Woman who quit banking to build a dream
Posted Thursday, September 6 2012 at 16:24
Caroline Kariuki, founder and managing director, The Mortgage Company
Alliance Girls ‘O’ Level
Kenya High ‘A’ Level
University of Nairobi BCom
University of Warwick
Trade Bank, ABN, CBA and KCB
A stickler for time, Caroline Kariuki asked me to be at her office, in Greenhouse, Ngong Road, a minute before 10am. I was there five minutes before.
Immediately, I was ushered into her office, where she quickly hid her breakfast and coyly said: “You know I don’t usually take my breakfast in the house, and since morning I have been in a meeting.”
After years of working in the banking industry she left her prestigious position as the managing director of KCB mortgage arm, Savings and Loans (S&L), to start her own mortgage brokerage company, The Mortgage Company (TMC).
What motivated you to make the leap and start your own company?
I saw a huge gap in mortgage financing. People were scared of going to the bank, there was fear of rejection. I felt that with the current conservative banking system and people’s fears, things had to be done differently. That is the foundation on which I started TMC (The Mortgage Company).
How does it work?
We approach customers and try understand what they are looking for. We then take the customer through a process of understanding their requirements; if they have not identified the house we can help them. Based on a customer’s income we can help identify what suits them.
Was this the most difficult and challenging decision you have had to make in your life?
No. The most difficult was to take one year off from work when my daughter was one and a half years old to go and study for my Masters in the UK.
My husband remained behind with the baby. In fact, they (father and daughter) are still great friends up to today.
The challenging moment, I would say was starting this company. I was the only employee running it out of our house.
What kept you going, despite the challenges of setting up TMC?
I had thought about this for a long time and really felt I needed to make the leap. It was not difficult because I believed in the vision, I believed in the dream and sometimes it is more than a calling, and my husband was very supportive. But really it felt that I could help people buy the homes they want.
What is your next biggest project?