Since he founded Fidelity Mortgage Lenders, Inc. at his dining room table more than 50 years ago, Charles “Chuck” Hershson has built the company into a private lending powerhouse with more than 22 team members and a product lineup that rivals any in the industry.
Along the way, Chuck established himself as a champion for the community, a supporter of a legion of charitable causes, and a true believer in doing the right thing for clients and employees.
A Founding President of the California Mortgage Association (CMA), Chuck has served on the boards of The Guardians of Los Angeles Jewish Health (formerly The Jewish Home), the Los Angeles Jewish Health Foundation, Cancer Support Community, and American Friends of the Hebrew University. He is a member of the Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a staunch supporter of the Jewish Federation’s Real Estate & Construction division, AIPAC, the Harmony Project, and other causes and organizations too numerous to mention.
Around the office, he’s known as “Uncle Chuck” for his highly personal approach to managing. Fidelity offers employees fully paid insurance and pension plans, and Chuck didn’t flinch when Covid-19 shut down businesses. He paid employees for the duration of the lockdown.
“I take care of my people,” he says. “I’ve always been that way.”
Chuck runs the business side of Fidelity with the same sense of responsibility and accountability. His unswerving devotion to clients and insistence on honesty and fairness has earned him a following of investors who, in many cases, have retained their portfolios over three generations.
Fidelity takes a very conservative approach to lending that greatly reduces risk for the investors who back the company’s loans.
“We don’t let our loan-to-value ratios creep up, regardless of the property,” Chuck says. “We put our investors interests first, and protecting their investment is our number one concern.”
A graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in real estate and finance, Chuck launched Fidelity after working in the private lending industry. Believing he could build a better mousetrap, he burned the midnight oil and took post-graduate courses to refine and implement the vision that he refers to as “a niche within a niche.”
Fidelity began as a residential mortgage lender, but when the housing market collapsed in the 1980s, Chuck pivoted to commercial lending. Today, commercial loans represent 95 percent of the business.
Chuck no longer focuses on day-to-day operations (though he points out that, “Every time there’s a problem, it ends up on my desk”). As Chairman, Chuck devotes his time to the company’s investors, a role he’s always relished and one that’s still custom made for him.
“I love to schmooze” he says, “and I love to laugh and get people laughing. I think my sense of humor is a big part of my success. I genuinely like making a connection with people.”