Dwayne A. Graham
Education: Studied criminal justice, Texas Southern University
Company Name: New American Funding
Company CEO: Rick Arvielo
Company Headquarters Location: Tustin, California
Number of Employees: 4300+
Your Location (if different from above): Sugar Land, Texas
Words you live by: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” –Henry Ford
Who is your personal hero? My dad
What book are you reading? The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
What was your first job: Customer service representative at Pizza Hut
Favorite charity: Alzheimer’s Association
Interests: Family time, going to the movies, and going to the beach
Family: Lindsey Graham (wife), Kalaya Graham (daughter), and Kaiden Graham (son)
I Hope My Children See Me as a Role Model
Most people would be surprised to know that I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. I learned from a very young age that hard work was part of my culture. When I was 19 years old, I came to the United States to advance my education and attract opportunities. I was going to school and working two jobs, but was happy because I knew that I was on the right path.
At 21, I purchased my first home and felt an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment. I wanted others to know the same feeling of homeownership that I had felt. However, I wanted to make the home-buying process friendlier.
My first mortgage was an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. When the interest rate increased, I followed the general practice at the time of going back to the same mortgage company and refinancing with them. However, I realized a different mortgage would have better suited my financial needs. I was overwhelmed by the inflated mortgage rate, and I felt I had been taken advantage of. I knew I needed to do something, but wasn’t sure what. A good friend of mine suggested that I go to school to become a loan officer, so I could protect myself and others from predatory loan practices.
After I obtained my loan officer license, I worked for many years in this very competitive industry, building relationships with clients who are now friends. Over my career, I have helped hundreds of people attain the American Dream of homeownership. Being both a borrower and a loan officer really helps me understand what individuals go through in the home-buying process. This keeps me grounded.
Regardless of how many hours I work, I always come home to my wife and children with a sense of accomplishment. I hope that as my children get older, they will take note of my hard work, kindness, and appreciation, and see me as a role model.