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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

James Hawkins


Golden Oak Lending

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 2001

Industry: Mortgage

Since purchasing Golden Oak Lending in 2015, James Hawkins, president, has grown the firm from two branches to eight branches serving 17 states. His leadership, coupled with having the right staff, contributes significantly to the success of the company.

“When you promote or task the right person, they will rise to the occasion,” said Hawkins. “It is rare that a person already shows all the skills necessary to rise above where they are. Sometimes you have to give them the opportunity first and let them rise to the challenge.”

Ready for a challenge as the firm anticipates achieving 10% of market share and eventually operating in all 50 states, Hawkins said he prefers slow and deliberate growth. “We are in business for the long haul, and we can better our community and continue to grow if we stick to our business model and make sure to help every customer who contacts us,” he said.

Golden Oak Lending is a residential mortgage lending firm. “We realize that each person has different circumstances and needs, so we look at every loan individually,” said Hawkins. “We help customers decide on the best way to address their particular situation while delivering the highest level of professionalism, customer service and empathy.”

His staff describes him as a Titan and a leader in the St. Louis community. “He has a clear vision even in unchartered territory and has remained steadfast in the company’s focus on refinances and strategies centered around the business model,” they said. “As the company has grown, he remains focused on making sure each branch is rooted in the community and provides customers one-one-one attention throughout the home loan process.”

In addition to his commitment to serving Golden Oak’s customers and developing his staff, Hawkins also has a passion for community and sports, honored with the Musial Award for his work coaching youth football.

As a leader, Hawkins shows his staff that you can take informed, calculated risks to grow and better the company. “We aren’t afraid to reinvest in the company and not afraid to forge our own path,” said Hawkins. “We believe in entering new markets to grow the company, thus protecting our employees during slow times. We add new business, which makes up for slow cyclical times in the industry.”

For his support, risk-taking mentality and leadership, Hawkins has been named a Titan.

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Did you know?

James enjoys the outdoors. Most weekends you can find him at the lake boating or fishing, or in the woods hiking or hunting.


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