Q&A With Open Lending CEO: Secret to Success in the Face of Adversity
2020 has been challenging to say the least. Between the coronavirus and social unrest, credit unions and banks have been hit from all sides, from needing to upgrade technology to better serve members remotely and keep employees working, to the economic impact of not only the pandemic, but also the localized effects of protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans.
The key, according to Open Lending CEO John Flynn is to stay engaged. “Don’t throw your hands up in the air when faced with adversity,” he recommended. “Reach out to others who may have a different point of view or have been where you are before. Seek input and guidance.”
Here’s more of what he had to say during our conversation:
Q: As CEO of Open Lending, what are the top 2-3 things that keep you up at night?
In today’s pandemic environment, the main thing that keeps me up is making sure all of our employees are staying safe, whether they are in the office or working from home.
Another thing that keeps me up is making sure our systems are secure from outside attacks. Data security is of the utmost importance to our business. Learn more about John here!
Q: What do you feel has been Open Lending’s greatest achievement in the past year and why?
I think Open Lending’s greatest achievement was navigating through one of the worst economic times in recent history while executing on a very successful Initial Public Offering. One or the other are challenging, but handling both at the same time was a whole new level of difficulty. I’m proud to report, we have come through with flying colors so far, and that’s how we intend to keep it. The Open Lending team takes our responsibility to our lenders and consumers – all of who are facing their own especially challenging times – very seriously.
Q: How do you keep morale boosted during the craziness that has been 2020?
The teams we have put together are excellent. They have been busy creating contests to help keep everyone’s spirits up. We also moved into our beautiful new, 25,000-square foot headquarters with all new furniture and much more space than we had previously. The move had been in the works for a long time, and our growing team definitely needed the space – particularly now. The IPO and new office space all came together around the same time, in essence creating the new fresh start to what has been a 20 year old company.
Q: How do you keep your own spirits up, personally and professionally?
I get a lot of satisfaction in hearing from our credit union and bank clients who are pleased with the results of the program. It’s also good to hear our employees talk about how happy they are to be a part of the Open Lending team. Knowing that the company we have created has helped not just the financial stability of the families of our 100 employees, but also thousands of consumers get funded for a vehicle loan that they may not have qualified otherwise, is very rewarding to me.
Q: What are you most proud about at Open Lending?
I am very proud to have been a part of the Open Lending journey from its beginning. We had a vision to create a company that would help serve the underserved consumer. There are so many people struggling to make ends meet and our program helps that person be able to purchase a car to get to work, get their kids to school and possibly take that vacation they’ve dreamed of taking, by providing them an affordable auto loan, all while providing a safe place to work for our 100+ employees. Seeing the company grow from our original team of approximately five people in a small apartment on West Street to a company with a market cap of just more than $3 billion dollars has been very gratifying.
Q: When you have spare time, where can you be found?
When I have some spare time, you can find me boating, fishing or golfing. I enjoy spending time on my boat just outside of Charleston, S.C., with my wife Michelle and friends.
I also like traveling to Ireland when time permits. We’ve circled the entire island and perused the halls of Ashford Castle in Galway, Ireland.
I am also somewhat of a car enthusiast. I enjoy driving and working on classic cars from time to time.