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Recruiting the Right People - Underwriting

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

You can't do it all, so find those that compliment your talents.

My second management decision was in the underwriting department and yet again I wanted to learn from the decisions made in the past to strengthen the company in the future. I learned not to put all your eggs in one basket. Although the basket was fruitful for many years prior to the real estate collapse that one basket approach was also the demise of the company. I wanted a person that had the same idealism in portfolio diversification and the highest underwriting standards in the industry. This person would need to have experienced the real estate collapse and ironically he was with the responsibility of being instrumental in taking back the properties primarily in Las Vegas, which many would agree was one of the hardest hit cities in the country as it related to devaluation of property. This person would also have to possess the resilience in returning the greatest amount in capital to investors.

In walks Patrick Vassar as the clean-up crew. What he experienced was exactly what I was looking for in an underwriter. He was wading through the mud of a real estate tsunami. Everything was under a pile of mud that consisted of poor underwriting in collateralization, over concentration in location, borrower and product type past their prime, and market conditions tumbling out of control, to name of few of the issues he was facing. He had to determine what property needed immediate attention over another to protect the remaining value of the asset to sell it or stabilize the asset and table it market recovery. This type of experience in the collection and disposition of real estate assets, makes a recipe for a great underwriter. His skillset was perfectly matched with my vision for a new and improved commercial lender. He is well educated and experienced in his profession. For all those Carrie haters out there, Pat was young when I selected him, but that did not make him any less skilled in his profession. In fact, I would challenge them that his experience, gained at his young age, rivaled what had taken others decades to gain. Pat, like me knows his strengths and weaknesses and when necessary we share in the responsible of portfolio management. I have a keen sense of patience and persuasion, like a matador against troubled borrowers. Pat handles the real estate and I handle the people behind the real estate when necessary.

“like me, he knows his strengths and weaknesses and when necessary we share in the responsible of portfolio management.”

I experienced my share of underwriters before, during and after the real estate collapse. Of course, all of them thought I was incapable and uneducated in the field of real estate underwriting and collection, and in some ways I was, but I could put ego aside and recognize that weakness. That is why Pat is in the position he is. I cannot be everything and never claimed to be. What I do possess is common sense and fierce negotiation skills that rival many attorneys. I can see through what is truth and what is not. I am here and, in my position, to tell you that not only am I capable, but I’m successful and proud to continue to learn and grow about all aspects of real estate. I would love to hear from all those capable people that ran from the real estate collapse fire, when I was running into it to save a company they helped destroy.


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