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About National Lending Associates

Our team of experienced specialty finance professionals bring a combination of excellent service, financial expertise, and a proven track record in education finance to assist schools and lenders with their education financing needs. Based in San Diego, California, and with an office in Ohio, NLA serves schools and lenders nationwide with its education financing programs and products.

Our Vision

To provide the best financial programs and resources for schools and lenders in the education finance marketplace.

Our Mission
Growth through Innovation, Integrity, and Excellence℠

Since 2007, our goal at NLA has been to provde schools and lenders with multiple education financing alternatives to meet their needs in this changing marketplace. Our combination of innovative financing programs, excellent customer service, consumer-friendly technology, and integrated marketing channels allow us to take advantage of the right financial solutions for our clients.

Meet Our Executive Team

Fabrizio Balestri

Chief Executive Officer

With more than 30 years of experience in the student loan industry, Fabrizio Balestri serves as Chief Executive Officer of National Lending Associates, a marketer and administrator of student credit products, through its subsidiary, Education Loan Source. Prior to working for National Lending Associates, Mr. Balestri was the Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of the student lender and marketer Student Loan Xpress. Under Mr. Balestri’s careful management, Student Loan Xpress became one of the top 12 national lenders within 3 years of its establishment in 2002 and was named the fastest growing company in its financial services sector during the 2003/2004 period. In 2005, the company was acquired by CIT Inc. Mr. Balestri then joined CIT’s executive management team as the President of its newly acquired student loan division. Between 1996 and 2001, Mr. Balestri served as the Senior Vice President for the student lending sales division at American Express Company, the fastest growing company in the student lending space in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Before becoming the financial institutions head of sales, Mr. Balestri co-founded Education Funding Company in 1994, heading the student finance lenders sales and marketing teams as its Senior Vice President. Mr. Balestri began his career in Student Finance in 1980, as the Assistant Vice President at the nation’s premier student lending firm, Sallie Mae.

Douglas L. Feist

Vice Chairman

Mr. Feist has over 30 years of law and business management experience as a shareholder of a mid-size law firm and owner and director of various other business enterprises. From February 2005 through July 2007, Mr. Feist was Sr. Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Education Lending Group, Inc., a CIT Group Inc. subsidiary, a NYSE listed company, where Mr. Feist was responsible for the management of day to day business operations of a $6.5 billion company in 2006, and its various business units.

From April 1999 and through the acquisition by CIT Group, Inc. in February 2005, Mr. Feist was Sr. Executive Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of Education Lending Group, Inc., a publicly held national NASDAQ traded student loan company where he was responsible for all legal, compliance, and related operational and business matters including public filings, acquisitions, and securitization transactions for the company and its other business units. From 1994 through December 1999, Mr. Feist was a founder and Senior Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of The Education Funding Company LLC, a student loan company and an affiliate of UBL Financial Corporation, which was acquired by the American Express Company in October 1995 and continued to do business thereafter as “American Express Educational Loans.”

From February 1993 through April 1996, Mr. Feist was Senior Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of UBL Financial Corporation, an insurance services holding company, including its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Benefit Life Insurance Company which offered various insurance products nationwide. Prior to joining UBL Financial Corporation, Mr. Feist was a shareholder and attorney with the law firm of Hinchy, Witte, Wood, Anderson, and Hodges from April 1989 through February 1993, and in private law practice prior to joining the firm focusing on business, corporate, and estate planning matters. Mr. Feist is licensed by State Bar of California and received his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego and Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Perry D. Moore

Chief Financial Officer/EVP

Mr. Moore has over 20 years of accounting and financial management experience. Prior to this position, Mr. Moore was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Education Lending Group, Inc., a student loan provider owned by CIT Group Inc., a Fortune 500 and NYSE listed company. He held various senior finance management positions within Education Lending Group, Inc., (a national NASDAQ listed publicly traded company) beginning in July 2001 where he was responsible for the accounting and treasury functions related to the student loan portfolios. Mr. Moore was instrumental in structuring financing vehicles allowing the portfolio to grow from inception to over $11 billion.

From 1999 through 2000, Mr. Moore was the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Student Loan Funding Resources, Inc., an originator and secondary market purchaser of federally guaranteed and private student loans. Mr. Moore was a key member of the senior management team that sold SLFR to Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) in 2000. From 1992 through 1998, Mr. Moore held various other positions with Student Loan Funding Resources, Inc., and its predecessor The Student Loan Funding Corporation where he managed the financial and operational aspects of Student Loan Funding Resources, Inc.

Prior to Student Loan Funding Resources, Inc., Mr. Moore worked as Assistant Controller and Controller from 1988 to 1992 for Newport Steel Corporation, a subsidiary of publicly held NS Group, Inc., where he was responsible for management of the accounting functions at Newport Steel as well as compilation of the consolidated financial statements of the parent. From 1985 to 1988, Mr. Moore worked in the commercial audit division of Arthur Andersen & Co. Mr. Moore is a certified public accountant in the State of Ohio and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Bowling Green State University.

John T. Weir

Chief Operating Officer

John Weir is an operations and customer acquisition professional with extensive experience developing and managing consumer marketing infrastructures, primarily in the field of financial services. With more than 30 years of experience in operations management, he has led efforts to build call centers, design information systems, implement and design new products, and integrate quality initiatives. Most recently, Mr. Weir served as an independent consultant and Executive for Goal Financial, LLC; a large national student loan company where he was responsible for Sales and Operations and successfully launching two new private loan products. Prior to that, Mr. Weir served as executive vice president and chief operations officer of EduCap, Inc., a national provider of private and federal student loans where he was charged with the responsibility of operational delivery for private student loans and initiating and managing partner relationships to provide contact center support for inbound sales, customer service, and internet-driven sales. Before joining Educap, Inc., Mr. Weir served as the executive vice president of consumer sales and operations at Education Lending Group, where he led federal student loan origination and servicing operations. While there, he launched the company’s marketing and sales efforts and achieved $6 billion in loan origination within two years through multi-channel marketing efforts. Education Lending Group was subsequently purchased by CIT Group, Inc. Mr. Weir gained valuable experience in operations management while working with Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae), Chase Manhattan Bank, and American Express Educational Loans. In these positions, Mr. Weir increased revenue, managed hundreds of customer service professionals, improved customer service quality and reduced rejected claims, restructured operations to provide career path incentives, improved doubtful accounts recovery, merged operational functions of acquired companies, and implemented automated customer processing as well as multiple advanced MIS, data tracking, and telecommunications systems. Mr. Weir earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Northwood University.

Merrill R. Cannon

VP, Legal and Administrative Affairs and Corporate Secretary

Ms. Cannon has over 15 years business and legal experience, with the latter including corporate transaction, intellectual property and immigration law. Her business experience includes 6 years in the student lending industry, initially with Education Lending Group, Inc. (acquired by CIT Group Inc.), and currently with National Lending Associates, Inc. and Education Loan Source, Inc. Ms. Cannon left her professional legal career in Canada with Amoco, Inc., and continued her vocation by working in a California securities/tax boutique law firm, a wireless telecommunication/defense corporation and an integrated biopharmaceutical company. Ms. Cannon has received multiple certifications from the University of California San Diego, including a Legal Assistant Certificate (with honors) and an Intellectual Property Certificate. Ms. Cannon has also been awarded credentials by the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. – most recently as a coveted advanced specialist (“ACP”) in the field of “Business Organizations”.