SUMMER BUSINESS EMERSION PROGRAM IN PORTLAND
In summer of 2010 the author had a great opportunity to get some practice in Portland, Oregon, USA through Student Business Immersion Program of our university. He was very interested in finance and banking sphere and wanted to get experience in it. One of the main reasons for him was a point that Kazakhstan has a great opportunity and potential in this sphere and for development of this potential we should follow the experience of developed countries and adopt their methods in our country. The most developed country in the sphere of finance is of course USA, is the country, which in spite of crisis, still has a lead position among the other countries and stood on this position, mostly because of right policy in finance sphere.
It was extraordinary practice, even for SBIP - student had a practice not just in one or two companies - there were 8 companies, which he visited during this month in USA. And he made some investigation about some of them, and find out what the similar and different things between American and Kazakhstan companies, which involved into finance and banking sphere. For report he had chosen two companies: McGee Financial Strategies, Inc and Marshall Commercial Found.
First company - McGee Financial Strategies, this is a company, which specializing on financial strategies for companies and for individuals. They had three main services: advisory, brokerage and special services.
Advisory service is based on individual approach to every client. They analyze, present and past relation of client to money, they seek to know client personally. They know, that every individual, has own wants and needs and then develop a customized strategic plan designed to achieve those wants and needs, and then they monitor clients’ progress. It very useful and for people, who has a business and income above the average, and for people, who just a simple employer and live on salary. In this case, real professionals, helps you to plan your budget.
Another service is Brokerage service. In this case, they took clients’ money under the trust control for defined percentage from the income on this money. It is means, that person, who has money, and want to invest, but don’t know anything about stock exchange and shares allow to professionals dispose of his or her money and receive a much bigger income, than banks gives on the deposits. They calls it Fee-Based Assets Management and, as I saw - it very popular way in USA to increase your assets.
And also they had three special services for their clients. First one is education service, which available for financial professionals. It could be a seminar or one-to-one training with presentations on such popular in America topics, as pre-retirement and post-retirement planning. Another two services are Trust services and Professional resources. These two services are based on McGee Financial many years’ experience of work in finance sphere. They could give advice to their clients with whom it is better to work. And it is not an advertisement for other companies. McGee Financial just chose reliable, secure companies for their clients in other spheres of business - real estate agents, attorneys, realtors and other high competitive professionals.
Some words about people, who works in this company. When you come into this company, you feel an atmosphere of high professionalism and high quality, what is very useful for attraction of clients. You better trust your money to high educated professionals, whose professionalism was checked by time and actions. And atmosphere of McGee Financial Offices’ very gains to show their professionalism. Also, the staff, who works with clients are very polite, patient and know how to work with any clients on high professional level.
In Kazakhstan, there is no similar company with McGee Financial. Mostly it is happens because of our relation to money. Our people used to safe money at home or at bank deposit, and they don’t pay any attention to such factors as inflation. Many people don’t understand that if your money just lay in the sock - you lose them. There is one company in our country, called RESMI group, which business almost the similar with McGee Company. They took money and make 25-30 percent of income per year for their clients through the right investments. But there are not many simple clients, who want to have an unclouded retirement and well provided future. Someday, will come to such level of development and financial competence, when we will think about money as about the tool to creating more money for your future. Such kind of business in Kazakhstan, unquestionably, will be one of the newest, but it is hard to say how fast it becomes reliable and successful in our country, any way it is a huge potential for development.
Another company is Marshall Commercial Funding, which hasn’t analogs in Kazakhstan because of unique American loan system. Marshall Commercial Funding is an independent commercial mortgage brokerage firm dedicated to tailoring loans to meet the specific needs of their clients. Their goal is to add value to every transaction by providing a superior loan product coupled with the best quality service possible. There is no big company - during the time, when we were there, there were just two people - Doug Marshal - the founder and CEO of the company and Tanya Williamson - his assistant. They involved to real estate sphere of business, which is, because of recession, is still in crisis in USA. And now it is not the best time of such kind of business - Doug said, that it is harder to find a clients, who want to reinvest their estate. This is the main sphere of business for Doug Marshal - they found a real estate, which cost more than $1 million, than they contact an owner and ask him or her if they wants to mortgage their real estate. For example, if you have a $2 million hotel somewhere in Oregon and you pay 5% loan for 3 years from 5, you can mortgage it now for 3 percent loan, pay previous credit and get some extra money from it. Scheme seems not difficult, but there are too many nuances.
Real estate sphere is one of the biggest business sphere in USA and for buy a house, firstly, you should find a real estate agent, who will find a house for you, then you should find a bank, who will pay for this house and give you a credit, taking this house as pledge, because most people couldn’t find half a million on a house and credit with low percent is very useful. Then you should pay to title insurance, who will check, if everything is OK with this house and there are no any other owners of this land. And just then you will buy it, and may be, some years ago, you want to mortgage it because of too high percent and companies such Marshall Commercial Funding will help you.
In this company, first of all, student learned that it is very important to know how to work with potential client and how to find them. Now, because of recession, and reducing of number of clients, Doug invented new way of attracting clients. They send e-mail list to their potential clients with a request if they want to mortgage their estate. And for being special and unusual, they put the photo of this real estate on the first page of their report to this potential client and all numbers below this photo. And this strategy really works - may be on psychological level. Client opens this e-mail and sees his estate - he already interested about this, and he surely will try to compare numbers below this photo with the numbers and percent of credit, which he had now. Another thing is that Doug and Tanya should make many research and calculations, which could be useless, if client not interesting in new mortgage.
In Kazakhstan real estate sphere is no such developed and blow as in USA. Our people could find house or apartment by themselves, without agents and also, our prices is not as high as American one. We took credits in banks and if we want to mortgage our estate we will speak about this thing with bank. Now we haven’t opportunity to chose where take mortgage - in bank or private firm, mostly because there is no such kind of firms. But this is also opportunity for developing for us. After financial crisis, people doesn’t believe to banks as high, as it was before, and if we will have opportunity to chose between bank and private company, who could give you mortgage on more spare conditions - may be some people will chose the second one. Another thing is law base for such kind of firms and trusts of the people to them, but time change everything and there is nothing impossible so may be, sometimes in the future, we will have such companies as Marshall Commercial Funding.
During this practice, I saw many businesses, which doesn’t exist in our country. Most of these businesses targeted to change life to the better way and save people from many problems. I understood, that banking or finance sphere, is still a service, which should serve to consumers. Comparing USA service in this sphere and service in Kazakhstan, I want to say, that our country has a real great opportunity for development and if we want to develop this sphere on the level of USA, we should study from their good example, but avoiding their mistakes.