From Corporate Official to Entrepreneur

Mark M. Geeson, President, NE Metro Lending Corp.

Mark M. Geeson, President, NE Metro Lending Corp.

“We would like some customers of the sari sari store to improve their business by including a small carinderia. Or we would suggest to street vendors to turn their business into mobile shops with [a] motorized wheelchair.

“The easiest product to sell is money, because everyone wants it,” lawyer and businessman Mark Gieson, president of Nueva Ecija Metro Lending Corp., tells potential clients.

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“[W]We don’t promote our company in the traditional way,” Guyson explained. “Our way of marketing is very targeted. We set parameters… what types of clients we want to have. Our loan agents will then identify micro and small businesses that may be potential clients.”

Gieson founded the loan company in May 2011 with his wife, Magnolia, while continuing to work as a senior operating officer for a business process outsourcing (BPO) company.

“Back then, I thought I should have a back-up plan in case I wanted to get out of the BPO industry and get a regular day job,” Guyson said. “So, I was planning to go into a business that would hopefully be successful enough to give me the salary I was getting as the head of the company.”

Mark at his law office in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija.  Photo provided

Mark at his law office in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Photo provided

Setting up a loan business was not a real headache. “Firstly, when I went through the feasibility study, the ROI (return on investment) was really good,” Guyson explained. “Secondly, there was a big [underserved] market, especially micro and small enterprises that cannot qualify for bank loans. There was no competition back then.

The couple registered a business without the involvement of third-party investors. Their rates are competitive and all loan products are discounted in pesos if the customer’s payments are made on time.

“[W]e observe this potential client to make sure their business is legal, sustainable and has [the] potential for growth,” Guyson said of how they run the company. “After the checks, we will offer them a loan.”

“The image we create is that we are efficient in approving, processing and issuing credit. We do not advertise this. But we have built this reputation because our operations ensure that we issue a loan extension within 48 hours of a client’s loan application.”

Since he hails from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, the name NE Metro Lending Corp. was a support. “The name gives the company a local flavor,” he said. “NE stands for Nueva Ecija. I added Metro to give it a financial feel. The business is located in the city of Cabanatuan, which is the commercial center of Nueva Ecija. My family also lives there.”

Implementation of assistance to small businesses

The best satisfaction in being a loan company owner, he says, is seeing clients grow their small business using the money they have borrowed.

“…I enjoyed watching their business grow,” Guyson said. “For example, we would suggest to some of the customers of a sari-sari (variety) shop to improve their business by including a small carinderia (snack shop). Or we would suggest to street vendors to turn their business into mobile shops with [a] motorized wheelchair.

Meanwhile, when he was still at BPO, “balancing time between work and business was difficult. Good thing my job was mostly night shift. So I had a day to follow the business.”

“Moreover, since I was in Manila, I followed the business, [which was] in Nueva Ecija, remotely. But now I start and finish my work at a certain time. The only job I do at home is stock trading.”

Doing business in the midst of a pandemic has taken its toll on their companies. “Especially [during] due to localized lockdowns, we were unable to contact our customers to receive loan payments,” Guyson said. “Worse, several of our micro-business clients have been forced to close due to lockdowns.”

“Many people were in need of money, but the risk of non-payment has become and remains significantly high. We had to be very careful in approving and processing our loans.

“Consequently, the issuance of new credit on the accounts was suspended as we had to minimize our exposure to risk. We basically limited our business to existing clients only. space for the rotation of their capital.

To become a lawyer

Meanwhile, Guyson also wanted to be a lawyer since he was nine years old. However, his family’s financial difficulties prevented him from realizing this wish. After college – he received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ateneo de Manila University – Guison was immediately forced to work.

“[H]After completing the preparatory course, I found myself at a disadvantage at work, he complained. “Although I immediately got the role of marketing manager, I lacked confidence among colleagues and superiors when it came to understanding and managing the department. companies, in particular financial and operations management.

“I remember at one management meeting, a senior officer directly suggested that I get an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree so that I could be a more effective manager. Then I was only 21 years old, and I had only five months. or work experience.

“I accepted the challenge and applied to the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, only to find out that I lacked the two years of work experience required to enter the MBA program. Instead of being disappointed, I still tried to apply for the program.”

Mark and wife Magnolia with their daughters Maria Sophia Alexandra (sitting on the right) and Maria Francesca Margherita.  Photos provided

Mark and wife Magnolia with their daughters Maria Sophia Alexandra (sitting on the right) and Maria Francesca Margherita. Photos provided

He passed the entrance examinations and passed. He then asked to be interviewed by the registrar to waive the job requirements. “During the interview, I gathered all the courage and confidence I could muster and told him that I could only have five months of work experience, but those five months gave me more than two years of management experience to apply for your position.

program. The registrar approved my application and I started my MBA studies.”

He met Magnolia in graduate school and they married in 2004. She also received an MBA and is now a Certified Public Accountant. They have two daughters: Maria Sofia Alexandra, 16, and Maria Francesca Margherita, 11.

When he was still up to his neck in corporate work, Guyson traveled extensively, mostly to the United States. “Since I left the corporate world, most of my travels [now] holiday-related,” he said. — The last places I visited were Osaka and Kyoto. [in Japan].”

Mark Gieson at a corporate party.

Mark Gieson at a corporate party.

Now that Guyson runs the loan business full-time, he is spending more time with his family than ever before. “The work is routine and schedules are predictable,” he said. “Family time has become the general rule and work time the exception.”

However, the desire to become a lawyer did not weaken. “In 2017, I thought maybe there was still time to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer,” he said. “No one inspired me to become a lawyer. I just felt that advocacy was part of my destiny.”

“It really was fate because a new law school opened in Cabanatuan, Wesleyan University of the Philippines. I applied for admission and started the path to becoming a lawyer. Four years later, I graduated cum laude (cum laude) and then passed the bar exams. With [an] exemplary performance quotation.

“Truly, it is never too late and never too old to follow your dream. In fact, it is even possible to carry it out with honor, no matter what.”

About me

First salary

12,000 pesos as Marketing Manager for World Citi Medical Center and Colleges.

morning ritual

Check out PSE Edge before breakfast

Average time spent on social media

Two and a half hours a day

role models

Warren Buffett for business and investment. I follow his advice: “Be afraid when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are afraid.” This principle is very important in the lending business; Judge Marvik Leonen and Atti. Chel Diokno for lawyers.

Best Skill

Grace under pressure

Target

I want to start and run a full service law firm with offices in Nueva Ecija and Manila.

fact of life

I like to read relatively boring things like company annual reports, Supreme Court cases, law and business books. I am a big fan of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies.