Robert J. Smith, Finance Expert in Atlanta, GA, United States
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Robert J. Smith

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Atlanta, GA, United States
Toptal Member Since
December 12, 2018

A seasoned finance professional and CPA, Bob has executed diligence, valuation and M&A mandates while serving in senior roles at Fortune 500 companies (Merrill Lynch, PHH, Discover, BNY Mellon). He is a finance, strategy and operations expert, who employs a collaborative approach that balances customer, regulatory and financial objectives. Bob is freelancing to help growth companies build financial infrastructure and reach their full potential.

Career Highlights

EVP, Corporate Development
Real Matters (TSE:REAL)
Head of Mortgage Operations
BNY Mellon, N.A. (NYSE:BK)
President, Discover Home Loans
Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)

Education Highlights

Bachelor's Degree
University of New Hampshire

Certification Highlights

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Work Experience

Board of Directors

2016 - PRESENT
AS Direct Mortgage Capital
  • Developed the operating infrastructure for the Eastern European launch using acquired technology platforms and other intellectual property.
  • Constructed financing vehicle (similar to a covered bond) for newly originated mortgage loans which will lower the cost of funds by over 500 basis points. Formal offering to launch in Q1 2019.
  • Supported the CEO in fundraising and capital raising initiatives.
Focus areas: Home Lending, Consumer Loans, Fintech, Private Equity Valuation, Private Company Valuation, Lending, Consumer Lending, Pitch Deck Consultant, Real Estate, Accounting

EVP, Corporate Development

2019 - 2022
Real Matters (TSE:REAL)
  • Created strategy formation and articulation for U.S. and Canadian-based businesses.
  • Executed M&A and strategic partnerships, including title joint ventures.
  • Communicated updates and presentation materials with the board regularly.
Focus areas: M&A (Buy-side), M&A Modeling, M&A Earn-out Agreements, Pitch Decks, Real Estate, Mortgages, Affordable Housing, Residential Real Estate


2017 - 2018
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation
  • Operated a multi-channel mortgage platform with 450 employees across four operating locations.
  • Architected the strategic transformation of the platform to better support purchase-money mortgage loans. This included process re-engineering, KPI and milestone redefinition, and alignment of incentives.
  • Increased purchase-money loans from 20% to 35% of total business, while the overall market was shifting away from refinancing.
Focus areas: P&L Forecasting, Profit & Loss (P&L), Financial Modeling, Loan Origination, Operational Finance, Fintech, Home Lending, Marketing, Lending, Consumer Loans, Consumer Lending, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Pricing Strategy, Mortgages, Three-statement Modeling, Real Estate, Affordable Housing, Residential Real Estate, Government-sponsored Enterprise (GSE)

Head of Mortgage Operations

2015 - 2017
BNY Mellon, N.A. (NYSE:BK)
  • Led national retail origination and servicing activities across multiple locations, achieving a 35% CAGR in the private banking mortgage portfolio.
  • Built a correspondent channel within private banking to accelerate portfolio growth and promote cross-sell opportunities for wealth management.
  • Worked with the treasury team to develop alternative funding strategies, including inter-bank participation, Fed BIC program, Federal Home Loan Banks membership, and secondary market strategies. Created an additional $5 billion in liquidity for BNYM.
  • Re-engineered the pricing engine and built a concession tracking system.
Focus areas: Pricing Strategy, Due Diligence, Intercompany Accounting, Private Banking, Lending, Federal Government Finance, Asset-backed Securities (ABS), Product Strategy, Consumer Loans, Consumer Lending, Mortgages, Financial Regulations, Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR), Price Analysis, Wealth Management, Home Lending, Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Pitch Decks, Real Estate, Affordable Housing, Residential Real Estate, Government-sponsored Enterprise (GSE)

