Lending Leaders
Business and Social Responsibility

For this week’s Lending Leaders, Tim Nguyen, CEO and Co-Founder of BeSmartee, shares his thoughts on the importance of balancing good business practices with a sense of social responsibility. He delves into his family history, its impact on his business philosophy, and how that philosophy has grown with him and his company.

How did you get into the mortgage industry?

Like many, Tim’s entrance into the mortgage space was accidental. During his third year of college, he was hanging out with a buddy who was an appraiser. Tim learned the trade and ventured from there into origination. Where he felt most at home, however, was on the backend, crunching numbers.

He started a nationwide appraisal management company that grew into a nationwide title and escrow company, which he left in 2014.

Hearing stories of people who lost their homes due to the Great Recession had inspired Tim to design a way of originating loans that was more transparent, easier. He and his wife Veronica decided to take a year off work and gather their thoughts. Instead, they took only a month off and began working on BeSmartee.

How do you juggle social responsibility with business concerns?

The first step is financial sustainability. Financial controls. At BeSmartee, Tim and his team predict cashflow months in advance to ensure stability. Planning ahead means you don’t have to refinance your house to make payroll. Companies fail because they run out of cash. If you have a wonderful business and vision, but no cash, you can’t keep the lights on.

It’s actually through prudent financial planning that you put your family and employees first. It’s all about building stability that people can rely on.

What is your personal LodeStar?

Tim cites three things that make him who he is:

  • His parents were Vietnamese refugees who emphasized the importance of living in a free country, where people have financial opportunity and hard work is rewarded.
  • Tim’s first bed was the floor. His parents were rich in family, education, but came to America without any money. It took a while to build up familial wealth.
  • Despite his parents’ circumstances when the fled to America, there is an entrepreneurial spirit traceable to Tim’s great-great-grandfather. Business is always in the family conversation, generation after generation.

People start businesses for a number of reason: success, world change, money, etc. Others do it because it’s life or death. They have to make a living. For Tim, it used to be all about the entrepreneurial drive. He derived a sense of identity from his business ownership. This was his life.

But since having kids and growing as a person, he’s driven more by a sense of social responsibility and a desire to see others grow. He wants to see his family, his company, and his employees flourish.


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