Technology and InternationalBy Stephen Martin '67
When I graduated sexy subjects were international and technology. UC Berkeley gave me an MBA with an emphasis on international finance and System Development Corporation gave me detailed technical training. I wrote for SDC the program that the defense department used to translate 2nd generation source code into into instructions that would work on 3rd generation equipment; SDC was then owned by the Air Force, affiliated with RAND, and housed a tube computer and a transistor computer (both oil cooled) that together used 25% of the electricity for Santa Monica.
Bank of America then gave me a 20 year international career. I was able to help them develop and migrate sound rules around the world. I also managed international relationships and at one time resuscitated distressed credits that helped me later in my career. I visited many countries was President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Panama, became an advanced open water scuba diver and a lifetime member of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. Best vacations were to the base of Angel Falls in Venezuela and overnight inside a tiger preserve in India.
I left BofA to get back to San Francisco and for the next ten years turned around a “distressed” bank (The Pacific Bank) as Chief Credit Officer — later, a direct board report — and started a servicing company in Mexico which was sold after four years to General Motors. I headed IT and Operations for three additional years as a condition of the sale — also helping GMAC-RFC as its interim head of international lending, IT group head, and a business system committee member. During that time GMAC-RFC was the leading securitizer of “non agency” mortgages in the world. I saw all their operations and created a mini-conglomerate during that period — starting a servicing platform in Brazil, buying $1 billion plus of capital in loans from banks, seting up a mortgage origination company and setting up a mortgage financing company).
For the last ten years I’ve consulted with Soros, first advising Banco Hipotecario’s board and management which happened to be located in Argentina at the time the country was getting set to devalue and renounce its debt, and later incorporating best practices in home financing into Mexico as part of a Mexican/US “Partnership for Prosperity”. I’m still on the board of “HiTo” in Mexico, where I was the start-up CEO. I’ve also been advising the “Absalon Project” which suggests simplified mortgage solutions to the USA and elsewhere.
I’ve had the opportunity to advance the school motto “crescit cum commercio civitas”. Wisdom and education helps the fit get right.