ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who is Bill Bartmann? How He Became a Self Made Billionaire.

Updated on April 29, 2011
Bill Bartmann America's 25th Wealthiest Man
Bill Bartmann America's 25th Wealthiest Man

Who Is Bill Bartmann?

The big question for a lot of people is who is Bill Bartmann and how he became the 25th wealthiest American?

Well first of all let's look at what type of guy he was before he become a self-made Billionaire!

  • Did he went to the wealthiest schools, had a great educational background or had special training? NO
  • Was he handed everything on a golden platter while growing up? NO
  • Did he grow up in a rich home? NO
  • Did he inherit his fortunes? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Even though these are some attributes of how some people become rich, it was not like that for Bill, he was a regular guy.

Bill Bartmann Story

Bill was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1949 and grew up with his parents and 7 siblings. His father was a janitor and his mother cleaned houses for a living. His parents raise them on welfare to make ends meet.

Growing up as a child Bill was bullied and beaten up by kids, at the age of 14 he dropped out of school and join up with a traveling carnival. He later became a member of a street gang called the Manor Boys. He also became homeless and had to lived under bridge viaducts, in haylofts, and ate out of dumpsters.

He attempted to join the Marines Corps, but was rejected for poor hearing. At age 17, he became an alcoholic, then one night while drunk he fell down a flight of stairs, crushing parts of his spine and he became paralyzed. He was told by his doctor that he would never walk again. Against his doctor's belief, Bartmann did not let that keep him down, but embarked on nightly physical activities until he eventually regained the use of his legs.

For several years Bartmann worked at Dubuque Packing Company a slaughterhouse. Then Bill decided to take control of his life by taking the GED exam and putting himself through college and law school Bill Bartmann later earned a BS from Loras College and a JD from Drake University. After passing the Iowa Bar Exam, Bill immediately went into private practice, specializing in personal bankruptcy cases.

Flash forward years after, at the request of a bank, Bill took over a foreclosed oil-field pipe manufacturing plant and turned it into a million dollar a month business, until OPEC slashed the price of oil - leaving Bill out of business, he then claimed bankruptcy and owed a million dollars in debt.

Being constantly hounded by debt collectors calls, struggling to pay his bills, (how many of you can relate to that) - he had to borrow money from his son-in-law - now that was a tough pill to swallow.

Bartmann Went From Rags to Riches

Refusing to give up, one day Bill and his wife Kathy saw an Ad in the newspaper about buying defaulted loans from the federal government. He went to the bank that he owed 1 million dollars and borrowed $13,000. He and Kathy then bought their first box of loans and made $50,000.00. Hummn.. What an investment!

He made enough money to pay back the bank $13,000.00 borrowed and made a handsome profit for himself. He then borrowed more money and continue doing the same thing over and over and created a company that would buy bad debts and collect from debtors who owed credit card debts. Brilliant!!!

Three years later, they had repaid the entire million dollar debt. Over the next 13 years, Bill Bartmann was the founder and CEO of Commercial Financial Services Inc, from 1986 to 1999. which grew to 3,900 employees with revenues in excess of $1 billion and earnings in excess of $182 million.

Bill Bartmann on Inc. Magazine
Bill Bartmann on Inc. Magazine

Bartmann Recognitions

Bill and his wife Kathy have been on the covers of national business magazines: Kathy was on the cover of Forbes, and Bill on the cover of Inc.

They were listed on the Forbes 400 Wealthiest People in America list. One national magazine ranked them the 25th wealthiest people.

They were also documented by;

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Business Week
  • Market Watch
  • Success Magazine
  • Inc. 500
  • USA Today
  • Fox Business and many more.

Bill Bartman Awards & Acknowledgements

Bill receives many awards for his successful achievements;

Inc. Magazine 500 Trophy
Inc. Magazine 500 Trophy
Merrill Lynch Trophy
Merrill Lynch Trophy
  • American Academy of Achievement - "Golden Plate Award"
  • Smithsonian Institution - Museum of American History
  • NASDAQ, USA Today, Ernst & Young - National Entrepreneur of the Year"
  • Merrill Lynch & Inc. Magazine - "Entrepreneur of the Year"
  • US Chamber of Commerce - "Blue Chip Enterprise Award"
  • US Better Business Bureau's - "Torch Award" for ethics in the market place
  • Oklahoma Investment Forum - "Entrepreneur of the Decade Award"
  • Bartmann has been ranked in the Inc. Magazine "500 Fastest Growing Private Companies" - 347th, 234th, 37th, 8th and the 6th fastest growing private company.

And also received many more awards for his excellent success by others.

Bill Bartmann Tragedy

Bartmann had a tragedy In 1998 where his former business partner committed fraud and sent the company into bankruptcy, even though his partner admitted his guilt and told prosecutors he had acted without Bill’s knowledge, they still went on with a long trial.

The US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, indicted Bill, the government called 53 witnesses and produced over 1,000 exhibits, Bill rested his case without calling a single witness or producing a single exhibit. The jury unanimously acquitted Bill on all counts.

Bill Bartmann Enterprises

In 2003 Bartmann founded Bill Bartmann Enterprises in order to offer business training and information to entrepreneurs.

In 2008 he noticed that the banking bailout and TARP subsidies presented an opportunity to buy defaulted debt from troubled banks, mirroring the situation he built with Commercial Financial Services from 1986 to 1999.

But despite that unfortunate incident, it never deter Bill from working towards success again. Bartmann get right back on the horse and developed a series of training programs to enable individuals to buy portfolios of defaulted credit-card debt.

In 2009 Bartmann published a book, "Bailout Riches", which describes the opportunity he says the bank-bailout and recession of 2008-2010 has created.

Bill Bartmann CFS

On July 1, 2010, Bill launched CFS II, hired eight former employees and started business again buying bad loans for pennies on the Dollar and then treats debtors with dignity and respect to incrementally collect what is owed, which is his secret recipe.

In November 2010, CFS II entered into a lease of two floors of CityPlex Towers with 103 employees and aggressive growth plans of partnering with individuals, teaching them how to borrow money from their banks to buy bad debts for pennies on a dollar, whether they have good credit or not.

This is the success story of America's 25th Wealthiest person and how he became what he is today and the vehicle that got him to his eminent success!

This self-made Billionaire, Bill Bartmann has been placed in the Hall of Fame next to Henry Ford!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sharon Douglas profile image

      Sharon Douglas 6 years ago from GA, United States

      Thank you Express10, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Yes Bill Bartmann experiences of determination and perseverance encourages me to soar towards my own goals as well and no doubt has encourage others as well ;)

      Thank you for your comment, enjoy the rest of your week.


    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 6 years ago from East Coast

      Awesome hub that shows the value of determination and perseverance. I really enjoyed it.

    • Sharon Douglas profile image

      Sharon Douglas 6 years ago from GA, United States

      Hello always exploring!

      Yeah Mr. Bartmann has such an interesting story behind his life and a true example for when life gets tough you don't give up but hold on even stronger and fight for your dream.

      Your comment are truly a blessing, thank you for stopping by.

      Have a good night!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I have never heard of him...Sounds like a man who was determined to make it. Interesting hub..Thank you.

    • Sharon Douglas profile image

      Sharon Douglas 6 years ago from GA, United States

      Thank you Sligobay for visiting and commenting.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

      Grreat Article.

    • Sharon Douglas profile image

      Sharon Douglas 6 years ago from GA, United States

      Thank you Jillianne for visiting!

      Your comment is highly appreciated!

    • Jillianne profile image

      Jillianne 6 years ago

      Sharon, Great hub! Thanks.