What caused the Great Recession of 2008?
Having worked four years at GE Consumer Finance before transferring to the San Francisco Bay area, Shekhar now faced an uncertain future. “VC funding dried up,” Shekhar recalled. “The company shut down, and here I was with no connections and no capital. But I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and that’s all the way back to when I was in business school. I wanted to start something on my own, and saw it as an opportunity.”
It was the same grace under pressure that would prompt Shekhar to see the mortgage meltdown of ’08 from a different angle. “I saw a lot of mayhem and pain caused by lack of education,” he said. “To me, the entire meltdown – not to blame any parties here – was lack of education to the consumer, to the borrower. They didn’t know what they were signing onto,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether a mortgage broker was getting them to sign on to something, or the bond agencies did not rate the MBS [mortgage-backed securities] correctly. Or the banks. It’s not about which party was responsible, because we know practically everyone was.”
His vision was equal parts personal ambition and altruism: “My thing was, of course, I wanted to start a business,” he reiterated. “But an altruistic goal was I was I wanted to do this in a way that I could educate future homebuyers so that in my small, little way, I hoped to prevent a crisis like that down the road – at least with the customers I worked with.”
Not that there weren’t moments of self-doubt along the way: “Of course, I quickly realized this was a really bad move to get in the mortgage business in 2008 when I had $1,900 and no connections.”
What are the advantages of blogging?
But then he took stock of his motivations, and was buoyed once more: “I struggled quite a lot, but very quickly realized why I got in the business, which was to educate. I started blogging in 2009. I was one of the first five or six mortgage brokers back then – nobody else was doing it from a perspective of building that educational platform. A lot of people at that point were moving away from print and going online for news consumption. That’s when I started building the foundation of my business in terms of providing education to future homebuyers.”
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