Cambridge Realty Capital President Jeffrey Davis reported that Cambridge has provided $802 million in debt financing since March 2020. The declaration of a worldwide pandemic presented numerous new challenges for businesses of all types. “For Cambridge,” Davis recounted, “it meant shifting away from in-person exchanges and, for many staff members, avoiding the brick-and-mortar office altogether in favor of the virtual (home) office.”
Although the situation required a certain level of adjustment, in many ways it allowed for more freedom in some areas. This, in turn, created time and space to devote to other areas of business. For Cambridge staff, it was the opportune time to develop a razor-sharp focus on their own individual specialties as well as a time to hone their listening skills. “When conversations with clients can no longer occur in person, body language and visual cues are diminished or lost altogether. It takes a certain amount of skill to fill in those gaps and learn to listen closely and ask the right questions,” Davis noted.
“Our work was very narrow and focused on satisfying borrowers’ needs,” he stated. “Throughout the pandemic up to the present, the Cambridge HUD team has been 100% focused on processing applications. The Cambridge Originations team continues to be fully committed to bringing the right clients to Cambridge, communicating with clients daily and understanding their needs, ” Davis said. Almost all of that communication has been strictly via phone, Web chat, and/or email for the majority of the pandemic. “Throughout, the Cambridge Underwriting team and analysts did all that was required to support the HUD team and Originations team.”
Part of developing those crucial listening skills, Davis indicated, is learning how to gauge a client’s comfort level with navigating government processes. “Among many reasons, one of the primary reasons for Cambridge’s success during the pandemic is that we focused on working with the government and helped create a user-friendly environment. We solved the complexity and made the government process understandable for borrowers,” Davis pointed out. “Sometimes, borrowers need lots of help with government financing and we make that available. Other times, clients have experience with the government, and we back off and let them do their thing.”
The bottom line, he emphasized, is that clients have been very appreciative of what Cambridge did during this period and the team’s ability to focus on what’s necessary and get to the finish line. “The pandemic period was a unique time and clearly required a different strategy,” Davis asserted. “These strategies included reviewing opportunities and understanding what types of deals work, looking at our resources, and putting as many resources as possible on a greenlighted project. Finally, being effective listeners and doing what needed to be done made the pandemic period of business successful despite the extra challenges faced.”
Davis summed it up by saying, “It’s great to work in a team environment; putting our resources where they’re needed is important. The pandemic is clearly a unique time and experience and it created unique opportunities. We will continue to work in a collaborative environment to make every program that Cambridge sponsors user-friendly and workable.”