President, Discover Home Loans

2010 - 2015
Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)
  • Directed the company-wide initiative to negotiate, close, and integrate the acquisition of the Home Loan Center, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lending Tree (NASDAQ: TREE).
  • Operated a consumer-direct mortgage platform with 650 employees across two operating locations.
  • Developed and implemented distribution strategies focused on Discover cross-sell and purchase-money mortgages.
  • Expanded product offering and evolved capital markets capabilities from aggregator to GSE (Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/Ginnie Mae) execution.
  • Deployed new consumer-facing web services and upgraded loan origination technology platform.
Focus areas: P&L Forecasting, Fintech, Profit & Loss (P&L), Interest Rate Risk, Budgeting, Financial Modeling, Operational Finance, Pricing Strategy, Marketing, Mortgages, Valuation Analysis, Valuation Modeling, Due Diligence, Consumer Loans, Consumer Lending, Lending, Home Lending, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Term Sheet Advisory, Pitch Decks, Real Estate, Capital Markets, Affordable Housing, Residential Real Estate, Government-sponsored Enterprise (GSE)

Board of Directors

2003 - 2011
Atlantic Coast Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ACFC)
  • Chaired the Audit Committee and served as the Board's financial expert.
  • Served on the Compensation Committee of the Board. The Compensation Committee set and monitored overall compensation for the senior leadership team.
  • Served on the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board. We were charged with identifying, screening, and presenting board members, as well as ensuring that the Board followed appropriate governance processes.
Focus areas: Capital Structuring, P&L Forecasting, Interest Rate Risk, Corporate Treasury, Junior Capital, Capital Raising, Initial Public Offerings, External Financial Reporting, Financial Reporting, CFO, Term Sheet Advisory, Real Estate, Residential Real Estate, Accounting


2008 - 2010
Cypress Property & Casualty
  • Directed a strategic review on behalf of the Board to evaluate alternatives to reclaim, deploy, or optimize capital.
  • Led the divestiture of the company's retail insurance agency as the company's focus shifted to direct policy origination. $25 million in annual premium and certain other assets were conveyed in a series of two transactions.
  • Oversaw finance, accounting, human resources, and compliance functions.
  • Managed catastrophic reinsurance program with on-shore and off shore reinsurance counterparties.
Focus areas: Human Resources (HR), Strategic Planning & Execution, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Private Equity Valuation, Private Equity, Three-statement Modeling, Internal Financial Reporting, External Financial Reporting, Corporate Finance, Fintech, Financial Modeling, Budgeting, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), DCF Valuation, Due Diligence, Private Company Valuation, Valuation, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Financial Reporting, CFO, Term Sheet Advisory, Accounting

Senior Vice President

2001 - 2008
PHH Mortgage (NYSE:PHH)
  • Led PHH's $8 billion wholesale/correspondent lending platform, focused on community-based financial institutions and realtor-owned mortgage companies, with strategic, operational, and P&L responsibility.
  • Served on the Operating Committee of PHH Home Loans LLC, one of the largest mortgage joint ventures in the country.
  • Oversaw the operations of 7 subsidiary companies operating retail loan officer platforms, which captured over 20% of the mortgage opportunity within the Coldwell Banker footprint. Grew mortgage conversion rate from 18 to 22%.
  • Identified, negotiated, and closed the acquisition of CUNA Mortgage, which added $1.5 billion of profitable originations (increasing credit union market share to over 50%) and $6.8 billion of mortgage servicing rights to the division.
  • Developed and launched PHH's SEC shelf registration and SPV, which provided the company direct access to the private-label mortgage-backed market, creating liquidity and brand recognition.
  • Built and successfully launched the home equity lending division within PHH's retail origination platform.
  • Optimized credit risk and profitability via the use of advanced technology, captive reinsurance, and other risk-sharing arrangements.
Focus areas: Asset-backed Securities (ABS), Loan Origination, Pricing Strategy, Consumer Loans, Consumer Lending, Home Lending, Credit Analysis, Credit Reviews, Corporate Treasury, Private Banking, Wealth Management, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Lending, Broker Setup, Brokerage, Credit Risk, Mortgages, P&L Forecasting, Profit & Loss (P&L), Financial Modeling, Due Diligence, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Term Sheet Advisory, Real Estate, Capital Markets, Residential Real Estate, Government-sponsored Enterprise (GSE)

