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How a former Lehman banker and his twin brother’s credit crisis experiences helped shape Mogo

Mogo founders Greg (LEFT) and Dave (RIGHT) Feller in Toronto.

Painful personal experiences at opposite sides of the credit crisis brought twin brothers Dave and Greg Feller together at Mogo Finance Technology Inc., one of a handful of online alternative lenders tapping those who can’t or don’t want to deal with a bank.

Greg, Vancouver-based Mogo’s chief financial officer, was riding high as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers in New York when the bank collapsed spectacularly in 2008, struck down by exposure to the imploding U.S. subprime mortgage market, becoming the epicentre for a string of bailouts and forced mergers.

His identical twin brother Dave, Mogo’s chief executive, had begun building the Mogo business a few years before that credit crisis, but he had survived one of his own after loading up several credit cards and struggling for years under the weight of compounding interest.

Dave spent about a decade digging out of debt after graduating from university, while his twin carved out his high-stakes career in investment banking in England and the United States.

On a surreal fall night in Manhattan in 2008 when Greg, then 40, was packing his Lehman belongings into boxes, he didn’t realize his employer’s seismic bankruptcy filing the next day would set the stage for the paths of the once-inseparable twins to reconnect.

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