From 2004 to 2006, I developed several Microsoft Access databases for the commercial and residential lending departments of The Village Bank in Auburndale, Massachusetts. The bank used my programs to close over 700 loans, representing over $200 million worth of business. It was my first entrepreneurial project. It taught me that I could build software that could have a significant impact on a business simply by listening to people's needs.
During an internship with The Village Bank in the spring of 2004, the Senior Vice President of Lending reached out to me to see if I could help her develop a Microsoft Access database that could act as a sales pipeline for her department.
At the time, the Lending Department was having trouble keeping track of commercial loan applications, the status of those applications, and the associated documentation needed to close the loans. The lack of a central repository for this information was causing a lot of confusion and making it harder for her team to do their jobs effectively.
With only a couple of weeks left in my internship, I pitched the SVP of Lending on hiring me as a consultant over the summer while I attended school. When the bank accepted my proposal, I subcontracted with my brother in Panama, who had recently completed his degree in Computer Science, to build a prototype. Throughout the summer of 2004, I worked with my brother to build a database prototype and attended weekly meetings at the bank to get feedback on our work.
In the fall of 2004, I returned to the bank to roll out the “Commercial Pipeline" database during my second internship. Even though the program had all the features the bank needed, people were hesitant to use it because they found it challenging to navigate. Paying close attention to the commercial lending team's feedback, I completely redesigned the software to fit better the way they worked. It quickly became an integral part of the lending department's workflow.
Over the following year and a half, I continued refining the software and developing a similar database for the residential lending department.
My database applications made life easier for the lending department and were used to process over $200 million worth of business for the bank. 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.