President and Co-founder of New American Funding
With over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Patty Arvielo has helped create one of the fastest growing mortgage bankers in America, New American Funding. From running around the streets of Tijuana to walking the Great Wall of China, she recounts her formative experiences and describes how she is the American Dream.
NAWRB: What inspired you to enter the mortgage industry at the age of 16, and at that time, what did you envision being your lifelong career? Are you interested in any other professional fields, and did you ever consider career paths outside the mortgage industry?
Patricia Arvielo: I don’t know that anybody that I’ve ever spoken to in almost 35 years of being a mortgage banker has had the dream of being a mortgage banker. I fell upon an entry-level job because even though I was very young, I was inspired by earning the almighty dollar. TransUnion Credit happened to be the highest paid hourly job I could find. I got that job when I was 16 and I was a data entry clerk for thecompany, whereby I would input derogatory credit on mortgage factual reports. At that point I would take the calls from the people ordering the reports and I would ask them questions like, “Why do you need these reports?” and they said, “Because we do mortgage loans.” So I asked, “What’s that take? How much do you make?” They made more than I did so of course I went and looked for an entry-level job at a mortgage company. Again, being very young, my motivation and inspiration was to make more money and become independent so I could buy a new car and wear the clothes I wanted; as you can imagine, being a 16 or 17-year-old girl, that was important.
I’ve recently been drawn to the political arena, as an influencer and a voice for the housing market. That’s been my new hobby, to really focus on how this country’s built, how it’s currently running, my feelings about it and how housing has such a large impact on the economy. I’m trying to get out there in a positive way to influence government entities, all the way down to the private sector, to ensure that our underserved are able to obtain homeownership at a better rate than they are currently.
I’ve been doing the same thing almost 35 years. I love what I do. It’s just a matter of taking what I’ve learned and using it in a positive manner.
NAWRB: Let’s take that to the next level. Are you thinking about running for an office, or being a voice speaking on behalf of political campaigns?
Patricia Arvielo: Well, I did just get a text last week to see if I would consider running for Newport Beach Mayor. If you would have asked me five years ago I would’ve said no, but now after five years of tremendous growth and realizing that I played an important part of that growth, I’ve gained the confidence I think is required to get out there. I think America’s looking to get away from the political points and just really have the natural voice needed to get things done anywhere, in work and at home. It comes down to the basic elements of communication and leadership, and I think I’m pretty good at leading people.
So I wouldn’t say no to that question, but it’s definitely just in its infancy. I’ve been growing and learning more about what that means to me. That’s been exciting.
I think it’s really important that people like me get out and start leading America in the right direction, because we’re not groomed politicians we’re groomed entrepreneurs. As a woman, and with so few of us out there in mortgage banking, I have to say it’s important, and if that’s where it leads I’m definitely open to it.
NAWRB: You are very active within the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. What does Big Brothers Big Sisters mean to you and what do you contribute to the organization? What would you say to people who are thinking of volunteering or who want to know more about the organization?
Patricia Arvielo: Big Brother Big Sisters is one of the most valuable sources of outreach we have in America today. They’re a 100 percent mentorship program and we identify the children that go through our program as Littles and the mentors as Bigs. We’ve been able to demonstrate that 60 percent of these children will be the first in their family to graduate from high school. We have also demonstrated that 98 percent of the Littles graduate high school on time and 90 percent of them enroll in college. There are no barriers to enter. It’s getting your name on a list and waiting for somebody to take the incredible journey of mentorship, that’s all it takes. It costs them nothing and it’s a win-win on both sides, for the mentor and for the child.
This organization is over 100 years old. I joined three years ago and was asked to serve on the board the first year and on the executive board this last year. I think the same passion I demonstrate towards my leadership in the Hispanic community and at New American Funding I’ve demonstrated at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Many of the children we serve are Hispanic, about 90 percent of them. It’s such a great program, and everybody gets us confused with the Boys and Girls Club, but we are different than the Boys and Girls Club, we are a mentorship program. At Big Brothers Big Sisters we are really working on our branding and that’s one area where I can really help with my experience as an entrepreneur and one who can scale successful companies such as New American Funding.
It’s extremely rewarding for me and I’m really all-in to that organization. I decided not to just give money to 10 different organizations, but dedicate time and focus on one. I really decided to give my heart and soul and money to one, and I chose Big Brother Big Sisters. I would consider just reaching out, there’s chapters all across the United States. I happen to be part of the Orange County and The Inland Empire chapter, and I believe we’re sixth in the nation. We have a mentorship program here at New American Funding that we rolled out in concurrence with Big Brothers Big Sisters. We have approximately 10 employees that mentor children from a local high school in an underserved market. It’s so fun because they’re able to give back to the community while they’re working and that’s rare. It’s called Beyond School Walls.
