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Monday, Feb 6, 2023
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Entrepreneur Profile – Jake Pescatello

Jake Pescatello, Anthony Balsamo, Trevor Gates and Alex Barnett are partners of Integrity First Financial Group, a La Jolla-based mortgage lending company.

VITALS

Name: Jake Pescatello.

Title: Principal partner.

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Company: Integrity First Financial Group.

Company address: 5687 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla.

Company phone: 866-606-4334.

Year founded: 2006.

Prior business experience: Mortgage finance, both retail and wholesale; finance and investments.

Average hours worked weekly: 50.

Source of startup capital: Partners’ personal savings.

2008 YTD: $709,000.

2007 revenue: $373,862.

2006 revenue: $42,222.

Number of employees: Eight.

Web site: iffgdirect.com.

BACKGROUND/PERSONAL

Birthplace: Cape Cod, Mass.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Age: 30.

Current residence: Pacific Beach.

Family: Mother, Jean H. Young, and wife, Jamie Lynn.

Hobbies: Skiing, hiking and travel.

How do you relieve stress? Workouts.

What book are you currently reading? “No Acting Please,” by Eric Morris and Joan Hotchkis.

Biggest achievements aside from your business: My marriage and friendships.

Biggest lesson you have ever learned: When someone tells you that you can’t do something it’s usually because they can’t.

What are you listening to in the car, on your iPod, etc.? Dave Matthews, Sublime, Blues Traveler, The Black Crowes, The Slackers, Jim Croce.

Best part about working in San Diego? Relative ease of market entry and the unique opportunity to help shape the business landscape of a city still in its infancy and the weather’s not bad.

JUDGMENT CALLS

Reason for getting into business: We saw potential to capitalize on the repair of an ailing industry.

What need, in your industry, did you perceive was unmet? Customer service. The mortgage industry grew so quickly during the housing boom that, in a scramble to expand their footprints, companies compromised customer service.

How did you see you could do better than others already in your field? After working with retail lending institutions that held client service a distant second to profitability, it seemed evident that a company whose operational processes were built on a foundation of consumer advocacy would be at a distinct advantage.

Plans to grow the business: When the housing boom ended, many companies imploded under the weight of antiquated infrastructures. By leveraging innovative technology and operational procedures we can optimize growth while insulating ourselves from market influence.

Greatest advantage of owning your own business: Control over the direction of your business and your life.

Biggest disadvantage of owning your own business: At a regular job when something isn’t working it’s easy to blame management for employing ineffective strategies. When you own the company and something isn’t working, it’s up to you to fix it. This control is a major benefit of self-employment but can also be a source of stress.

Business strength: Maneuverability. In an industry that faces market and legislative change almost daily it is imperative to have an infrastructure nimble enough to change with the tides.

Business weakness: Susceptibility to legislative influence.

Largest risk: Making the decision to start the company and leave our “regular” jobs. With this risk came the greatest reward.

Significant mistake: As clich & #233; as it sounds, we have taken the opportunity to learn from each mistake we’ve made and have become a stronger company because of it. During the past two years we’ve sustained a healthy amount of incremental growth. I credit some of our biggest “mistakes” for maintaining this momentum.

Ongoing challenge: Fighting public opinion. Believe it or not, some mortgage companies really are trying to help.

Most important part of the business: The consumer. Regardless of the business you’re in, it’s the consumer that keeps it going.

Best way to stay competitive: A simple equation that many companies in our industry find difficult to follow. Deliver the best product at the lowest price with superior customer service.

How do you measure success? By the impact I’ve had. We should try to leave things better than we found them.

GOALS

Five-year business plan: Expand our sales organization and lending platform to service 50 states while continuing to implement procedural and technological strategies to maintain our competitive advantage.

I would sell my business only if: There are enough zeros on the check.

Guiding principle: Try to leave things better than we found them.

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