20 Under 40
President, Flat Branch Home Loans
Leading a team of the finest mortgage originators in the State of Missouri.
Years lived in Columbia:
Rock Bridge High School, Bachelor of Science in finance from Columbia College; MBA from William Woods University.
Before getting in the mortgage business, I had just about every job imaginable — electric meter installer, short order cook, retail, cable television installer, etc. I went to school at night and worked during the day. I always knew that I wanted to own a business, but it was just by chance that I ended up in mortgages. I answered an ad for a title company, then moved to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. In 2005, I was 25 years old and had nothing to lose. When an opportunity presented itself to start a mortgage company, I went for it, and Flat Branch was born.
My dad, Marvin Yankee, passed away when I was 7 years old. I still consider him my mentor. I modeled much of my life and business around the way I thought he would have. Also, my partner in Flat Branch, Delton Jacobs, has been a great influence on me in life and business. I lucked out, because most business partnerships don’t last a year, let alone 10.
What don’t people know about your job?
It’s immensely stressful and immensely rewarding. And I don’t think people realize how big Flat Branch is becoming in other parts of the state. Our goal is to be the largest mortgage originator in the state of Missouri. Another ten years, and I think we’ll be there.
What is the best thing about your job?
It’s cliché, but really am lucky to be able to work with such an amazing group of “Flat Branchers.” They really are the best of the best, and I’m proud to be associated with them.
What was your New Year’s resolution in 2015? Did you accomplish it?
It’s the same every year — to get in shape. Generally, it’s a battle between going to the gym and going to Shiloh for a beer. Currently, the beer is winning, but I’ll get it done next year.
What are your specific professional goals for 2016?
To keep doing what we’re doing and assemble the best group of people in the state of Missouri.
What about your day do you look forward to most? What motivates you?
Every day at 5 p.m., my wife and I go to Bright Start daycare to pick up our kids (Benny, 4, and Ella, 2). Every day, they come running and jump into my arms yelling “Daddy, daddy.” Life doesn’t get any better than that.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Hell if I know, but I bet it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
I’m unfortunately not nearly as involved as I used to be. My favorite community service is volunteering at the Downtown Optimist Christmas Tree Lot. It’s a lot of fun and really rewarding helping people pick out their Christmas tree. As life has gotten busier, even that has become more difficult to do.
Accomplishment you’re most proud of?
Meeting and marrying my wife, Jessie Yankee. She’s an incredible businesswoman (owner of EasyPC) and an endlessly awesome wife and mother.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m addicted to stupid phone games. Currently, it’s Smashy Road…I can’t stop.
Greatest lesson learned?
You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
Want more 2016 20 Under 40? Check out Sonya Addison’s Q&A.