These 30 rock
The 30 Columbians
Nathan Long’s a natural. At the helm of Columbia’s Mortgage Research Center, the 96th fastest growing business according to Inc. Magazine’s 2007 rankings of the nation’s top 500 companies, the 27-year-old CEO has poised the mortgage lender for success by entering an under-addressed niche market.
In 2003, Long suggested that Mortgage Research Center distribute Veteran’s Association loans, government-funded mortgages for military veterans and active duty soldiers that can cover up to the entire cost of a house. Because few lenders throughout the country work with VA loans, the Columbia-based center quickly garnered a national clientele; nearly five years later, VA loans make up 99 percent of the center’s business.
Long hires and manages the firm’s 101 loan officers, processors and their support staff. He started in mortgages working for Boone County National Bank while he was still an undergraduate. After graduation in 2002, he took a job with Mortgage Research Center, a then-burgeoning business.
Although the 2002 MU psychology graduate admits he knows more about people than finance, the four-year-old mortgage lender has seen significant growth since Long joined the staff. Last year the company lent more than $200 million; this year the business is on pace to double that, co-owner Brock Bukowsky says.
“He runs the show,” Bukowsky says. “He’s definitely integral to our success.”
According to Inc. Magazine, Mortgage Research Center has grown its revenue more than tenfold since its 2002 inception. In 2003, the lender took in more than $600,000 in revenue; in 2006, revenue reached $10.2 million. That’s significant, considering lenders nationwide have been floundering under the growth of subprime loans, mortgages for borrowers who don’t qualify for conventional packages. Because Mortgage Research Center distributes mostly VA loans, it has avoided the market’s downturn. “(They) blew up the industry,” Long says. “We refuse to do subprime loans.”