2023 Rising Star: Craig Austin


Craig Austin is the executive vice president of FirstClose, a fintech provider of digital HELOC solutions for banks, credit unions and lenders nationwide. FirstClose is responsible for leading new and existing client initiatives. In less than a year, Austin has closed several high-impact deals with large lenders and partners, resulting in both business and revenue momentum. 

Since joining the firm in August 2022, Austin has played a crucial role in FirstClose’s growth. He has led several initiatives that significantly streamlined the home equity lending process, including FirstClose’s partnership with Evolve Mortgage Services. The partnership enables lenders to approve HELOCs within seven minutes and eClose lines within seven days, significantly faster than the industry average. The collaboration combines FirstClose’s home equity application management system with Evolve’s SigniaDocument engine and its eSign and RON capabilities. Austin also supported the integration with Flueid which significantly accelerates the home equity lending process. Now, Flueid Decision is available in the FirstClose digital home equity lending platform so lenders can check the title and other key data insights at the start of the loan. 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Know yourself. Know yourself very well. Be very honest with what you’re good at and your strengths and limitations. We all have them. And then align yourself with amazing people that are more skilled in areas that require expertise above your own and believe in your overall vision.


Craig Austin




Executive Vice President

Company Name:




3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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