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James Folk returns to his roots

Broker offers road map for homebuyers

By Eve Marx

For Seaside Signal

Published on September 30, 2017 7:51AM

James Folk

Submitted photo

James Folk

James Folk in his Gearhart office. The photographic artwork on the wall is his own creation.

R.J. Marx/Seaside Signal

James Folk in his Gearhart office. The photographic artwork on the wall is his own creation.

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Office of Academy Mortgage in Gearhart.

R.J. Marx/Seaside Signal

Office of Academy Mortgage in Gearhart.

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James Folk, or “Jimmy” to his closest friends, recently opened the Academy Mortgage office in Gearhart practically next door to The Sweet Shop.

Seventeen years into his career in mortgage and lending, Folk teamed his skills with Academy to open this branch office. Founded in 1988, Academy is among the nation’s largest and most respected independent mortgage lenders. With headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company has more than 260 branch offices around the country. Gearhart is one of the most recent.

Folk has been in the mortgage and lending business for close to two decades. Born in Klamath Falls, his family moved to the Coast when he was just the tender age of one year. His mother, Sue Pickell, who likes to drop by the new office to say hello, was a well-known and respected real estate agent around town.

“I moved away from the area after high school,” Folk said. “I traveled as far as Australia.”

One of the jobs he did while traveling was caddy on a pro golf tour. An avid golfer, Folk is a member of the Seaside Hall of Fame Committee.

Eventually he found his way to southern California when he decided to return to school.

Fifteen years ago he returned to Portland before he felt the call to return to his roots on the North Coast.

“I’ve been in the mortgage business since 2001,” Folk said.

He worked for a privately held corporation in Salt Lake; after returning to the Portland area, he was a regional manager doing mortgage business in Lake Oswego, Portland, Wilsonville, Beaverton and the Coast, including the U.S. Bank in Astoria and Seaside.

“I’ve worked for a long time in banks in their mortgage and lending divisions,” Folk said.

Not long ago, he joined Academy as a loan officer with the intention of opening a Gearhart branch.

Inside his Pacific Way office, clients can also see his artistic side. The photographic beach scenes and landscapes hanging on the walls are his work, creating a gallery-like feel.

As a direct lender, he said, there is no middle person, which is a “big deal,” he said. “Because all processes are managed in-house, I can eliminate the need to outsource or depend on third parties.”

Folk works closely with Ticor Title and the Pacific Title Company throughout the application process, which he said, is mostly paperless.

He demonstrated how much of the communication with his clients can be done through the company’s custom MyMortgage app enabling users to read, sign, and save important documents and mortgage materials right from their smartphone device.

“Buying a home or commercial real estate property is one of the largest decisions a person makes,” Folk said. “I handle everything from zero money down up to loans for $4 million.”

His 17 years in the business have given him the confidence to say there’s always a way to get the job done. “You can get into a house. My job is to give you the road map how to do it.”

Academy Mortgage is located at 585 Pacific Way, Gearhart; (503) 739-7446;


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