How organization has more than doubled its employee numbers since the pandemic
By Chris Davies
As a part of its ongoing recruitment drive, Acra Lending is as determined as ever to keep growing and source top talent – and, as revealed by Keith Lind, executive chairman and president – it also has somewhat unique cornerstone ideal behind the process.
“You should always hire people smarter than you,” Lind said, before reflecting on how surprising the idea sounds.
“I think initially people were always threatened and worried by that notion. But if you can get past that initial reaction, they’ll actually agree with me. It’s the right thing to do because, of course, hiring smart and talented people with good reputations makes recruiting easier. People that your employees worked with in the past now want to join up as well. My style of hiring the best and the brightest minds has only made us better and it’s only made us more efficient.”
Issues like these have been top of Lind’s priority list over the past year, as Acra’s recruitment drive gathered apace – seeing it rebound from the dark days of the pandemic with inspiring vision and determination.
“During the pandemic we had to shut down production and we had to make some hard business decisions,” Lind explained. “We took our headcount down and we shut down the business for five months. I think that was in line with the rest of the industry, for the most part.
“From starting the business back up again that August, I’m very proud to say we’re already up from 160 people back then to almost 320 people today. Not only did we hire back a lot of the people that we laid off or furloughed, but we’ve added tremendous talent across the board, across all facets of the firm.”
It’s a remarkable achievement – and it’s clear that Lind’s leadership style makes up much of the driving force behind it.
“I use the mindset of empowering all of my managers and all of my leaders at the firm to make decisions and to think together and to think as a group,” he said. “I want my leaders to brainstorm, make decisions, think outside the box. I think that’s been very advantageous and driven a new sense of a stronger culture – whether that’s with new managers that I’ve hired, a new head of human resources, new chief revenue officer, new head of correspondent, new underwriters, new account managers and so on.”
So, did this mass drive for new talent stem from already-existing new products, or did new opportunities open up once the new influx of employees were on board?
The answer, it turns out, is a bit of both.
“We rolled out a jumbo prime program which was a big driver and obviously added headcount to the company,” Lind said. “And now we’re seeing just how talented our new people are. We’re getting new origination numbers and efficiency numbers throughout the firm. We’re hiring people that know how to collaborate and work together and share thoughts and share ideas, which really wasn’t the culture prior to myself getting here. It’s a well-oiled machine now where people really get along and we’re delivering great customer service.”
“There’s going to be more products to follow. The goal at the end of the day is this: we want to be the largest private lender in the US. We want to offer all the products that are needed to get that bill and meet the needs of our customers.”
Lind is also quick to point out that Acra is always on the lookout for new talent – and the team potential employees would be joining is second-to-none.
“We have the best human resources department,” he enthused. “They’re just tirelessly working on getting stuff done. And we partner with great recruiters. Recruiters are bringing their best talent to us because they know they’re going to be treated fairly and taken care of.
“We’re at 320 people today. By this time next year, my goal is to be at 450. It could even be higher than that. Our production is ramping up. We’re rolling out new products and we are adding talented people every day. I don’t think there’s any stopping from our perspective.”
Source: MPA Magazine