AURORA | From the low-key, ultra-modern office to the political figures it draws, there is nothing ordinary about Aurora-based American Financing.
Last week, the mortgage company celebrated an expansion of 22,000 square feet that can accommodate up to 600 new employees. On the outside, the office is just another corporate workspace tucked neatly into an ordinary business district at Parker Road and East Dartmouth Avenue.
But walk through the doors of American Financing, which now has twice the number of employees it did just a few years ago, and you’re transported into a space reminiscent of tech campuses in Silicon Valley or vogue co-working spaces taking up residency in downtown Denver.
An airy but bright cubicle area opens up to a kitchen, couches, televisions and ping pong and foosball tables. There’s a yoga studio and massage room for employees. The suburban space is anything but bland and boring.
The amenities didn’t go unnoticed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who helped celebrate the additional office space at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. Perhaps, Hickenlooper said jokingly, when his term as governor ends, he’d call up Damian Maldonado, who founded American Financing with his wife, to see if there is a space for him at the company.
Like the unassuming uber-millennial office itself, it was almost a surprise to many that Hickenlooper attended the mortgage giant’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was the first ribbon-cutting event the governor said he’d ever done in Aurora. Many people would likely be just as surprised as to whom it was that got the governor to attend.
“I’ve been hearing about these guys. I’m old friends with Mike Rosen. So Mike Rosen called me and said, ‘Hey, you ought to check this out. It’s a small business growing, just exactly what you like to champion,’” Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said. “And I haven’t done a ribbon cutting like this in Aurora. So I feel a certain debt to the mayor. So this seemed like a two for (one).”
Rosen was a fiscally-conservative newspaper columnist and talk show host on 850 KOA in Denver. He is just one of the right-leaning media personalities that endorse American Financing.
Conservative political celebrities Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck also endorse the company, as does John Elway and Dave Logan, a former NFL wide receiver for the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns.
But it’s not the famous conservative names the company’s husband-and-wife founders attribute to rapid growth since starting American Financing Corp. out of their home with a $5,000-limit credit card.
“A lot of the new regulations have not been so favorable to some of the smaller companies,” Maldonado said. “That gave us the ability to grow a little bit more more as well.”
American Financing’s growth is the kind of success Hickenlooper said he is proud to showcase.
“Companies like this aren’t created without a workforce that is really willing to work hard and go above and beyond,” Hickenlooper told the group of employees at the ceremony. “That’s what has really defined Colorado over these last 10 or 12 years.”
The growth has come without recent controversy, however.
Four former employees of the company launched a lawsuit earlier this year against American Financing, alleging the company committed mortgage fraud. The lawsuit says the company misled several banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bank and others along with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority by forging signatures, presenting fraudulent loan documentation and purposefully withholding negative information from investors and banks.
The case is ongoing, but Maldonado said the claims, which he described as “frivolous,” are untrue, and his company is vigorously defending itself.
“We really believe in our rights, and it’s unfortunate, but that’s what happens when you grow,” Maldonado said. “Every business goes through it at some point.”
In the mean time, Maldonado is bringing hundreds of jobs to Aurora that come with trendy millennial perks that tens of thousands of other Aurora workers almost certainly hope catch on soon.