It was tough from the beginning. We were starting a brand new business and the only impediment to our success was my lack of money. In addition we were running software that I had purchased from a competitor that ran on a platform called Firefox. To this day I still wonder whether for every bit of information I put in, I lost two other pieces. Software was on the top of the list to replace.. in addition it was great to have extremely talented people on board but having four or five generals and no enlisted people doesn’t work when you’re trying to start something like this. We needed to hire people who were intelligent, and trainable. People who could learn, pass a test and become certified counselors. It was during this time of find five people, keep one that I realized one of the biggest lessons that I’ve ever learned in business.
Employees murder businesses. It’s the truth. I fast forward six months now and I have six qualified people taking call ins from newspapers. Blurbs that I posted and paid for all of the country. I knew that what we were going to do was going to be big, was going to help a lot of people and save a ton of people a ton of money. I always looked at the banks as my enemy and I was building something that could fight back. And the years went by. And we got bigger and bigger and bigger. As I mentioned earlier our debt consolidation company opened its doors in January of ’98 and by 2001 we had a hundred plus employees. I had managers for every department. We had managers who managed the managers. We had 18,000 ft. of pure production that was there just to help our client get out of debt. And they kept calling us and we didn’t post in the newspapers anymore. Around 1999 we found the internet. That was back in the days before Yahoo, before Google when AOL was the only game in town and Excite was the search engine that powered it. At that point we were a large respected company and we were able to put ourselves in a position where no matter what the consumer searched for, we were number one We were FederatedFinancial.com Services and we were, and still are, is great at what we do. Saving people money. We were an ISO 9001 registered company that adhered to the strictest quality control measures in the world. We also handled millions of dollars every week. It was difficult to do. This is before the day that we could do Zelle transfers from our banks. People mailed money orders. The mail had to be opened every day.
On a Monday there could be 5,000 envelopes to open. I would sit with two of my girls and our conference room and that was my job. People trusted us and we returned their trust with results. We will one of the five largest debt consolidation companies in the country. We were a brand. As I write this I feel proud of all we accomplished. I know this little idea that I had turned really big and we’ve helped literally hundreds of thousands of people. As we grew bigger and bigger we needed more stuff. Had a couple of hundred computers in our office and we ran all of our own web servers which hosted all of our sites. Most importantly we became extremely Tech oriented to help the customer. Our first and foremost concern was helping our customers get out of debt and stay out of debt. That’s why we were able to take their debt and work with the biggest banks in the country. Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and so on, getting these Banks to reduce our clients interest rates in some cases down to 0%. Just like we do today. I felt completely vindicated.
I was able to make a good living but more importantly I was able to save good people real money. In those days I became a walking billboard. A billboard that told everybody the truth about the banks. Then the federal government stepped in. I guess they thought that all those dollars we took in on a big Monday belong to us because they had a problem with companies that did what we do. We withstood their audits and all the crap they threw at us. We were honest this the day was long and we were untouchable. I’m proud to say that I never took a dime that didn’t belong to me. That’s not in my nature. We traversed the Tri-County area with our director of education, sitting down with people who were completely obliterated by their debt and gave educational seminars on how to fix their problems. We did everything that we could within our power to make sure our little organization which wasn’t so little anymore, became a real player in client education. We pioneered so many things in this business. People copied us and actually managed to stay in business for a year or two. It’s easy to take paperwork from a company even when you have a non-compete and alter it. It can’t replace the people. The dedicated caring people that worked their butts off in some cases till 9:00 in the evening taking calls and fixing problems for our clients.
That’s what Federated did and that’s who Federated is. Federated was always my baby and I’m an honest man. not only did I take really good care of her employees but I took exceptional care of our clients and I treated them like family. We still do that today. I can say this in closing. If you ever chose to work with our company because you needed us you would be taken care of as though you were my son or daughter. That’s something you can take to the bank. In closing I just need to say that it’s been a privilege to be able to serve the people of America in the way that we have. I know that it’s very important for people to have good credit and maintain it. I’m really glad that one of my jobs is to facilitate that for folks. Especially now, during this pandemic the country needs honest moral people. if anybody doubts that log into Amazon and see what the price of paper towels and toilet paper is today. Price gouging during a pandemic is real snake time low. Unfortunately, people are doing that. I’m doing something different. I’m helping people to tell their creditors we have no money and I’m uncollectible by trying to put people in a position where they can say that honestly. And so, a chronicle of Federated financials life. We are the ultimate saving machine. We save our clients money we reduce their interest rates we get them out of debt more quickly than they could if they did it on their own and most importantly we care.