United First Financial's product seems too good to be true: It provides a way to help homeowners pay off their mortgages in half to a third of the normal time, using the savings to build financial security.
But the Bluffdale company's founders and executives Don Jorgensen, Matthew Lovelady, Skyler Witman, Jonathan Bonnette and John Washenko insist their business model will lead to financial safety for people around the nation and the world.
Witman and Washenko both experienced family financial crises while growing up. Their first real estate-related company was Accelerated Equity and Development, a mortgage lending company that tried to offer the most competitive rates and terms on the market.
But within a few years, Witman and Washenko became concerned about clients who had dug themselves into an ever-deepening hole of debt. As loan officers, Witman and Washenko were not in a position to do much to improve their customers' situations.
That's when they began developing a twice-monthly mortgage payment plan to more quickly reduce mortgage holders' debt. They refined that plan into the Money Merge Account system, UFF's principal product. The system uses specialized software, a line of credit and client coaches to help clients maximize their principal payments and cut their interest debt.
Witman and Washenko launched UFF in 2006 with Bonnette and Lovelady, bringing Jorgensen into the company to help it expand into different financial markets across the country and in Canada.