I learned the most technically and philosophically from Dennis Bingham, who was the senior lending executive at Bank of America when I managed the special credits department there. He taught me to cut to the chase, recognize problems early and dispassionately, so that I could maintain my passion for the clients and the work of helping them do better financially. He used to say, "Better ugly early." There can be a lot of burn-out working with problematic borrowers, but every business has something going for it. The trick is to use those strengths and what I know to turn things around before problems become intractable.
Children Alex O'Neal-Smith, 17, and Kevin O'Neal-Smith, 11