Crawford, though, never lost faith in the American homebuyer. In fact, he sensed an opportunity to build a better mortgage business that would help keep people within their means and smooth the mortgage process. He aimed to cut an often unwieldy application process that can last months down to just about one week.
Here's the kicker: To find out where to begin, Crawford Googled, "how to start a mortgage bank."
He cofounded a firm, based in North Carolina and Virginia, that aims to smooth out the mortgage process for customers, often cutting the time it takes to get an approval from months to about a week.
That kind of speed might remind some of the bubble days, but his company, Movement Mortgage, is trying to protect its business and its customers, by doing a better job of figuring out how much home a customer can afford before they go shopping.
Crawford said he believes that simple formula represents a stark contrast to what was happening 10 years ago, "They (mortgage companies) were defined by a lack of integrity, by putting families into loans they couldn't afford with very convoluted paperwork. They really didn't understand. At a core level, we wanted to serve the American public in a better way," Crawford said.
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It's not the first time Crawford has made the best of a very tough situation. In fact, dramatic turnarounds are kind of Crawford's thing.
As a football player, he went undrafted out of the University of Virginia, but the tight end managed to get signed by the Carolina Panthers.
In 2001, the Panthers had a 15-game losing streak. The coaching staff was changed, and Crawford was cut after two seasons with the team.
He was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002, a season that ended with a Super Bowl win.
Similarly, Crawford's timing in the business world appeared to be a mistake, since his company opened for business about a month before the real estate market crashed.