Daniel Leyden is a Co-Managing Partner and one of the founders of Asset Based Lending.
A senior financial professional with demonstrated business expertise and innovative leadership from over 25 years of real estate related securities and loan experience – he also always wanted to be a caterer. Take a look at the full Spotlight Interview below to learn more about one of the men behind the wheel at ABL.
How long have you been in lending industry?
What was one of the most difficult deals you’ve worked on? How did you work through the struggles?
Lending to a woman that had credit problems but needed to borrow money to fix the house and pay taxes. I had faith that she would work hard and repair her credit and be able to refinance the loan. It took longer than she or we liked, as our money is expensive, but ultimately was successful.
What do you think sets ABL apart from other lenders?
We are transparent, honest, and quick. ABL tells the story like it is – good or bad.
What three traits define you?
Attentive to detail, team player and well organized.
What is your personal philosophy?
Be true to my word, be accurate and honest to a fault. Regardless of what the honesty will bring you, be honest anyway! This sometimes may cause you to walk away or lose a deal, but it’s better to be honest in the end.
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
My family. Part of the reason anyone works hard and likes what they do is to provide for their family. That goal is what drives a person to show up every day and work hard. Seeing that your family has benefited by the hard work you put out, keeps your head in the game.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your life thus far?
Being the control person I am, allowing the staff to help build our investment and lending business so we as a company can succeed, and allowing myself time for my family at night and on weekends. Up until just two years ago, I was working constantly. From 7AM – 10PM. I think as a “baby-boomer,” my mindset was “I NEED to work.” It’s been difficult, but I am so proud to have passed that same mindset on to my children.
What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
Working for 2 brothers at the start of learning the lending business 7 years ago at a middle market lending company. That 1st job in lending lasted 8 months. I was hired as the COO of their business, but they had never had a COO, and didn’t seem to want any part of it. It was an interesting experience.
What does true leadership mean to you?
Leading by example and asking no more than I would do myself.
As the owner of a growing business and being a manager for over 25 years, I have the belief that asking employees to go above and beyond for the business will make much more sense if they see you going above and beyond themselves.
What has been the most important innovation in your lifetime?
Personal computers and cell phones have been life changing for sure, and for many reasons. Especially in regards to business.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I would be a caterer and/or travel agent. I plan all the parties at home, as well as events for my employees. I believe that food and drink make people happy, and I happen to do that well. I also love to plan trips for my family and friends. I am very good at creating itineraries.
What are you most proud of?
Fulfilling my dream of being an entrepreneur and building this fund and lending business from scratch. After working for big companies for the previous 25+ years, I always wanted to build something on my own. I did this on the first try, and can finally admit that I have a successful business. For years, I wouldn’t believe this business would continue, I believe it now. The niche of what we do is a key component in the U.S. economy and will always be needed.
How do you measure success?
Success is many things – being happy, providing for your family, building a company where the employees enjoy the work they are doing. Seeing a company grow and earning more is another way I measure success.
If you could choose to have any superpower, what would it be?
I would be a fortune teller. This way I can win the lottery whenever I want, and know when the economy is going to crash so I would know when to pull my money out. It would help me to be a better planner and organizer.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People looking for instant gratification without putting the effort in to achieve results. Most people don’t get something for nothing. I want to see the effort put in. Too many people do little work and expect things handed to them.
If you could, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
To take risks to achieve your goals early on in one’s career. Build a business! The first time I tried I was already 50 years old. Wouldn’t it have been great to have done that at 20 years old?
I’m happiest when…
I work hard and am successful in reaching and exceeding my goals. It makes me extremely happy to have passed this onto my family. My son fulfilled his three-year-old dream of becoming a police officer and just recently graduated the police academy. Now, I pass him in his police car, in the town he grew up in and I can’t help but feel proud. He wanted to do this his entire life, and he did it. Who else gets that?
If you could witness any historical event, what would it be?
Landing on the moon. It was an amazing feat that we were able to build an engineering system that could do that and bring someone back safely. But, actually being there would have been a much different experience than reading about it later.
Any hidden talents?
I am who you believe I am. To a fault, I’m honest. What you see is what you get whether you live with me, work with me or are friends with me.