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TheStreet Open House

Once Wall Street Bankers, Now Consultants

Stocks in this article: EBAY

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You're a banker and you were working on Wall Street. You were doing great until you were suddenly laid off because of what came to be known as the Great Recession of 2008.

What now?

Well, there's money in the economy again. Luckily for you, there's also increased demand for independent financial consultants who not only make it easier for borrowers -- including small businesses -- to find the best deal on loans, but also help larger banks find borrowers who won't default on those loans.

Nearly one million independent financial brokers are currently operating in the U.S., according to census data. Several ex-Wall Street professionals are striking out on their own and offering their expertise directly to consumers and small businesses.

One such service provider is Verifico, launched in early 2012 by Paris Benson, a serial technologist -- one who deals with the transfer of data over a communication channel-- and UCLA economics major.

The startup's senior leadership team includes lead technologist Andy Bauch, who worked the Department of Treasury; Leila Fiorentino, head of strategic partnerships and a former senior executive at American International Group (AIG); and operations head, Sami Siddiqui, who was earlier CEO of Citigroup (C) unit Citibank's credit card operations.

Verifico is a promising tech startup that provides a virtual marketplace connecting consumers and independent financial services specialists including loan consultants, tax professionals and credit repair agents, to create a platform of trust for potential borrowers and small business owners who require startup capital or funding for machinery and project investments.

Verifico came to be as an offshoot of a scam buster that identified and helped shut down about 40 unscrupulous finance companies that were defrauding their clients. As the demand for independent financial professionals grew, the market found its unofficial home in places like Craigslist, leaving consumers unprotected.

Since 2008, many entrepreneurs and small business owners have been struggling to obtain funding to make new investments or expand their frontiers to new markets, even if they have maintained strong credit histories and generated impressive cash flows. Verifico lets them connect with experts who can get their loan funded, Benson told TheStreet.

Take Jack Quinn, who owned a thriving restaurant in New Orleans. He needed $100,000 to hire new staff and buy equipment. "My bank for 20 years wouldn't even consider my application for a business loan. I applied to 10 places online before I realized I didn't know whom I was even talking to," he said. When Jack applied to Verifico, he heard back from three brokers the same day and eventually got a loan at a good rate in two weeks.

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