With more than 30 years of mortgage experience, Patty Arvielo is co-founder and president of New American Funding, a national mortgage bank. She leads all sales and operations at the company, and still makes time to originate individual loans.
She also serves on affordable lending panels for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Consumer Affairs Advisory Council for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and on the Corporate Board of Governors for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). Passionate about improving lending services for the Hispanic community, she created her own Latino Focus Committee to identify and address challenges Hispanic consumers face in their pursuit of homeownership. Patty’s life story, “I Am My Mother’s American Dream” was recently featured at NBC Latino.com, and she is a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year® award. We at The Score are grateful Patty took time from her very full schedule to share a few thoughts.
This year, you’ve been recognized for many successes, one of which is a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year®. What lessons have you learned about starting your own business that are important to pass down to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow?
Nobody is going to tap you on the shoulder and ask you to be successful. That drive comes from within. Imagine what you want, dream big, then chase your vision. It’s up to you to create your success.
You began working at age 16 as a clerical data input clerk at TransUnion. What was that experience like?
I’ve always been a hard worker, and at first, I was just doing the job in front of me. Of course, that didn’t last long and my drive to do more, and be more, took over. I saw that if I wanted to be in a position of stability, where I could provide for my family and myself, I had to make more money. I was propelled by an undying work ethic. I taught myself this business, and then I climbed the ranks.
You’ve said in the past that diversity and inclusion are a part of why your business is so successful. What are some ways you propose the industry can embrace these same values when it comes to — literally and figuratively — opening more doors to more consumers?
We need to look ahead and become a reflection of our markets. America is going to be more culturally diverse than it has ever been. Soon we will see a minority-majority with Latinos. We’re going to see more Latinas in decision-making positions in the household, more integration of technology in day-to-day decisions, different value sets, and more buying power among multi-generational consumers. Our industry and our workforce need to reflect all of those traits. It is more than just having the numbers in your staff; it is about having these diverse viewpoints in positions that can effect change.
Knowing the Hispanic-American market so well, what counseling do you find is most beneficial to these audience members when it comes to preparing them for homeownership?
Educating Latinos on today’s programs is especially important. We need to raise awareness about homeownership possibilities and undo old ideas about what it takes to buy a home. The need for a large down payment is a common misconception, so breaking down myths like that, while explaining the home buying process and providing financial documentation tips, is key.
New American Funding launched in 2003 and grew rapidly while also having a front seat to the real estate bubble’s collapse because of its California roots. What about the crisis remains on your mind as you continue to grow the business?
The collapse taught me about risk and reward in ways I had never imagined. Mortgage businesses around me were collapsing and I was running a company — without receiving a paycheck for a year and a half. For me, it reinforced what I already knew; if I stay true to my values and do things the right way, things won’t go wrong.