Long time coming: how a doc-prep company started by a tech-savvy teenager blossomed into a reliable competitor in today's complex mortgage compliance environment.

Author:Neal, Lindsey
Position:PROFILE - Company overview
 
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The year was 1986. The New York Mets beat the Boston Red Sox, thanks in large part to Boston first baseman Bill Buckner's blunder in Game 6, to win the World Series (the Mets' last championship to date). [paragraph] Also in the news: the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, the Challenger explosion and the Iran-Contra scandal. Headlines also blared about the U.S. House of Representatives vetoeing the Reagan administration's "Star Wars" missile defense bill. [paragraph] Top Gun was the No.1 movie; The Oprah Winfrey Show hit the airwaves for the first time; and fans of the TV show Dallas found out, much to their chagrin, that the entire previous season had been a dream. [paragraph] But something else happened in 1986. Nestled in the foothills outside Salt Lake City, a mortgage document-preparation company called International Document Services Inc. (IDS) began taking shape. Today IDS is a fast-growing competitor in the doc-prep space, focused on securing a reputation for compliance-centric document preparation, including the ever-challenging arena of multistate compliance.

An early interest in computers

By all accounts, IDS President Curt Doman should take most of the credit for building IDS, and much like the company he helped create, Doman also traces his roots to the Salt Lake City area.

The son of a credit union executive, Doman was the quintessential computer whiz kid.

"I've always liked computers and computer programming. My parents bought me an Apple II Plus when I was 10 years old, and I just fell in love with it," he says. "I was also always really fascinated with business, and when I was either 11 or 12 years old, I decided I wanted to start up my own computer company."

With the help of his father, Doman registered his business, SoftArt Computer Design, with the state of Utah. While he dreamed of writing "cool programs or games," fate would take him in a different direction.

Around this time, Doman and his father were introduced to Howard Lein, a sales representative with Inter-Americas Insurance Corporation. Granite Credit Union (Granite CU), the institution Doman's father worked for as an executive vice president, had just switched its credit life and disability insurance to Inter-Americas, which required the creation of new loan documents and forms.

To ease the burden of reprogramming loan docs, Inter-Americas gave away copies of document-programming software. However, Doman's father had already tapped his son to reprogram Granite CU's docs. Impressed, Lein asked Doman's father if he wanted to start a side business programming loan docs for other banks and credit unions.

As Doman recalls, "My dad said, 'No, but I've got a 12-year-old son that I'm sure could do it."

So, by the age of 13, Doman was programming loan documents for Inter-America's bank and credit union customers, which is where IDS co-founder Brent Wilson, who was a sales rep for Inter-Americas at the time, first encountered him.

"I first met Curt when he was 13 years old, and even then he was out there programming loan documents for credit unions," Wilson recalls. "He has always been very, very good with computers, and he's always had an entrepreneurial spirit as well. I just stayed in touch with him because he was an intriguing young guy."

Doman quickly found out there was money to be made in mortgage docs.

"I remember the first check that I got was for $260, which for a 12-year-old seemed like a decent amount of money, so I did that all through middle school and high school," Doman says.

"Because they thought of me as kind of a computer guru, these banks and credit unions would ask me what kind of computers they should buy--printers and whatnot--so I got into selling computer hardware to them as well," he says.

Doman became a de facto information technology (IT) resource for many of these early customers, installing their entire...

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