New American Funding is among the very few national mortgage lenders that can claim to be family owned. Sure, there are small mom-and-pop lenders in communities across the nation that can make the same claim, but New American has grown into a top-30 national lender, based on 2016 origination volume. That puts it in the company of large regional banks, national credit unions and other major mortgage lenders.
What can you expect from the New American Funding mortgage process? Here’s what we found.
AT A GLANCE
- Minimum credit score usually 620, FHA loans typically 580
- About 130 branches and licensed in 48 states
- A long menu of loan products, including reverse mortgages
In This Article
- From a niche to a national player
- New American Funding loan products
- The New American loan process
- Considering fees and mortgage rates
- What New American Funding does best
- Where New American Funding falls short
Founded in 2003 by Rick and Patty Arvielo in Orange County, California, New American Funding has grown to be an $11 billion lender with a national profile.
“Very early on, Patty pursued her own underserved Spanish-speaking markets well before they were a popular and sought-after demographic,” says a bio at pattyarvielo.com. In a 2016 press release, Patty Arvielo said, “I’m particularly drawn to creating services geared toward helping Latino consumers overcome common financial challenges.”
And New American Funding’s early efforts to reach minority borrowers have paid off over the years, as the company commands an impressive market share of the home lending business in California, particularly in the Los Angeles region and the Inland Empire, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data as compiled by Richey May & Co. This region has a Hispanic population of some 49%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
New American also enjoys a dominant market presence in the 80% Hispanic market of El Paso, Texas.
But the lender’s reach is not niche, it’s nationwide, with some 130 branches and licensing in 48 states. Nearly half of its 2016 mortgage production (49%) was for loans over $350,000. Average loan size was $291,000. That compares to the national averages of 43% and $255,983, respectively.
The lender has a full slate of loan products, including purchase, refinance, jumbo loans and even interest-only mortgages. New American also features home improvement and cash-out refinance mortgages on their Explore Loan Types page. And of course, you can choose from fixed-rate and adjustable-rate terms. All of the government-backed loans are in the mix, too: FHA, VA and USDA, as well as the HARP refinance program.
And while New American offers reverse mortgages — something not always on the menu at typical mortgage lenders — it does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs. This is quite common among nonbank lenders.
New American also has first-time homebuyer programs and works with borrowers to find state and local down payment assistance programs.
Your loan application can begin in person, by phone, online or via email. Documents can be uploaded, and electronic signature is also available.
Average closing time is less than 30 days, New American says, and there is no charge for an interest rate lock.
A prequalification can be initiated online, though you will need to contact New American before it issues a prequal letter.
English/Spanish bilingual agents are available to assist. And New American customer service is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and is open on weekends.
With a manual underwriting model, New American Funding can look at each borrower’s financial picture more comprehensively, rather than relying on automated models, according to Frank Fuentes, national vice president of multicultural community.
“That’s a huge advantage for us in working with underserved markets,” Fuentes says. “We take a ‘makes-sense’ approach to underwriting loans, whether it’s a purchase or refi, and we aren’t quick to deny a loan. We look at the customer’s profile from all different angles, which is unheard of today with bigger lenders and tightened restrictions.”
If you’re looking for information on interest rates, you’ll have to answer a few questions — as well as provide your name and an email address. We couldn’t find published rates on its website.
New American Funding says that its typical lender’s fee on a conventional mortgage is $1,629.
- A low volume of complaints registered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- An impressive lineup of loan products, including reverse and no-interest mortgages
- Assists Hispanic borrowers with bilingual agents
- The online application is not available on its website. A loan officer has to supply a link.
- Shopping for an idea of what rates are offered requires personal information
- Doesn’t offer home equity loans or HELOCs
Additional reporting by Deborah Kearns.
NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.