Business is still a positive force for change- An op ed on the Purpose of Business

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“Financing dreams, creating solutions.”

That was the motto of my firm during my foray into the mortgage-banking world. Our aim was not to simply sell a 30-year loan at a steadily rising interest rate, but rather to connect our clients to the means towards achieving the American Dream of owning their own house.

I entered the industry as a naïve teenager who thought doing business was only about selling products and making profits. How wrong I was.

There could not have been a simultaneously better and worse time to work in mortgage banking. On one hand, although interest rates were on the rise, they were still among the lowest in history. However, why was the industry still struggling to convince people to buy at a time when it would never again be cheaper to do so? The economic crises were all still fresh in everyone’s minds. In the court of public opinion, mortgage bankers were symptomatic of everything wrong with business- too bloated, too unregulated, and too self-serving.

Yet our firm was unique and thriving. We did not just sell loans; we simplified the homebuying process itself. We offered free credit repair consulting and held free seminars for first-time homebuyers. We paid attention to the little things, like helping clients on moving days. We offered our connections and made ourselves available as a one-stop guide.

It was through these actions that I learned the real purpose of business: it is on us as businessmen to do anything within our power to connect people towards positive change. My boss told me that individuals responded to value, not just dollars. Price was only an issue in the absence of value. As a mortgage-banking firm, it was our job to connect people towards the American Dream.

While corporate America struggles to reconcile profitability with social benefit, the lesson is simple. Business is still a positive force for change. True value ultimately leads to profit anyway. Don’t chase money; chase value and excellence. Then, success will undoubtedly chase you.

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