First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Har Rai Khalsa: Thank you for asking, we are doing well. When times are hard, it is important to invest in the ones you love. When that foundation is strong, it allows you to be strong for your colleagues and friends too. We are traveling less, but talking to each other more.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MK Decision.
Har Rai Khalsa: I pursued my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Lewis and Clark College. After college, I began expanding my sales and business development knowledge. In 2014, I led the growth team at Service Finance Company, a home improvement finance company, increasing their yearly loan volume from $97M to $2B.
By 2015, my brother Guru Dharam and I decided to launch MK Decision (MK) after receiving an opportunity to provide automated decisioning for a private-label credit card program. The product continued to evolve, as we were introduced to key players in the industry, and we built our Credit Card Origination System (CCOS). After this domino effect, MK identified that community banks and credit unions needed help with digital account opening and loan origination. We’ve since expanded our product line and are currently helping over 200+ community financial institutions acquire customers online.
How does MK Decision innovate?
Har Rai Khalsa: We’re consumer-centric, meaning all of our products are built with the end-user in mind. We want our product to be intuitive and designed with elegance. Regarding our products that are used by bankers, MK takes their day-to-day workflow to heart. Ultimately, our job is to help them do more work in less time. By listening to our customers’ needs, we can identify what their pain points are and how MK’s solutions can address those concerns.
The thought behind automating processes is, “can this be done in a better way”? When our customers and team come together, innovation is simply the byproduct. Innovation stems from problem-solving. The most challenging problems can have the simplest solutions. MK Decision is dedicated to continuous improvement.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Har Rai Khalsa: At MK, we are grateful for our team and customers’ health and safety. While the coronavirus pandemic transitioned our company to a remote work environment, we did not lose sight of our mission and spirit. We are committed to helping community financial institutions of all sizes acquire more deposits and more loans. Together, we can provide local financial institutions with cloud-based solutions for digital account opening and loan origination. I think COVID-19 has affirmed community financial institutions’ need for online financial services, and MK wants to be the company to support them throughout their digital transformation.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Har Rai Khalsa: When the remote work mandate hit mid-March in San Diego, it was the most difficult moment in my professional career. No one was sure the impact COVID-19 would have economically locally or globally. We had to make some difficult decisions to account for the longevity of the MK Decision. While the banking sector was focused on distributing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, MK’s online deposit account opening solutions proved to be in high demand. With bank branches closing, opening a checking or savings account digitally became a necessity. When one door closes, another door opens with an abundance of new opportunities.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and MK Decision in the future?
Har Rai Khalsa: Each morning, I practice meditation and yoga; this allows me to decompress and start each day feeling refreshed. Outside of work, I enjoy going to the beach, throwing the frisbee, getting brunch with friends, taking care of people, and connecting with loved ones. By going out of my way to care for other people, I can depart from my problems and help others with theirs.
I project myself and MK Decision into the future by truly believing in the work we are doing. As the CEO, I want to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and facilitate a culture of communication and collaboration. MK empowers our team and partners with an inspiring vision and dedication to deliver an intuitive loan origination and digital account creation platform. MK is founded on a culture of reciprocal accountability, where executives and entry-level teammates are accountable to each other.
We want to empathize with our customers’ problems by sitting in their shoes to understand their job’s pain points. We want to provide a solution to streamline their workflows and improve their day. MK is in this for the long haul. We see the future of banking as almost exclusively digital. Banking is no longer a place that we go but rather something that we do. The suite of products we will continue to build is limitless thanks to this fact. We love our customers, we believe in our products, and we’re here to benefit the financial services industry.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Har Rai Khalsa: MK has steep competition, mostly publicly traded companies or backed by private equity firms, offering digital account opening and loan origination products. As a recent entrant into the marketplace, we have a lot to learn from our competitors. By studying our competitors, we can learn from their mistakes and ensure intelligent design in our products.
MK will stay in the game with the spirit of our culture and the strength of our mission. We’re here to help local economies thrive. If money is leaving community financial institutions and going to megabanks, local communities will no longer have local assets. We want democratized financial infrastructure to support local economies and keep hard-earned money local.
What truly sets us apart from our competitors is the strong relationships we have cultivated with those we work with. We recognize the importance of treating our customers like family. We treat them with respect, responsiveness, and compassion. We listen attentively to their needs and work closely together to create an innovative digital platform that is easy to use. We’re dedicated to delivering the most comprehensive deposit account opening and lending platform made with ease-of-use in mind.
Your final thoughts?
Har Rai Khalsa: At MK Decision, our mission is to help community financial institutions acquire more deposits and more loans. Local financial institutions are the backbone of the United States’ economy; it is vital to support them. By empowering these institutions, MK is supporting local communities and economies by keeping dollars local. With one platform to grow both sides of the balance sheet, MK is dedicated to helping community financial institutions thrive.