Mortgage Bankers Association National President 1949
Mr. Nielsen immigrated to Colorado from Denmark at the age of 9. He was educated in the Denver Public schools and the YMCA night school. Like many immigrants he started with an entry level job at Morey Mercantile Company. In addition he was hired to be the bookkeeper for the Dowd Family. On a Dowd family trip to Texas their daughter met and married a young Army officer who would become Nielsen’s lifelong friend. The young officer was Dwight David Eisenhower. The General stopped in Denver for two days of fishing and relaxation with Nielsen before leaving to become the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
Mr. Nielsen began working at the Title Guaranty Company in 1925. Hired as a loan originator he moved up to become the company’s owner and Chairman. He retired in 1965. He founded the Mortgage Investment Company in 1953. In 1968 Mortgage Investment Company was merged into the First National Bank of Denver. The company was renamed First Denver Mortgage Company. He retired from mortgage banking to manage personal investments in 1968.
Mr. Nielsen was elected President of MBA in 1949. The MBA's Distinguished Service Award was named for him in recognition of his contribution to industry education. He founded the MBA's School of Mortgage Banking at Northwestern University, School of Management in 1948. As an example of his long term commitment to education, Mr. Nielsen served as a trustee of the University of Denver where he held an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.
During the Eisenhower administration he had been asked many times to take on a role in government. He resisted that saying that” the president needed a friend” however he did lead an industry effort to look at the reorganization of the government's housing and mortgage finance systems. The recommendations in part, lead to the consolidation of a number of separate activities into the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
He was a director of United Airlines, First National Bank of Denver, Empire Savings, United American Life, Web Warning Institute, Air Force Academy Foundation Museum of Natural History, Presbyterian Hospital and many other civic and community organizations.