Caribbean Connection

Mortgage firm looking to tap into the Latino market

The real estate market has been on fire lately. Dax Dunn can take the heat, and he’s looking to crank it up.

Dunn is founder and president of RAD Financial Services Inc., a firm that provides financing for mortgages, refinancing, and equity lines of credit, predominantly in South Florida. With seven employees, RAD Financial posted revenues of $750,000 last year, and expects to exceed $1 million in 2004. The Jamaican-born entrepreneur also benefits from his heritage.

“Eighty-five percent of our clients are Jamaicans, another 10% are from other Caribbean islands, with Hispanics and white Americans making up the difference,” explains Dunn, 32.

Much of Dunn’s skill at being a conduit between mortgage lenders and his fellow Jamaicans was honed during the 1990s, when he learned the business as a mortgage lender at companies like Gold Coast Funding Inc. and Federated Mortgage Inc.

In Dunn’s last job at American Mortgage Inc., he was able to close seven mortgage transactions each month. However, he was disappointed. He felt that he could triple his volume. “At the time, I was on the radio once a week speaking to the Caribbean community about the services my company offered. That show brought an average of 15 calls per day, but because the company could not handle the volume of calls, many potential clients were lost,” he explains.

That frustration, combined with a growing Jamaican population, inspired Dunn to launch his own firm. In 1999, he used $20,000 of his own savings, another $40,000 borrowed from his aunt, and an additional $10,000 from a friend for startup costs used for renting office space, payroll, attorney fees, and the necessary real estate licensing fees to get the business going. The move paid off. Since opening its doors, RAD has seen steady growth. The company closed 150 mortgages in 2001 and more than doubled the number to 450 in 2002. This year, Dunn hopes to complete 650 mortgages.

These days, Dunn is expanding his horizons to include the burgeoning Latino market. He has hired two Spanish-speaking agents, and offers two-day training classes each month to 15 individuals who are learning to become loan officers. He has also acquired a 5,000-square-foot building to accommodate his expanding business, which now includes a financial planning unit, credit counseling, insurance, and title services.

“Our goal is financial freedom for our clients, and with that in mind, we want to stick with our strategy of understanding people’s financial needs and addressing them through the products we offer,” Dunn adds.

RAD Financial Services Inc.; 1060 Sunset Strip, Sunrise, FL 33313; 954-587-2662; www.radfinancial.com.

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