Harvey and Cecile Cloyd
The Cloyds: Investing in themselves

By Stanley O. Williford
Director of Publications

Harvey Cloyd and Cecile Robinson met in 1984 while both were college students working part-time as Medicare claims examiners at Transamerica Life Insurance Corporation.

They began dating about a year later, and marriage quickly followed.  Both were 21 and still working part-time. A couple of months later they began attending Crenshaw Christian Center. 

“Thank God, Dr. Price soon began teaching on The Christian Family series, which took almost an entire year,” said Harvey.  “That gave us a foundation and guidelines that we could easily follow in our young marriage.”

This month marks their thirty-fourth wedding anniversary.

Although they didn’t graduate from college, the Cloyds would eventually establish and oversee a corporation that would handle billions of dollars a day in stock transactions and employ more than 50 people in offices in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto.

But that’s jumping ahead of their early more humbling times, such as when they lived in a garage that had been converted into an apartment. Or, when the car they owned, a 1985 Dodge Colt that had a rickety bumper and a chain to keep the hood in place.

As a young couple new to Crenshaw they understood little about the principles of giving, and really didn’t have any extra money to give.  “However, when Dr. Price taught, he just made everything about the Bible so real and alive that we had this great desire and heart to give to God without really having any expectation of receiving anything in return,” said Harvey.

 “That year my dad sent me $100 in the mail for my twenty-second birthday, April 30th.  I remember spending about fifteen to twenty dollars on dinner, and the balance we put in the offering the next Sunday on May 4,” he said.

Both Harvey and Cecile have always credited that offering as the spark that eventually propelled them to the creation of multi-million-dollar businesses over the past thirty years. 

Within a couple of days of that offering, Harvey, on a whim, visited the Pacific Stock Exchange in downtown Los Angeles, something he had wanted to do for quite some time.

Unfortunately, when he arrived, he found the viewing gallery of the Exchange closed.  However, the office was open.  

“I asked what kind of jobs they had,” he said. “They had an entry-level floor reporter job, paying $800 dollars a month, but there was an eight-month waiting list.” After more discussion, he was told that there was another job that was open that paid $1,100 a month that he could interview for immediately.  Although unprepared for an interview, he applied and was interviewed that same day.

“I went home and told Cecile everything that happened and waited,” he said. “A couple of days later I got a call from the manager of Pershing, a brokerage operation on the trading floor of the Exchange. He had been going through applications and happened to come across mine. He told me he had a position available that paid $1,300 a month, and after a brief interview he offered me the job!”

Harvey’s first day on the job was May 12, just eight days after giving that life-changing offering.

After roughly six years of working on the trading floor, though making more than twice his original salary, and being a prominent member of the Exchange, Harvey felt somewhat stagnated. 

In the summer of 1992, Harvey attended the CCC Men’s Advance and remembers being so moved that he began to seek God for direction.  As he anxiously waited, he remembers Cecile sitting him down and telling him, “I believe the Lord is telling me to tell you to be still and know that I am God. You have been faithful, and I will show you what it is that I want you to do.”

Within about eight months in 1993, Harvey launched a brokerage operation called Harvey Cloyd & Co.  with very little money. “I felt as though this new business was tied to my purpose in some way,” he said.  By then, Cecile was a stay-at-home mom with their three children – Kristian, 5, and their 9-month-old twins, Joy and Daniel.

Harvey Cloyd & Co., however, started off as a one-man shop for the first couple of years, but over time grew to where Harvey had two full-time employees.

“I had to be very creative to survive” he said. “We were competing with a lot of floor brokerage operations around the country, and our operating expenses increased a hundredfold over the years.” As a result, there were some good months mixed with a lot of lean times.

 “It was feast or famine. I was a stay-at-home mom, and it was a no-frills kind of life,” said Cecile. “But you make it work or adjust. There were times when we really seemed to struggle. There were times when we had a lot, but on a couple of occasions my mom was led to drop off groceries.”

Feeling as though he wasn’t progressing enough, Harvey folded Harvey Cloyd & Co. into an operation he created for D.A. Davidson, then the largest brokerage firm based in the Pacific Northwest.  The move offered him greater stability. He managed that operation for about a year before the Pacific Stock Exchange was sold and shut down its trading floors.

“I left the trading floor and went to Wedbush Securities, a privately held financial services firm,” he said “I had been a client of Wedbush for a number of years, and they had the foresight to hire me without a real job in mind.  They provided an environment that allowed me to create.”

“I created a new business line within Wedbush which took them from being ranked around fifty-eighth in trading volume to the number-one firm in the country on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.  The firm was making several millions of dollars on this new business.”

 By 2004, Harvey was making well over ten times what he made in the early years, but he knew there was more to be had.

After about seven years, he left Wedbush and created Electronic Transaction Clearing (ETC) in December 2007.  This time Cecile came with him to head human resources. 

“We’ve been successful in garnering clients from all over the world, and at one point frequently processed transactions equal to 9 percent of the entire U.S. stock market,” he said.  “We were the first brokerage firm in the country to act as custodians for digital securities and crypto-currencies.  We’ve done some incredible things and had tremendous successes in a very tough environment.”

ETC, the brokerage firm, has since been bought out, and the Cloyds have been on what they call a sabbatical for the past few months. They’ve been traveling and enjoying the time off but are also working on other ventures and ideas. 

 “We’ll see what the Lord has next,” Harvey said.

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