NAWRB: What is your favorite childhood memory?
Patricia Arvielo: This one’s hard. I think it’s when I hit my first home run as a softball player, because I didn’t think I could. I only ever hit one in all the years that I played. It wasn’t a big deal that I hit the home run to anybody else but me, but I remember running around the bases and sliding into home, and I didn’t even need to slide because I hit the ball so far.
I just sat on the bench and cried. Everyone was like, “Why are you crying?” I think it was because it didn’t matter to anybody else it just mattered to me, that I could do it. I still remember that.
I was probably 12. I played softball in Whittier and La Mirada. Whittier and La Mirada had really good softball players; it was very competitive even back then. I was just so happy that I did it, and I never did it again.
NAWRB: How has being Hispanic influenced your career? In what ways has it helped you professionally? What would you say has been the value of culture to your life, both personal and professional?
Patricia Arvielo: I think I always knew I was special because I was Hispanic. It was fun to be able to speak Spanish at such a young age when it wasn’t in fashion, even way back in the ’70s when I was in school. I always felt honored that I was a little bit different in a great way from most children. I spent a large part of my life running around the streets of Tijuana because my mom and dad were pretty young when they had us and that’s where I gained a lot of freedom. My nana would just let us go, unlike here where my mom would barely let us cross the street.
How has it enhanced my career? It definitely has not hindered it. It has benefited me in many, many ways. The way that it has helped me is that I’ve been able to demonstrate the true love that I have for our culture, and I’ve been able to teach people that we’re very American, we’re just very in love with who we are, our background and culture. I’ve been able to scale my current company to serve this market in a way that people are looking at us asking, “How are you growing so large in this space?” Well, not much doesn’t grow when you love it. I’m very passionate and I love it and I’m in love with the people. To me it has all been a win. I’m bringing my mom to Fannie Mae for the Hispanic Heritage Month, they don’t even know. I’m going to walk in proudly with my mother because if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have niched myself as a leader in this space. It’s done nothing but enhance my career.
I have an extraordinary desire to be foundational, in every aspect of my life. From a very young age, any money that I would get I would save and make sure it was safe. It goes straight along with being not only foundational but deeply rooted in my family. It’s ingrained in me that it’s my responsibility and I feel very fortunate to be able to serve my family.
NAWRB: The story of New American Funding is truly special: a husband and wife team following a dream and becoming hugely successful. What is the biggest way your life has changed since the company’s formation?
Patricia Arvielo: I have a lot more people I love, a lot. I don’t know that personally I’ve changed, but my life has changed because I have a commitment to serve others like I never thought I would. I’m directly responsible for everybody that works here and their extended families, and I feel, again going back to my culture, deeply rooted and that it’s my responsibility to make sure I serve the people that work here just like I would my family. I’m up at night if I’m worrying about it, so I feel very deeply rooted. I’ve always been very, very driven, even prior to the growth here. I feel comfortable, but I don’t take my life for granted at all.
NAWRB: What place that you have traveled to is the most dear to your heart and why?
Patricia Arvielo: I think it was a couple years ago when I was able to have my whole family, my mom, my dad, all three of my kids and my husband on the Great Wall of China and we walked it together. That’s probably one of the most memorable times I’ve had in the last couple years.
NAWRB: What does a day in the life of Patty Arvielo look like when work is not a concern? What are your passions outside of the workplace? How important do you think work-life balance is to a happy life?
Patricia Arvielo: For me, work is not what I do it’s just who I am. I don’t ever shut off because I don’t look at what I do as work. It’s really who I am. I focus tremendously on my marriage, my parents and my brother and sister. Outside of that I’m traveling. Every six weeks we are gone somewhere else in the world. Those are my hobbies and passions, my family and to see the world. A lot of it is because I’m a culture junky. I love people who are different from me. They challenge me to think what it would be like to be born in their country. I like to immerse myself in other peoples’ cultures. That’s why I go to places like Morocco, China and Hong Kong. I go to countries very culturally different than ours because I enjoy the differences and its fun.
I’m in a leadership position now more than ever and wake up every day challenged to do my very best. I’m always thinking of better ways to support the people around me, whether it’s at New American Funding, Big Brothers Big Sisters or with my family or associates; as well as when taking care of my son, being a wife to my husband Rick and running our social lives and our home just like everyone else does.
