Honesty and transparency are a huge part of our culture. They are principles by which we judge ourselves, our business partners, and even our competitors. The truth of it is—if we value these qualities in ourselves, wouldn’t we want to do business with the same kind of people?

Answer: Yes. We think that it’s important to be proud of the business you’ve worked to build, and that pride must go beyond profitability. It’s why we work hard (and will work even harder in the future) to develop open, honest communication with our partners.

We’ve been discussing this theme of transparency a lot lately, and George had a great story for us (as he always does). He recently received a call from one of our contractors, which started out like this:

“Hey George. So did I tell you about how I fired that other lender last week?”

Why no, he hadn’t heard that story. The contractor proceeded to tell him about what they originally liked about that company: good product, etc. However, the lender worked directly with the customers, leaving the contractors with very little control or visibility into the process.

This contractor sold $18,000 in windows to a customer for their home, and they were approved for financing. The contractor took the final measurements, ordered the product, and later contacted the customer when the job was ready to install. The customer informed him that they had cancelled their loan the day after approval, and they would not be paying for the windows. When the contractor was finally able to reach the lender, they refused to take responsibility. So, the contractor had to eat the cost of the product because of the total breakdown in communication, transparency, and trust in that business relationship.

We’ve all been in situations where that breakdown happens. But when your business is on the line, there’s a lot more at stake than just your profitability. Your reputation is tied to those with which you choose to work.