Patricia Arvielo: Passing On The American Dream


Story By: Kimberly Olguin


It all started with the American dream. She vividly remembers gazing at the beautiful mansions of San Clemente as her mother took the freeway down to visit Nana in Tijuana. “Someday, I will have a house like that,” she would tell herself, as she often did while envisioning her future. At just 6 years old, Patricia Arvielo knew where her ambition was.

Hard work and saving were always part of the plan. The chores would get done and allowances were rarely spent. She was affectionately referred to as “Mi Coda” for her diligent frugality. By age 12, she officially entered the workforce, eager to earn her $25 a day. Always seeking opportunity, Arvielo advanced quickly in her career after following a lead at age 16 for the best paying job she could find. Little did she know; Trans Credit Union would give her much more than the much-anticipated $6 an hour.

Midway through high school, Arvielo jumpstarted her career. She gradually advanced within the business, breaking into the mortgage industry at just 18, through hard work and experience alone. She didn’t go to college since education was not a priority in her family.

“My mom has a fifth- or sixth-grade education,” she recalls. Her dad was a facilities maintenance man and mom was a maid, cleaning the houses for clientele that often were Arvielo’s schoolmates. Arvielo takes great pride in her upbringing.

She looks back fondly at the success her parents had, despite not receiving a formal education. “My mom was an entrepreneur,” she proudly declares. “Mom got to make her own decisions and was always home when I arrived from school, while most of my friends had to wait to see their mothers after 5.”

Later on, her parents teamed up to run a business cleaning places at night. Entrepreneurship certainly runs in the family.

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The example that her parents set inspired Arvielo as she progressed in her career. She also aspired to be a business owner but was hesitant early on. Like most leaders, Arvielo was further inspired to chase her dreams as a result of her failures. “Every one of my failures was a gift,” she says. As a young adult, she made the common mistakes that most people make, but she refused to let them keep her down.

There were many difficult times: a failed marriage, bad finances and many other bumps along the way. Still, she is able to find the positive in all of it. Arvielo maintains that she benefited from making so many mistakes early in her adulthood. Those setbacks ultimately taught her valuable lessons and challenged her strength.

“It’s how you deal with adversities that set aside those of us that are successful from those of us that are not,” she asserts. The difficult times would come and go, but the wisdom gained would stay with her.

She eventually had all her cards lined up. A successful marriage, happy family and thriving career in the mortgage lending industry followed. But there was still something missing. Her husband, Rick, was the risk taker and convinced her to go all the way with her dreams. In 2003, the Arvielos launched their own business.

New American Funding started out as a call center with just 40 employees. The Arvielos say growing the business into an industry leader required the ultimate team effort.

Rick brought his expertise in technology and marketing, creating the company’s own software, and later incorporating apps to maximize productivity and time. Meanwhile, Patty’s extensive experience made it possible to bring the entire loan process in house, as well as produce impressive sales numbers. In 14 short years, it has become a national mortgage banker and industry powerhouse.

Arvielo is now the successful entrepreneur she always aspired to be. She pulled through many obstacles, starting from the bottom with nothing and climbing all the way to the top. Now she is the president of her own business — and not just any business. New American Funding is considered among the top 20 mortgage banks in the U.S. It also is the largest female-owned mortgage bank in the U.S, the largest Latina-owned mortgage bank in the U.S and within the top 2 percent of Latino-owned companies in the U.S. Arvielo has finally accomplished the American dream.

When Arvielo looks back today, she reveals how it all was possible. “Mentorship is important. I taught myself through mentorship. I just looked up to the people that I was working for and absorbed everything they were doing,” she says.

These days, she’s moved on to new endeavors. Though she is still running her business, she is now taking on mentorship and public speaking roles. “I spoke at Facebook last October because they have a lot of Latinas there with zero inspiration in the media,” Arvielo says, adding that she wants to inspire these women.

Culture has always been important, and her Latina roots remain a critical force in this next phase of her life. “There is alack of Latina leadership and mentorship in this country,” she says. “I want them to know that they can have it all; be great mothers, wives and entrepreneurs.” As a way of sharing her message, Arvielo has joined forces with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals for the past five years. Platforms like this, and the Latino Donor Collaborative, are the best ways she has found to reach out.

What it comes down to for Arvielo is a passion for inspiring her community and creating positive changes.

“Fifty-eight percent of our employees are women, 43 percent are minorities and our number one and two sales producers are women in this male-dominated industry,” Arvielo explains. “I tell my employees, ‘every home loan we close and every set of keys we hand off to a family is creating the American dream.’”