We don’t often get to know the personal side of some of the bigger names in our business. Chris Fuelling, CEO of LendingWise, also has another title: Dad.
Chris said he’s looking forward to his two boys getting older so he can start teaching them his passion for building. That is, building both businesses and real property, which is something of a family affair. When not managing LendingWise, you can find Chris getting his hands dirty alongside his own dad on various building and remodeling projects.
Learn more about Chris:
How long have you been an AAPL member?
What AAPL benefit do you MOST value?
I love the AAPL Conference. They do an excellent job bringing the complete industry together with valuable, educational content. The networking is always amazing as well.
Why did you become a member?
It was my first outreach into the industry before I knew anyone, and they were the best decision I made to break through into the industry. I remember calling and speaking with Tim Drape, and asking questions about who would be a good fit for my product. He introduced me (before I became a member mind you) to Cheryl Caruso at First Rehab Lenders & Rob Barney at DHLC… Both are great customers for LendingWise.
What is your favorite AAPL memory?
I love the APPL conference in Vegas; the whole three-day experience is jammed packed with value and great connections. I meet every major player in the space and every up-and-comer, which is perfect for growing my business.
Why did you decide to enter the private lending profession?
I have been in the mortgage industry for 15 years now, with a focus in technology and software for the last 12. I have seen a lot of transformations of the mortgage lending industry, especially in conventional and private lending. After the mortgage crash of 2008, I was heavily involved with loss mitigation, handling over two million loans inside our platform across 1,000-plus companies. By 2015 I had seen a ton of investors buying low and selling high, so I wanted to get into the fix & flip game myself.
With the loss mitigation software platform on auto-pilot, I found my first deal, which was a huge project for a first time rehab: a $1.2 million 1930’s lakefront mansion that was in bad shape. But it had great bones and sat on two acres. Getting financing for the property wasn’t easy; I had to speak with many private lenders. I ended up finding Lending Home and went through their online application process and was surprised to see how many similarities their system had to my existing platform.
I knew from that moment that I had to get into the private lending LOS space. I had my engineering team start working on the necessary tweaks and spun up a new brand called LendingWise. While my team was working on the changes, I was working on my first fix and flip, which actually turned into our new home — my wife fell in love with the property and insisted we keep it! In order to save money, I did a lot of the work myself with my dad, which was an amazing experience.
It took about one year to finish the rehab and finish the first version of LendingWise. The timing was perfect! So with some fresh, hands-on experience in the fix and flip game and a shiny new LOS platform, I was ready to conquer the world right around November of 2017 at the AAPL Vegas conference.
What are some accomplishments you are particularly proud of?
Expanding our offices and development team in India; I actually flew there to meet and work with several new developers. Our team went from three developers to 12 with our new, custom-built office. We are continuing to grow our platform with numerous features that help private lenders do more loan origination and loan servicing.
I am super proud of our deep penetration into the private lending space. We work with some of the biggest names that everyone knows like Toby at Global Integrity, Fred Asini at First Rehab Lenders, Ed Stock at Insula Capital, Jeff Levin at Specialty Lending Group, Eddie Gant at Jet lending, Dave Chera at Express Capital, Bob at JCap, Trey at Secured Investment Lending, and just recently we added Sherman Bridge.
What is your favorite book, and why?
“Crushing It.” I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and this book. It’s blunt and on-point with the messaging. The business advice is not typical, and usually forces you do things that you may not think will work but in fact, actually do. It teaches you how to identify your strengths and weakness and how to overcome them or hire right to solve that gap.
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