The Star-Ledger

My Company Moved To N.J. To Bring Jobs To The State And To Be A Good Neighbor, CEO Says. We Did Just That.

The Star-Ledger — May 21, 2018

By Doug Naidus
Star-Ledger Guest Columnist

As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts." That's why I was so disappointed to read an op-ed from Phyllis Salowe-Kaye of New Jersey Citizen Action, which made defamatory accusations about my company.

In 2016, I moved my company, World Business Lenders, from New York to New Jersey, partially to take advantage of the economic incentives the state was offering firms like mine to bring jobs to New Jersey. To be clear, we did just that, and as a result qualified for the tax incentives for that year under the Economic Opportunity Act.

The baseless attack in the op ed asserts that, "It comes as no surprise that a company as unscrupulous as World Business Lenders hired more than 100 low-paid unqualified workers to handle subprime loans, falsified their payroll paperwork, then laid them off once the move to New Jersey was complete and the tax credits sold."

Here are the facts: World Business Lenders brought 124 employees to New Jersey from New York in July 2016. By the end of 2016, that employee count had grown to 213 women and men. Following a downturn in our industry during the second half of 2016, WBL reduced its payroll to 135 employees in January 2017. As a result, it did not apply for or seek a Grow NJ award for 2017.


Company got tax credits to create jobs, but let employees go within months, former manager says

A special governor's task force investigating the New Jersey Economic Development Authority held its second hearing into the embattled agency, taking testimony from former executives over how billions in tax incentives were awarded.

Today, the company employs more than 190 employees in New Jersey, approximately 75 percent of whom live in New Jersey and 65 percent of whom are women and men of color. Does New Jersey Citizen Action believe this state would be better off if these nearly 200 people contributed to New York's economy, rather than New Jersey's?

The op ed next attacks World Business Lenders by writing that, "New Jersey shouldn't be helping businesses like this make millions of dollars - it should be aggressively cracking down on practices that hurt local businesses and the communities in which they do business. New Jersey Citizen Action and our allies have been calling for stronger and expanded federal and state regulation, oversight and accountability for non-banks and fintech lenders like World Lending Business since the financial crash of 2008. Consistent lending standards, transparency in pricing and terms, responsible underwriting and protections against expensive debt trap cycles of re-borrowing are desperately needed."

We couldn't agree more, which is why we have spent the last several years working with legislators in both Trenton and Washington to reform the alternative business lending industry, while voluntarily abiding by the very same standards the op ed writer demands. This hasn't made us popular within our industry but we believe that our consumer-friendly, transparent and ethical model is the right way to do business.

A partnership to help Latino-owned businesses blossoms in N.J.

World Business Lenders and The State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ), have partnered to provide Latinos access to the capital they need, to start and grow their businesses.

Just six months ago, I wrote an op ed for this very newspaper calling for regulatory reforms of my industry to further strengthen, as she puts it, "consistent lending practices, transparency in pricing and terms, responsible underwriting and protections against expensive debt trap cycles of re-borrowing."

The op ed writer also asks, "How could (state's Economic Development Authority) EDA leadership approve an application from a company that profits by destroying other companies?" In fact, World Business Lenders recently partnered with the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to provide low-interest loans to small businesses at absolutely zero profit for our company. A simple Google search shows article after article describing our efforts

Three years ago, World Business Lenders made the decision to move to New Jersey and become a good neighbor that invests in our workers and our community. If a small company that has always played by the rules and has contributed both economically and civically to this state could be dragged through the mud by the publication of such damaging falsehoods, which other company in its right mind would want to relocate here and risk the same fate?

Doug Naidus is the founder and chief executive officer of World Business Lenders, based in Jersey City.

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