Making credit accessible to all: how MSc Strat graduate Jean-Paul Ndong is reshaping the credit industry
Senegalese alumnus Jean-Paul Ndong is a leading figurehead in the global credit industry, as well as a two-time entrepreneur. We’re celebrating his success as part of the 30-year anniversary of our MSc Strategic Management, graduating from the program in 1996.
With the last 23 years spent in the world of credit – experiencing and contributing to every part of the industry far and near – Jean-Paul made it his mission to revolutionize the field, in order to make credit accessible to everyone. After accumulating a wealth of experience in transformative senior roles at various leading financial companies, notably American Express, he started his own entrepreneurial career. First launching Corridor Funds LLC - an investment management firm focused on consumer and small business credit management opportunities – he went onto found his second business: Corridor Platforms, a leading supplier of risk management software, helping banks to make the right risk and marketing decisions quickly.
Hitting the ground running
“The MSc in Strategic Management allowed me to understand the businesses that I have been part of much better, which in turn helped make my analytical skills more effective. It also gave me some basic tools for strategic thinking that were quite useful once I got into some management roles”
Master’s degree in Strategic Management from HEC Paris in tow, Jean-Paul recalls the beginnings of his career as somewhat of a lucky break.
“My professional career started with an internship at an American consulting company, Mitchell Madison, right after the Master’s program”, Jean-Paul remembers. Hired as a permanent employee after just two weeks into the job, he was then sent to the US after six months. “This was remarkable given that I had never planned for this and could not even dream of such an opportunity a few months earlier”, he says. 23 years later, Jean-Paul still lives in the US, having built his life there.
Innovating credit: 7 years of executive leadership at American Express
In 2004, Jean-Paul joined American Express. Within seven years, he took several executive leadership roles, positively impacting a multitude of the business’ credit activities.
To name a few highlights, he led the company to success in the wake of the Great Recession in both the UK and US: as Chief Credit Officer of the UK branch from 2007 to 2009, he managed a $1.5B+ lending portfolio after the crash and brought default rates to an all-time low by the end of his tenure. Moving back to the US, he then took on the role of Vice President - Head of US Consumer Underwriting. Relaunching major lending growth strategies, he helped to redesign the underwriting algorithms by incorporating through-the-cycle economics in order to better account for economic cycle changes.
Broadening his scope, he was promoted to Vice President - US Consumer Lending, New Product Development and Portfolio Management in 2011.
“I set myself a public goal to help transform the credit industry. I think the ability to access credit as well as manage and repay it is a fundamental right that everybody should have access to.”
Responsible for a $40B+ US consumer lending portfolio with functional ownership of new accounts underwriting, pricing, line management, and new product development, it was with this public goal in mind that he revamped the entire credit line management program, developing new customer-friendly processes while improving its safety and soundness.
“I am an innovator at heart and like challenging the status quo”, reveals Jean-Paul. Rather than following a predetermined path, he thus decided to invest his years of experience into entrepreneurship.
He began with the launch of Corridor Funds LLC in 2017, an investment management firm focused on consumer and small business credit management opportunities. “The idea was to break the monopoly that banks have on lending by allowing all types of investors to get access to credit assets”, he says.
Only a few months later, he expanded his entrepreneurial portfolio with the launch of his next company: “I saw an opportunity to combine my extensive knowledge of bank processes with my understanding of new technologies in order to build a useful product for banks.”
And so, Corridor Platforms was born: a leading provider of proprietary risk management software. “In short, we deliver a technology that allows banks to manage their data and analytical processes in a digital way. We provide them with the tools to digitize and automate their decision management processes, which in turn help them save costs, improve customer experience, and enhance profitability. Since completing the development of the product late last year, we have conducted multiple successful pilots with prospective banks and secured contractual licenses with several of them, including a multi-trillion American bank.”