From 2004 to 2006, I developed several Microsoft Access databases for the commercial and residential lending departments of the The Village Bank in Auburndale, Massachusetts. The bank used my programs to close over 700 loans, which represented over $200 million worth of business. It was my very first entrepreneurial project, and it taught me that I was capable of building software that could have a significant impact on a business, simply by listening to people's needs.
The project began during my internship with the bank in the spring of 2004. The Senior Vice President of Lending was looking for a way to coordinate the sales efforts of the Commercial Lending Department. Her team was having trouble keeping track of the progress of applicants, as well as the documents needed to close the loans. This was not only causing a lot of confusion and but was also made it harder for everyone to do their jobs effectively. She asked me to develop a Microsoft Access database that would act as a sales pipeline.
The only problem was that I had one week left in my internship, after which I would return to college. I suggested that I could build the database during my next internship in the fall. The Senior Vice President agreed to have me back but was eager to get the development of the database started since her team was struggling to keep up with the workload.
That's when I had an idea. My brother in Panama had recently completed his degree in Computer Science. I could hire him to help with the programming while I attended school. I pitched The Senior Vice President on the idea, and she loved it. I wrote up a proposal to build a prototype for $5,000, which the bank quickly accepted. Throughout the summer of 2004, I attended weekly meetings at the bank where I would get feedback on the prototype my brother was developing.
By the fall, my brother and I had created the first iteration of the "commercial pipeline," and during my next internship, I rolled it out to the team. Even though the database had all the features the bank needed, people were hesitant to use it because they found it challenging to navigate. Based on the team's feedback, I redesigned the software to fit better the way they worked, and it quickly became an integral part of the lending department's workflow.
Over the following year and a half, I continued to refine the software, as well as develop a similar database for the residential lending department. My applications helped the lending department grow, and made life easier for everyone working there. I believe that the success of this project was a direct result of my willingness to adapt my software to the needs of the individuals using it.