“There is no mystery to being successful,” David Yi (pictured) said. “I don’t think I’m that special of a person, I’m just a normal person who puts the clients first, I try my best to find solutions to problems, and genuinely care for those I cross paths with whether they’re clients, partners or the stranger in the elevator.”
The Japanese idea of Ikigai melds the four pillars of working life - passion, mission, profession, and vocation - into a single Venn diagram. For Yi, mortgage has become the main link to this Japanese concept that ties what he loves, what the world needs, what he can be paid for, and what he’s good at.
Eight years ago, Yi was a social worker dedicated to helping formerly homeless individuals. But faced with foreclosure himself, he knew it was time for a change.
“While [social] work was extremely gratifying, I was ready for a change in career to support my family and future ambitions. The mortgage industry became an appealing choice as a career because of the growth potential and opportunity,” he said.
From this place of crisis, Yi said that his passion grew to help people not to face the same fate and struggles as he did. Yi started by originating loans part-time at Nationwide Mortgage Services. After two years of learning the ins and outs of the business, he made the move to Finance of America Mortgage, where he oversaw the company’s Bethesda, Md. branch. Fast forward a few more years, and he founded his own company, Providence Mortgage.
“When I first started my career, I originated loans part-time and closed about $4 million in volume. In the sixth year of my career in 2020, I closed approximately $45 million in volume,” he said. “Sure, [mortgage] can be a lucrative business, and those who make it all about getting rich could achieve their goal. But being rich is very subjective and shouldn’t be quantified by numbers. There’s no reason why you can’t develop your character alongside your professional career.”
Yi told MPA that staying true to his core values led to some of the watershed moments in his career.
“There were times in my career when I wondered when and where my next lead would come from. Early on, I had my values on straight, but no audience to share it with. These moments required patience and tenacity to maintain the highest level of integrity and care for the clients,” he said. “However, as I began to grow in my career, I discovered success is grounded on a strong foundation in the mortgage practice, including honesty, diligence, and a “don’t-quit” gritty mindset. Couple those with some key strategies in branding, business development, and networking, I began to see positive yields of the business.”
One of Providence Mortgage’s key tactics, Yi noted, is always putting the client’s best interests first. Having a strong partnership growth model and a collaborative culture has also enabled them to succeed collectively with their business partners.
“Our company has been growing through our business partnerships and referral business from past clients. I always preach to our team that if you do your best, treat others well, the results will organically grow, and your career will excel,” he said. “This model worked for me from since the beginning of my career, and it still works today to develop partnerships to friendships and clients to family. When we’re getting repeated referrals from realtors, networking professionals, and past clients, we must be doing something right. We also have an inside sales team that attracts homebuyers who need help with proper guidance. We have a team of loan officers, inside sales, business development and operations support. The greatest attribute of our team is the willingness to help each other and value the culture of our company: clients first.”
Finding the sweet spot in the Ikigai Venn diagram may not be easy for many. But Yi suggests to take it one day at a time.
“Make every day purposeful and strive to find meaning in the mundane, then you will live for a higher calling and purpose in life,” he said.