Doc2Doc Lending, Interview With Dr. Zwade Marshall

Doc2Doc Lending, an Atlanta, GA-based personal lending platform for physicians and dentists, recently raised more than $35m in debt and equity capital.

In conjunction with the funding, Doc2Doc Lending, Dr. Zwade Marshall, founder and CEO, answered our questions about the company, the product, the funding and future plans.

FinSMEs: Hello Dr Marshall, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What’s your background?

I am an anesthesiologist with specialized training in interventional pain management. I moved to the US from Guyana, South America when I was 17 years old with my mother and younger sister. I was recruited to Emory University on scholarship where I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and my pre-medicine course work. I continued my medical school and business training at Emory University to obtain the MD, MBA degree. I was then recruited to Harvard for my anesthesiology residency, I earned the title of Chief Resident at Harvard prior to sub-specializing in Pain Management. Since completing my medical training, I worked as a Partner in a large private equity funded pain practice for 4 years then subsequently divested my stake to build my own private ambulatory surgery center. 

Shortly after graduating from Harvard, my co-founder and I started Doc2Doc Lending because we personally experienced the financial hardship during medical training caused by staggering student loan debt, relatively low income and depressed FICO profiles. Our network of peers (particularly from Harvard) invested the seed funding of $2MM to start the company and we’ve been growing briskly ever since. 

FinSMEs: Let’s speak about Doc2Doc Lending. What is the market problem you want to solve? What is the real opportunity?

The average doctor today graduates with over $220,000 of student loan debt, they average $14-16/hr during residency training and have credit profiles that are often impaired during their 20’s and 30’s while they are simultaneously starting families, paying for life’s incidentals and developing their careers. These factors make it difficult to access personal loans and other capital sources since banks view their financial profiles as high risk despite their future ability to repay. Doc2Doc underwrites the physician loans with their career trajectory in mind. We care about their specialty, number of years in training, program reputation, dual degrees and proxies for future income to make our product the best value for the doctor borrower. 

FinSMEs: What are the features differentiating the product from competitors?

Our members have the ability to speak with a physician member of our team to guide, coach, educate and encourage them along their journey. We stress the importance of financial literacy and transparency of our offerings. Our application and approval process is friction-less to allow completion and approval within minutes. Our clients are busy and work difficult hours, so we speak with them after-hours (nights and weekends). We offer payment flexibility during the challenging years of internship and residency. Our internal mantra is that we aspire to be recognized as the “USAA for Doctors”. And our reviews validate that we are making a difference to the over 5000 physicians we have interacted with through our platform. Many of our borrowers are rejected from traditional lenders who have hard FICO cutoffs for their personal loans, so we are the only option for some doctors and the preferred option for the higher credit profile doctors due to the features of our product. 

FinSMEs: You just raised a new funding round. Please, tell us more about it.

We have always benefitted from a devoted physician investor base that supported our mission from the very beginning. The new round was a “preferred equity” raise of $10MM led by a cadre of physician leaders and an insurance company that serves doctors. The capital from this round helps us to achieve the scale in personnel and products to keep pace with our 3x year over year growth in origination volume for the past 3 years. We’ve also had success in non-dilutive (debt) funding sources through partnerships with specialty finance companies and banks like Encina Capital and DR Bank that aggregate to over $50MM in lending capacity.  

FinSMEs: Can you share some numbers and achievements of the business?

Since issuing our first loan in June, 2019, we’ve tripled our origination volume every year, the physician communities are validating our business model. We’ve processed over 5,000 applications representing $157MM in loan requests and approve approximately 7 of 10 valid applications. Within our portfolio, our sub-prime, near prime and super-prime cohorts outperform our competitors and market expectations on delinquency and default rates. Greater than 90% of our customers are on auto-pay. Our TrustPilot reviews are 4.9 out of 5 stars. We lend to physician immigrants with O1, H1B or J1 visas without cosigners (unlike other personal lenders) and this population has pristine payment history. We launched a Doc2Doc Credit Card with 0% balance transfer fees for 6 months and a generous rewards program. We have been able to recruit executives on our team from elite lending institutions like Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch, Capital One, GE Capital, Sallie Mae, SoFi and McKinsey & Co.

FinSMEs: What are your medium-term plans?

We intend to expand our product suite to include commercial lending products on our balance sheet like; partnership buy-in loans, practice equipment loans and insurance products for doctors. We are also launching a fund to allow accredited physicians/investors to invest in the loans of our physician members directly and benefit from the yield generated by those loans monthly. We launched a Scientific Advisory Committee of physicians who will harvest the myriad of data points that we collect from our members and publish articles in medical journals related to financial literacy and credit performance to offer guidance to doctors since there is a paucity of financial education in medical training.