out of the loan application process, allowing lenders to focus on the art of their craft.
LendingStandard launched in 2015 as an efficient, intuitive platform that minimizes errors and simplifies the process for underwriters to close more loans successfully. With an experienced team of more than 20 people in Kansas City, Denver and Minnesota, we’re changing the way multi-family lenders do business.
Rediscover the art of lending
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
As I reflect on the last five years of my journey founding and growing LendingStandard, these words ring true. When I sold my software company in 2014, I made it my mission to not only walk the path of multi-family underwriters, but to blaze a new trail that allows them to focus on what matters most: quickly and efficiently closing loans for their clients.
The path to success may require walking in your clients’ shoes, but forging a new path? That requires toppling obstacles to help them succeed. By freeing lenders from a complicated and antiquated process, we’re helping them rediscover the art of lending—and paving the way for a brighter future in the process.