Lending Tree founder, CEO featured speaker at UNCW Business Week series

Lending Tree founder, CEO featured speaker at UNCW Business Week series
Hundreds of UNCW business students listen as the founder of Lending Tree talks to them about how to become a successful entrepreneur (Source: WECT)
Hundreds of UNCW business students listen as the founder of Lending Tree talks to them about how to become a successful entrepreneur (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Doug Lebda is brilliant when it comes to business. He's the founder, chairman, and CEO of Lending Tree, a successful lending exchange company that connects consumers with over 400 lenders.

"Our business is doing very, very well right now," Lebda said at UNCW on Wednesday morning. "We're growing about 30 percent a year."

Lebda spoke to hundreds of UNCW business students about ways to become successful entrepreneurs, calling himself a "one hit wonder."

"Many entrepreneurs are serial entrepreneurs," Lebda said. "They create multiple businesses and I, like many, have stuck with my one. I tried to do another one at one point. I funded a couple of them, but I've realized Lending Tree is where I'm meant to be."

After graduating from Bucknell University, Lebda went to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Pittsburgh as an auditor and consultant. He told the students in Wilmington that when he went to purchase his first home, he discovered the search for the right mortgage frustrating. He turned that frustration into a business.

While the company has done well since he started it in 1998, he said now is prime time for Lending Tree.

"Right now, the interest rates are going up, so mortgage companies are having a little bit of a harder time, which actually really benefits our business because that makes them even hungrier for customers," Lebda said. "But also consumers can save a ton of money online and we're just in the process of teaching them that they can save thousands by comparison shopping."

Lebda lives part-time in Charlotte where Lending Tree is headquartered. He also calls Wilmington home where he commutes and spends most of his time with his family during the summer.

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