Senior Vice President

1992 - 2001
Merrill Lynch Credit Corp. (NYSE:BAC)
  • Led the pricing, hedging, sale, and delivery of mortgage loans into the capital markets.
  • Directed MLCC's agency and non-agency securitization programs. Established a shelf registration program that provided MLCC liquidity and brand recognition. Developed and nurtured institutional investor and rating agency relationships.
  • Developed and successfully implemented home, personal, and investment financing products/services with features, pricing, and credit criteria tailored to HNW/UHNW clientele, distributed via Merrill Lynch's retail advisor network.
  • Assisted in the operational launch of Merrill Lynch Bank USA, a Utah ILC.
  • Directed the sale and outsourcing of MLCC's $15 billion first mortgage servicing operation and established a 3-year flow program, with a favorable economic impact of $20 million.
  • Directed diligence and integration in the purchase (June 1996) and sell-side diligence on the sale (July 1998) of Lender’s Service, Inc, which delivered a $35 million gain to ML & Co.
  • Led valuation, sell-side diligence, and integration for the sale and outsourcing of Merrill Lynch's mortgage lending and servicing business to PHH.
  • Implemented a quality process management program, culminating in MLCC's receipt of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Focus areas: Mortgage REITs, Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities (CMBS), Secured Loans, Home Lending, Product Strategy, Mortgages, Interest Rate Risk, Pricing Strategy, Credit Analysis, Intercompany Accounting, Credit Risk, Credit Reviews, Private Banking, Financial Modeling, Product Development, Capital Markets, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Asset-backed Securities (ABS), Valuation, Corporate Treasury, Wealth Management, Due Diligence, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Forecasting, Term Sheet Advisory, Mortgage-backed Securities, Real Estate, Residential Real Estate, Government-sponsored Enterprise (GSE)

Senior Manager

1984 - 1992
  • Recognized as an industry specialist in Financial Services and Real Estate.
  • Developed extensive experience in corporate finance and both public and private capital placements.
  • Coordinated 1933 Act and 1934 Act SEC filings for a number of public companies.
Focus areas: Control Audits, Management, Audits, Private Company Valuation, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Valuation, Due Diligence, Financial Reporting, Mortgages, Accounting
1979 - 1982

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

University of New Hampshire - Durham, NH



National Mortgage Licensing System



American Institute of Certified Public Accountants


Lending, Budgeting, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Due Diligence, Home Lending, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Credit Risk, Credit Reviews, Loan Origination, Financial Modeling, Consumer Lending, Interest Rate Risk, Corporate Finance, Financial Options, Valuation Modeling, Mortgage REITs, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Cash Flow Forecasting, P&L Forecasting, Three-statement Modeling, Pricing Strategy, Valuation, Quantitative Risk Analysis, Financial Reporting, Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, CFO, M&A Modeling, M&A Earn-out Agreements, Accounting, Consumer Loans, Operational Finance, Profit & Loss (P&L), Private Company Valuation, Private Equity Valuation, Price Analysis, Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR), Financial Regulations, Asset-backed Securities (ABS), Intercompany Accounting, Valuation Analysis, DCF Valuation, External Financial Reporting, Internal Financial Reporting, Private Equity, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Broker Setup, Corporate Treasury, Credit Analysis, Secured Loans, Commercial Mortgage-backed Securities (CMBS), Control Audits, Capital Raising, Junior Capital, Capital Structuring, Wealth Management, Private Banking, M&A (Buy-side)

Output Software

Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word

Industry Expertise

Real Estate, Financial Services, Residential Real Estate, Financial Markets, Capital Markets, Affordable Housing

Geographic Expertise

United States, Canada, Eastern Europe, European Union (EU)

Data & Analysis Software

Power Pivot, Bloomberg


Post-merger Integration, Asset Securitization, Mortgage-backed Securities, Mortgages, Private Placement Memoranda, Prospectus Drafting, Business Planning, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Investor Agreements, Share Purchase Agreements, Financial Forecasting, Pricing Models, US GAAP, Government-sponsored Enterprise (GSE), Product Strategy, Strategic Planning & Execution, Product Development, Fintech, Financial Ratios, Shareholder Liquidity & Succession, SEC Filing, Credit Modeling, Corporate Governance, Project Management, Corporate Sales & Divestitures, Business Strategy, Business Process Re-engineering, Business Process Analysis, SEC Financial Reporting, Investor Presentations, Private Label Products, Technology Strategy & Architecture, CAPEX, DCF Modeling, Pitch Decks, Term Sheet Advisory, Marketing, Federal Government Finance, Human Resources (HR), Brokerage, Audits, Management, Initial Public Offerings, Cybersecurity, Microsoft Power BI, Pitch Deck Consultant

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