Direct Mail Still Very Effective, Says National Funding President Torrie Inouye

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Torrie Inouye National FundingWhen I met with San Diego-based National Funding President Torrie Inouye at Lendit, I was surprised to learn that the company had quietly funded $293 million to small businesses in 2015, enough to earn them a spot on deBanked’s top 10 alternative business funder list. The company isn’t new. They were founded in 1999, which puts them in the same category as CAN Capital, a 90s era relic that has not only survived but has continued to evolve and quite literally be a leader of the pack.

Inouye graduated from Stanford University in 2001 with a BA in Economics and started at National in 2004 where she worked as a Corporate Strategy Analyst. After 3 and a half years, she went on to play key roles at Union Bank and Intuit before returning back to National in the Fall of 2014. With a strong background in data analytics, Inouye took over as the company’s president just last week. Dave Gilbert, the company’s founder, has been the CEO since the beginning.

“Dave has always understood that data is valuable,” Inouye said, adding that she had been tasked with harvesting it.

“One of the trends that we’re seeing in our data is our direct mail response rates being much higher than what other people might expect,” she said. “We’re still surprising really good at direct mail.”

Others within the alternative lending space have made similar assertions, which ironically kind of undermines the concept of online lending itself. For Inouye, she says the online part is “the product.”

“You can control the message and you can control who you’re talking to with direct mail,” she explained. Though in a way the offline tactic is driving people to engage online. “A lot of our direct mail response comes through our website,” she said.

An expanded version of our interview will appear in deBanked’s May/June 2016 edition scheduled to come out in early June. Subscribe FREE here.

Last modified: April 16, 2016
Sean Murray

Category: Business Lending

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