Rick Arvielo started his first business, an affinity check printing company, in high school and 13 years later it was acquired by a large industry leader. He knew little of the mortgage business in 2003, when he and his wife, Patty, founded New American Funding, but he applied the same accounting, marketing and technology expertise that helped him succeed in business before.
Patty was running a small broker shop, and convinced him to “cut his teeth” in the mortgage business.
“We wanted to be more than local,” he said. “We wanted to become a mortgage bank and get our licenses outside California.”
New American started as a mortgage company with good pricing, fast home closings and a proficient call center and has grown to include a retail-based lending division, a wholesale division and more than 92 branches.
The Tustin, California, company has blossomed from 600 employees in 2013 to an expected 2,300 by year end.
“Our growth is one area at a time, one loan officer at a time … all organic growth,” he said of the company, which also is an approved Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae seller/servicer. “We both have that one humble, one-rung-of-the-ladder-after-another experience. We both know the steps in creating a great mortgage business and understand how to run and optimize the business.”
While Patty is focused on operations and sales — she also continues to originate, booking nearly $3 million in home loans a month — Rick is the steward of New American’s proprietary technology, marketing, accounting and capital markets.
The company’s growth has been notable. New American Funding reported $5.5 billion in total dollar volume for 2014, with 18,880 total loan units funded. New American Funding has already funded over $5 billion this year, and exceeded all of 2014’s volume by the end of July 2015.
Arvielo attributes their success to focusing on fast loan closes, which drew the attention of builders and others who were tired of missing close dates. That, combined with his wife’s personal passion for serving the underserved at a time when they were largely left out of the purchase boom, also proved fruitful. She’s Latina and culturally aware so it was a natural step to support the underserved, he said.
“To serve this underserved borrower well we had to break out a channel in our operations that could only serve these borrowers to hope to achieve the type of service levels we wanted,” he said, noting the addition of bilingual operators and service team members. “It was these operational efficiencies that led to what’s become our advantage in the marketplace.”
The Arvielos are passionate about ensuring more families have access to credit and can achieve the American Dream.
On a national level, Arvielo is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association and participates in its Mortgage Action Alliance Committee and MORPAC, the MBA’s political action committee. He also is a member of the MBA’s Residential Board of Governors. Rick’s passion for effecting change in the industry for future generations and his natural aptitude for leadership have brought him to be highly involved in these associations.
Recently, he rallied New American’s employees to encourage their political participation in the industry and raise funds for MORPAC through a “$10 for 10K Challenge,” in which employees could donate $10 for every $10,000 earned annually in the mortgage industry. Just one week after the rally, New American Funding employees contributed more to MORPAC than any other company in the history of MORPAC.
Arvielo said when people ask why he’s so involved, his answer is: “Why not?”
“[Our employees] are thanking me for allowing them to get involved,” he said. “Our attrition is lower than our competitors and they love that we give them the platform to get involved. It is contagious.”