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  • Monique Howard

Real Estate Guru Helps the Local Community Achieve Financial Success with The Brooklyn Bank

With 24 years of experience in real estate, Jude Bernard has worked as a broker, investor, and landlord. Bernard has also owned a mortgage bank and is now the founder of The Brooklyn Bank, an organization that focuses on wealth building in the Black community. While working with Verizon and pursuing an MBA, he took a chance in real estate, a venture that began as a means to supplement income led to unexpected success. The decision would ultimately change the trajectory of his life. He agreed to share his story in an interview with The Quintessential Gentleman.

In the beginning, Bernard's goal was to accumulate an additional $500 a month to set his plans into motion. He never thought the endeavor would lead to $100 million transactions for over two decades. He considers how the project came to fruition.

"In hindsight, you always want to tell the story bigger than it was," he said. "Yes, I strategized, and I foresaw the shift in the gentrification in Brooklyn, and it's nice that everything fell into place."

When reflecting on his transition from a 9-5 job to fully embracing his career, he remembers how he reached the proverbial fork in the road. The moment came when a college professor questioned Bernard's dedication to his studies. The encounter propelled him to re-evaluate his goals and become devoted to pursuing real estate.

According to Bernard, investing in real estate should be approached like any other task in life. He feels success is based on the amount of effort a person puts into their dream. He shares what his experiences in the industry have taught him.

"The bottom line is, there are no freebies out there," he explains. "So, unless you're willing to think outside the box and do things that most people are not willing to do, you're not going to get that next level of success."

He uses an analogy regarding academic achievement to express his views on the differences between experiencing success based on raw talent versus work ethic.

"America is a country full of C students," he said. "For the most part, everybody's a C student. And that's average. So, the only difference between a C student and a B student is the effort. My personal opinion is that the difference between the A student and the C student is his effort. More effort than intelligence. Yes, there are people out there that are naturally born to do stuff. But the majority of people are just workers. They try, and they keep grinding [it] out."

Ultimately discovering his calling would lead to the creation of The Brooklyn Bank, which was founded in 2017. The bank was formerly a church that was brought to his attention by a realtor friend. Since the bank's founding, countless people have received information, food and clothing. Being in the heart of an underprivileged community has helped change lives.

Along with supplying essentials and information, The Brooklyn Bank also offers financial literacy programs for the younger demographic. A mentoring program called "Sunday School" brings residents together to learn from business professionals.

"We let them know how to get money legitimately because that is one of the challenges that we all face growing up her