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Born and raised in Eastern Connecticut, Laurie found education to be one of her earliest loves. An attestation to the quality of public schools in the region, she was an “A” student from primary through high school, member of The National Junior Honor Society, National Honor Society, and pursued vocal training as an extracurricular activity; participating in state-wide chorale competitions while a student at Norwich Free Academy.
As the eldest of three girls, family life was centered around a tranquil homestead with a beautiful pond and restoration of a house that was constructed in the 1700’s. The lessons learned during these years would serve to remind that there is great wonder in the natural world and that history is a wonderful teacher. Other familial guidance yielded a fascination with music from all genres and time periods.
A youthful bride and new mom, she and her husband built a home of their own in Plainfield, Connecticut and raised their son and daughter in a country setting. As the children entered elementary school, Laurie entered the workforce in an unlikely vocation, farming. She recalls working with the dairy cows as both grueling (24/7/365) and enlightening. Hard work is engrained in her ethos.
Higher education and a change of vocation followed with enrollment in a local college and pursuit of a career in banking. Starting entry level at Danielson Federal Savings & Loan Association, she moved very quickly from a line teller to collections supervisor landing finally as foreclosure and disposition manager which allowed her to glean a paralegal certification and a wide range of industry specific accreditations evidencing her specialization in consumer lending, mortgage lending, and special servicing for government insured lenders (USDA, FHA, VA, FNMA, Freddie Mac) as well as portfolio loans. Specialization in this field would prove invaluable as the S&L Crisis would prove to be a precursor to even greater banking and financial challenges.
A change of venue in search of new opportunities brought her to Greenville, South Carolina in 1992 and opened the door to what would prove to be “Part II” in her story. Hired within a week of her arrival, SC Telco Federal Credit Union gave her exposure to banking and finance from the perspective of a ‘member-owned’ cooperative and she quickly and very successfully worked to achieve the organizational goals of creating a structured collections department having a lower than industry standard delinquency ratio.
Her next professional challenge was afforded her by Branch Banking and Trust Company where, working under the tutelage of some of the most talented commercial lenders and special asset officers, she was tasked with systematically analyzing commercial loan files in various stages of delinquency and reworking them to collect on guarantees, participation agreements, repossession, litigation alternatives, judgments, and collection efforts to reinstate payment streams to assist the customers in restoring good credit while increasing the profitability of the organization.
Commercial experience led next to gaining a trial by fire understanding of the brand new sub- prime mortgage industry. Carolina Investors recruited Laurie in 1996 to create and head their OREO (Other Real Estate Owned) department to manage what was a blossoming inventory of foreclosed assets. Merged with, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Emergent Mortgage Corporation within six months
of joining the organization, the Carolina Investors portfolio went from a South Carolina OREO department to one of national scope as the new entity was licensed to do business nationwide. Learning real estate law and local practices in all fifty states was now a mandate.
As she routinely does, Laurie multi-tasked and procured her South Carolina Real Estate License while working with the Emergent Mortgage portfolio and with special permission from the LLR, was allowed to sit for the Real Estate Broker’s examination within ninety days of initial licensing. With Broker status, she moved to establish “in-house” brokerage for Emergent Mortgage (now known as HomeGold, Inc). in 1998, accomplishing a major financial goal and providing the department with commission and referral income streams to become a profit center .
The summer of 2000 brought changes personally and professionally as she left HomeGold, Inc. to work with her husband in what was becoming a burgeoning real estate auction business. Stephen and Laurie set out to utilize their strong and highly specialized real estate and financial industry experience to service institutional lenders in a strict, seller-only fiduciary to maximize value and minimize contingent liability for their stakeholders in asset liquidations.
Once again multi-tasking, she decided that higher education would be priority and she enrolled at Greenville Technical College in the University Transfer Program on a path to a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Furman University. While at Greenville Tech, a 4.0 GPA earned an invitation to be one of the first students to participate in the newly formed, Honor’s Program and an accelerated course load having academic opportunities in the local community and graduation with honors. With an Associate’s Degree in hand, she transferred to Furman University to the UES program and is on track for graduation in December 2012.
During this timeline, in addition to acting as COO for Stephen Jax & Associates, Inc. and working as a part time student, Laurie has also taken several positions the financial industry to expand both knowledge and experience to keep pace with the changes occurring and to better serve clients and customers. Sherman Financial/Resurgent Capital Services offered her an insider’s look at the reselling and repurchasing of all types of consumer debt once it’s been charged off balance sheets of institutional lenders, then to Executive Asset Management to run a satellite office of staff handing OREO asset management for national banks and servicers, and most recently, Carolina First Bank afforded an opportunity to structure an OREO department which would timely and succinctly bring the organization into compliance with FDIC while it was positioned for acquisition due to under capitalization given the current financial crises.
Laurie returned to a more “simple” life late in 2010 and formally established a second business line for Stephen Jax & Associates, Inc. in OREO asset management giving our core client base another alternative to cradle-to-grave, high touch handling of their assets along with auction services.
With her husband (a/k/a soul mate & best friend) Stephen and their dog, Walter, they continue to foster their client relationships with a strict adherence to the company tag line of Client Driven Results.