Brooklyn born and raised Ejiro Ajueyitsi says he’s has always been driven to help the Black community. Initially, he planned for a medical career, but the 2008 recession led him in a completely different but still worthwhile direction.
Today, Ajueyitsi owns the only Black brokerage for private lending in the U.S.—the Brooklyn Funding Group. Unlike a traditional bank, which requires tax returns, income verification, and W-2s when applying for a mortgage loan that takes between 45 and 60 days for approval, the Brooklyn Funding Group approves loans within days for fix-and-flip projects, new construction projects, multi-family bridge loans, and rental properties.
“So if somebody needs a 30-year loan and doesn’t want to show their taxes or have it show on their credit report and mess up their debt-to-income ratio, we only take the income of the rentals and if someone wants to build a one-family house or a 100-floor skyscraper we provide capital for that,” Ajueyitsi tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Additionally, the Brooklyn Funding Group has given out loans on dilapidated properties, something that Ajueyitsi says banks do in a limited capacity.
Originally a student on the medical school track in the early 2000s, Ajueyitsi took a year off and got into graphic designing making flyers for parties in Brooklyn to make ends meet. Eventually, he began building websites for artists as well as doing post production and music videos.
However, the 2008 housing crisis put an end to his business and Ajueyitsi began consulting for websites and home care agencies before venturing into real estate by helping business owners find new properties.
A decade later, he tried to get a loan from several banks for distressed properties he was interested in, but was denied. However, one of his clients, a Black woman who owned a pharmacy, told him about the world of private lending.
“She put me in touch with a mortgage broker and right there on the spot he got me pre-approved for a house that I wanted,” Ajueyiti said. “I had about $300,000 and the house was about $500,000.”
After doing several deals on his own, he realized the people who were making these deals weren’t Black, so he began brokering deals himself for people who fixed and flipped houses.
Eventually, Ajueyitsi met with a financial group and was shocked to discover they were already familiar with his previous work. This fateful meeting led to the group giving him access to $20 million to lend for real estate projects.
From this Ajueyitsi created the Brooklyn Funding Group, which last year gave out almost $50 million to people to fund their real estate projects. Ajueyitsi notes that 90% of the people who come to the Brooklyn Funding Group are people of color and as a result, it allowed them to avoid being affected by the downturn in the housing market last year.
“We’ve had people who walk into our office or find out about me and say, ‘I’m coming to you because I know you’re going to listen to me instead of just looking at paperwork and saying you don’t qualify,’” Ajueyitsi tells BE. “And it’s not that they don’t qualify, they just don’t know. I’m willing to listen to them and say I know exactly what you mean and then I find out they are not beginners, they have more experience.”
Ajueyitsi wants to see more Black private lenders that can help close the racial wealth gap. His future plans include teaching free courses on real estate and lending where he will provide capital for new college graduates to become lenders. Additionally, Ajueyitsi wants to start his hedge fund to raise between $200 million and $300 million to be a capital provider for smaller funds and to assist Black and brown developers.
“I want to be able to do that for others, that’s my goal within the next 18 months,” Ajueyitsi says. “I love the versatility in my journey, I feel like it made me a well-rounded person to speak to many different people, I feel like I can do anything now.”
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