Anthony Sherman on laying the foundations of a successful fintech

by Ephraim Vecina20 May 2020

Honed by the North American financial industry’s dynamism over the past two decades, Simplist co-founder and CEO Anthony Sherman is capitalizing on the broad palette of experience gained since his entry into the mortgage space in 2003.

Sherman said that the sea changes in the industry – including two major financial crises just a little over a decade apart – laid the groundwork for what would eventually become one of the mortgage sector’s leading fintechs.

“I worked for BAC Florida for about 5 years from 2003-2008. I started in credit/underwriting and then was promoted to the position of account executive, where I helped with outside sales,” Sherman said. “In 2008, amidst the financial crisis, I moved to start retail loan originations for Gibraltar Bank and Trust. I was able to build a solid book of business and, within a year, became one of the top salespeople at the bank.”

This era was saddled with immense challenges that forced Sherman into some of the most critical months of his career.

“2009 was a particularly difficult period originating mortgages in South Florida, as home values were particularly depressed; this was one of the reasons I decided to relocate to NYC,” Sherman said. “Many homeowners were well-qualified but, due to values, getting anything done was seemingly impossible. It was incredibly frustrating, but I realized I it was out of my control and decided to refocus my efforts to areas in which I could be most effective.”

The boom years after the 2008-09 recession also tempered his outlook and skill set, Sherman said.

“I was then offered an opportunity to help the bank grow its footprint in New York City. Subsequently, in 2010, I relocated to NYC, where I continued to work in originations and played a role in expanding the bank’s presence,” Sherman said. “In November 2011, I was presented with the opportunity to work for First Republic Bank as a relationship manager. 2013 was the first year I originated over $100 million in retail mortgage originations and was promoted to managing director at the bank. I worked at First Republic Bank until January 2018, at which point I began to pursue a more entrepreneurial path with the founding of Simplist.”

The online mortgage marketplace saw its soft launch in 2019 “with the goal of simplifying and streamlining the mortgage procurement process for the next generation of homebuyers,” Sherman said. “Earlier this year, we became licensed in our sixth state (California), with plans for significant expansion over the coming 12 months.”

This success would not have been possible without two key ingredients.

“A deep understanding of credit and underwriting … allows me to quickly yet thoroughly analyze loan requests,” Sherman said. “[Also], communicating with clients quickly and candidly is key. I learned to never sugar-coat conversations. This actually led to many referrals because clients appreciated the straightforward approach; it fostered a trust that is often lacking in the industry.”