Although David Brecher doesn't really like rehashing a corporate history that has nothing to do with him, he knows the questions will come. * Brecher is chief executive officer of Trump Financial, a Brooklyn, New York--based mortgage banking company established in mid-2007. However, once upon a time in a galaxy far, far, away, called Manhattan, there was another company called Trump Mortgage that began business in November 2005 and had its public unveiling with a sumptuous opening at Manhattan's Trump Tower in April 2006. * About a year later, it fell to the dark side and was swept out of business. * Trump Mortgage, which only licensed the "Trump" name from the Trump Organization, New York, and really had little to do with Donald Trump, was immediately vexed by insurmountable difficulties. First, the timing of its grand opening wasn't propitious as the residential mortgage market slowed in 2006 before collapsing into a messy heap during the summer of 2007. * Second, the company suffered serious personnel problems. Trump Mortgage was based in Donald Trump's Wall Street office building and was run by E.J. Ridings, who, according to the local press, was a "Trump family acquaintance." It's hard to say just how close Ridings was to the trumps, because Money magazine professional biography. "The Donald" later told reporters the Trump Mortgage people were "inexperienced" and, in effect, said to Ridings and everyone else at Trump Mortgage: "You're fired."
Brecher, who was founder and chief executive officer of Brooklyn, New York-based First Meridian Mortgage, a successful residential mortgage company that was ranked fifth in terms of volume in Broker magazine's "Top Brokers in 2005" listing, had been watching the Trump Mortgage saga unfold. Brecher wasn't unhappy to see it fail--not because he wished anyone bad fortune, but because he inherently knew there was tremendous value in the "Trump" appellation if it could be licensed to the right company.
It wasn't just hubris that made Brecher think First Meridian should be the company to carry the Trump logo; his company boasted an alternative operating model that potentially could mesh well with Trump Organization developments. First Meridian doesn't cold-call, buy leads or even advertise. It was, as Brecher notes, more of a boutique financial services company that worked with developers of luxury (mostly condominium) properties as the preferred lender.
"The Trump Organization had a lot of luxury condo projects around the country, and we through we could do something for it," says Brecher. "We met with Trump, but he really wanted to do more. He wanted a whole array of mortgages, a real mortgage company--not just a firm to specifically handle his own properties, which was to be a key component, but they wanted more."
Brecher felt his company could do that, so he became the second person to license the Trump name for a mortgage entity. The deal was signed in June 2007. Nine months later, when Mortgage Banking magazine visited Trump Financial headquarters in Brooklyn, Brecher says he and Trump were happy with the new venture, which was quickly expanding across the country.
On the surface, the pairing of Trump, the world's most famous real estate investor, who brands his name on an ever-growing number of glitzy high-rises, with Brecher, an extremely low-key executive who works out of a non-descript, two-story Brooklyn building without even corporate signage, seems weird. But on a deeper level, it's a good match because Brecher, like Trump, is a real go-getter who thinks outside of the box.
Part of the reason for Brecher's Duddy Kravitz-like striving is that he had a lot to overcome, such as a lack of a college education. After high school, Brecher got a job at a real estate company, which led to employment at a series of mortgage companies--one of which is now Meridian Capital Group LLC, New York.
In 1991, Brecher, by now an experienced mortgage hand, was recruited by Meridian to run its residential division. …