The Underwriters – How A Small Team Is Turning Underwriting Into Big Business
A keen eye can spot a good deal. And for New York-based Central Diligence Group, an underwriting-focused company founded in 2015 by four partners, it has been a boon for business. The company has lately been providing its underwriting expertise to a wider variety of clients, including some outside the MCA space.
“We started to gear towards a more underwriting-centric model [where] a deal would come in, we underwrite it once, we assess the risk, we determine what box it would fall under and where it would qualify, and depending on what that pedigree of information [was], we would essentially [fulfill] the full underwriting [job,]” said Nick Gregory, one of the founding partners at Central Diligence.
Initially, the company provided underwriting services mostly to smaller funders, syndication brokers and ISO clients that service MCA merchants in the construction and trucking businesses, among others. But close to three years later, its roster of clients is far more diverse.
Over the past six to eight months, Central Diligence has been working with a west coast-based credit card processing company with a portfolio of over 100,000 clients, according to Andrew Hernandez, another Central Diligence partner. The credit card processing company has just built out its own MCA product, but they don’t have an underwriting team, which is where Central Diligence comes in. Hernandez said that this company, the identity of whom he could not disclose, just renewed its contract with them.
Another unique client is an institutional investor, with offices in New York and Dallas, that just formalized a new working relationship with Central Diligence over the last week to go beyond just underwriting and into the realm of funding and servicing. According to Hernandez, this client is looking to make investments in MCA at the higher end of the market.
“In our space, $50,000 to $250,000 is pretty easy to come by, but $250,000 to $1 million, not so much,” Hernandez said. “So they see that there’s a gap with small businesses…and they’re using us to do [due] diligence [on companies.]”
Finally, Central Diligence is finishing an agreement with another unconventional client, an overseas mortgage company with interest in MCA. According to Hernandez, it is looking to execute a kind of beta test in the U.S. and then take the business model to Europe if it works.
In addition to the four founding partners, who work as underwriters, there are four additional underwriters and two junior underwriters for a total of ten on staff.
Hernandez attributes these new opportunities to the reputation they have built in the MCA space, including the 10+ years of experience that each of the founding partners have.
“Because of our experience and history in the space, a lot of our relationships have been built because of our credibility,” Hernandez said. “That’s the most important.”Last modified: December 27, 2019
Todd Stone is a reporter for deBanked.