I really am celebratory about life. I like to take time to reflect on how fortunate I am. I like to spend time at home with my family and enjoy talking to my husband about all of the things that happened during the day.
NAWRB: From its creation in 2003 to funding over $900 million per month, what has been the most important contributor to the triumph of New American Funding?
Patricia Arvielo: I’m very fortunate to have an incredible marriage and a synergistic relationship with a business partner that I trust immensely in my husband. When you can wake up every day and know that person has your back and they’re able to work synergistically with you to create something really big it makes it a lot easier. I don’t have to wake up and wonder if that teammate is going to show up and be here, that teammate is here all the time. The secret sauce in a lot of ways is that Rick and I are very great partners in life. What he does really, really well here at New American Funding I don’t do, and what I do really, really well he doesn’t do. So we’re both really individual in our company and we’re able to take the two talents and merge them into this mega-talent, which I think is rare when you start to build a company. It’s building a platform with partners that you trust.
NAWRB: Is there anything you haven’t had a chance to do yet in your life that you would like to experience in the future?
Patricia Arvielo: I would like to touch every continent in the world and I still haven’t. That is a goal, and sooner or later I’m getting there. We just finished dabbling in Central America and South America.
NAWRB: You have been on both sides of the spectrum, from almost closing your brokerage to becoming one of the most successful mortgage lenders in the country. What would you say to entrepreneurs who have been unable to attain success despite their dedicated hard work?
Patricia Arvielo: During times of unforeseen change one can learn a lot with one of those most important lessons being learning to embrace change regardless of the uncertainty. By embracing change you are able to see through the trees and often recognize new opportunities in the distance. I would say don’t give up and be open to trying new things. Sometimes that means doing things you don’t want to do. You have to put any doubt you have behind you and look forward to a new beginning, a new chapter in your life. Those who embrace change and do the things most people don’t want to do will most likely succeed. Sometimes your biggest challenge is yourself and finding the inner strength to eliminate self-doubt can propel you into that new beginning for which you have been looking. This is true in work and life. I think that to me sometimes unexpected change can be a blessing.
NAWRB: Throughout your life and career, what has been your proudest moment or achievement, either in the workplace or in your personal life?
Patricia Arvielo: My proudest achievement is my children, without a doubt. I raised the first two and managed to endure divorce and they still lived phenomenal lifestyles. Their father and I are great friends. He also works here at New American Funding. We raised those children apart but together and I think that it’s a lot of work and a really great achievement because our children, if you ask them today, feel very bounded by family and love. None of that was taken away from them because we decided not to be married anymore. That’s one of my greater achievements. I brag about it because I think it’s great that we work together at New American Funding.
NAWRB: What person has impacted and inspired you the most in your life?
Patricia Arvielo: My husband.
NAWRB: New American Funding currently employs over 1,700 people and shows no sign of stopping, planning on becoming the most recognized mortgage lender in America. What motivates you in your life and career? How do you remain motivated and hungry amid your company’s widespread success?
Patricia Arvielo: I just run my own race, meaning that I don’t look around at my competition because I’m on my own path. Becoming the largest consumer nonbank-branded mortgage banker in America is really our goal and has been for the last five years. A lot of our time is spent branding. We really want to be that trusted home adviser and lender, and especially in the underserved markets where we’re having our greatest traction. That’s been our short goal. The long goal is to continue the growth pattern that we’re on and do it in a sustainable manner. We’d like to open more branches across the nation; we really haven’t hit the East Coast yet. I was born hungry. It’s ingrained in who I am. I didn’t have to read a book for any purpose. I’ve known exactly who I was meant to be since I was little.
NAWRB: Are there any other sectors into which New American Funding would like to expand?
Patricia Arvielo: Our current path of serving the underserved markets is really a big initiative here and we’re winning because of it. Rick and I are very careful not to take our eye off the ball. I think that if you try to expand to different sectors of the business you’re taking your eye off the main goal. Right now we’re going to continue down the current path. I’ve been in this industry a long time and sometimes what I do doesn’t dictate where I am, there’s different things that affect what I do every day. I definitely think about that every day and I think we have a good plan to deal with anything that’s thrown our way. We’re prepared for what’s coming our way.
NAWRB: Where do you see the company, and yourself, in 10 years?
Patricia Arvielo: Just healthy, I think health plays a large part in dictating happiness in our future so we do a lot, Rick and I, to take care of ourselves on a healthy level, mentally and physically. I think it’s really important as you go on life’s path and get older. Everybody that’s older that I talk to and admire definitely 100 percent has made it a goal to be healthy.
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