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Flat Branch Home Loans Review: Over 1,000 Years of Mortgage Experience

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If you’re looking for a home purchase lending expert in the Midwest, you may want to check out “Flat Branch Home Loans.”

The Columbia, MO-based company is the #1 home purchase lender in the state, beating out the very biggest names in the industry.

They’re also the top USDA lender in the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, as well the eighth largest nationwide.

That’s pretty impressive, and could be directly related to their 1,000+ years of combined mortgage experience.

So if you’re a prospective home buyer looking for a little extra guidance, they could be a good fit.

Flat Branch Home Loans Fast Facts

  • Employee-owned, direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
  • Offers home purchase loans and mortgage refinances
  • Founded in 2005, headquartered in Columbia, MO
  • Funded about $3.75 billion in home loans last year
  • #1 retail home purchase lender in the state of Missouri
  • Roughly two-thirds of overall business comes from home state
  • Also very active in Illinois, Kansas, and Oklahoma
  • Currently licensed in 30 states nationwide

Flat Branch Home Loans is an employee-owned, direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender located in Columbia, Missouri.

They were founded by current president Jim Yankee in 2005, and have since grown to a 700-employee strong company.

Their claim to fame is being #1 home purchase lender in the state of Missouri, as well as a big-time USDA loan lender.

This makes it obvious that they’re a solid choice for home buyers, though they also do a good deal of mortgage refinancing as well.

Last year, they funded about $3.75 billion in home loans, with a 70/30 split of purchase loans and refinances.

Roughly two-thirds of their overall production comes from their home state of Missouri.

And they’re the fourth largest mortgage lender in Missouri overall, only bettered by U.S. Bank, Rocket Mortgage, and Wells Fargo.

Aside from Missouri, they’re quite active in the states of Illinois, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

At the moment, they’re licensed in 30 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

For the record, their name is derived from the Flat Branch stream that flows near Columbia, MO.

How to Apply with Flat Branch Home Loans

To get started, you can visit a local office if located in the Midwest, or simply navigate to their website.

At last count, they’ve got about 58 physical locations in a handful of Midwestern states.

If you begin at the website, you can browse their online loan officer directory, read bios, and find someone to work with.

Once you narrow down your loan officer search, you can click on “Apply” and you’ll have the option to continue on to the digital application or have them reach out to you.

It might be wise to have them reach out first so you can discuss loan pricing and eligibility before filling out the app.

When it comes time to complete the app, their digital mortgage experience is powered by SimpleNexus.

You can fill out the app from a computer, or download their smartphone app and tackle it that way.

Applicants can eSign disclosures, quickly calculate payments, securely scan and upload documents, and message their loan officer with questions along the way.

You’ll also receive updates as you go to determine where you’re at in the process. And receive a notification whenever they request a new document from you.

Simply put, Flat Branch Home Loans offers a good combination of the latest technology and human touch.

Loan Programs Offered by Flat Branch Home Loans

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • FHA loans
  • USDA loans
  • VA loans
  • HomeReady and Home Possible (3% down)
  • Grants and down payment assistance programs
  • MHDC loans
  • Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program

Flat Branch Home Loans is big on home purchase financing, and has a long list of programs to help secure a mortgage.

If you’re an EMT, firefighter, police officer, teacher, or military, their “Community Champions Program” comes with up to $900 in lender credits and a waived appraisal fee.

They also originate Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) loans, which feature down payment assistance via a forgivable second mortgage.

As noted, they’re a major USDA loan lender, so if you’re purchasing a rural home they should be a great fit.

The USDA program has its quirks, so using an experienced lender who knows how to navigate it is advised.

Aside from that, they offer all the major stuff like conforming loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and even bridge loans to help you buy before you sell.

Their Lock and Shop option, which allows you to lock a mortgage rate before you find a home, is available in the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska.

Lastly, they offer the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program, a low-down payment loan option for Native Americans.

It’s unclear if they offer jumbo loans or adjustable-rate mortgages, though you can get a fixed-rate mortgage in a variety of different loan terms.

Flat Branch Home Loans Rates

While we know they specialize in home purchase lending, we don’t know a lot about their loan pricing.

To my knowledge, they don’t feature their mortgage rates or lender fees on their website. As such, you’ll need to speak with a human to get a quote.

This doesn’t say anything about their rates, good or bad, it just doesn’t give us anything to go on in this review.

Once you get a mortgage rate quote, be sure to shop their mortgage APR with other banks, lenders, and mortgage brokers to see where they stand.

Take note of any lender fees and/or discount points required for the quoted rate to ensure you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison.

The only hint we have about pricing comes from their Zillow reviews, in which a good chunk of customers indicated a lower rate and/or closing costs than expected.

Flat Branch Home Loans Reviews

Over at Zillow, Flat Branch Home Loans has a stellar 4.96-star rating out of a possible five from about 900 customer reviews.

Many of the reviews highlight their hands-on service and fast closings, especially important to home buyers.

They’ve also got a 4.9-star rating from about 160 Google reviews, along with a 4.7-star rating on Facebook from roughly 200 reviews, and a 4.9 rating on LendingTree from 40 reviews.

While they aren’t an accredited business, they do hold an ‘A+’ rating with the Better Business Bureau based on customer complaint history.

To wrap things up, Flat Branch Home Loans is clearly a home purchase lender first and foremost.

They pride themselves on their extensive mortgage knowledge and experience, important attributes when it comes to home buying.

Ultimately, if you want a competent lender who you can rely on to close on time, they might be a solid choice.

Their wide array of loan programs, including proprietary offerings and low or zero down options, is also a big plus.

Just pay attention to pricing as well to ensure you receive quality service and a competitive rate.

Flat Branch Home Loans Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Can apply for a home loan online or via smartphone
  • Offer a mostly paperless, digital mortgage experience
  • Physical branches in many Midwestern states
  • A good range of loan programs to choose from (especially for home buyers)
  • Excellent customer reviews across ratings websites
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Free smartphone app
  • Free mortgage calculator and home buyer guides online
  • They service their loans after closing

The Cons

  • Do not list their mortgage rates or lender fees online
  • Not licensed in all states

(photo: Ivan)

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