Monday, May 8, 2023
HomeMortgageCelebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Might is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time for recognizing their important contributions to the historical past, tradition, and achievements in america. (Go right here to be taught extra.)

At APM, we needed to take this chance to be taught extra about our APM Household and what their historical past, tradition, and heritage means to them.

AAPI 2023

Sheryl Chun, Mortgage Officer at Aligned Mortgage

Being born and raised in Hawaii, Sheryl has all the time absolutely embraced the “Aloha spirit.” Each side of her household have deep-seated roots on the Massive Island, along with her mother’s facet initially immigrating from China three generations in the past to work within the sugar cane fields and her dad’s facet coming from Portugal to do the identical about 4 generations in the past.

sheryl chun

With Hawaiian tradition operating deep in her blood, Sheryl adopted in her tūtū’s (grandmother’s) footsteps by dancing the hula. Sheryl carried out hula at one of many island’s navy motels for a few years till she began a household of her personal. These kids are actually grown, pursuing faculty and professions in Oregon and Illinois. Although she was unhappy to see them go, Sheryl is pleased with how a lot they’ve come to worth their Hawaiian tradition now that it’s not as pervasive because it was on the island.

What she isn’t joyful to see is the variety of native Hawaiians who’ve needed to depart their houses because of affordability. Costs proceed to go up, and lots of can’t afford to purchase. That’s why Sheryl has made it her mission to succeed in as many locals as potential to make sure that Hawaii can stay their dwelling if they need it to. She calls herself the “Mortgage Mama” as a result of she lends a hand and retains a watchful eye like a mom would as they navigate the mortgage course of.

“Ohana,” or household, is extraordinarily necessary to Hawaiians, which is why Sheryl makes certain her purchasers really feel like household. Enterprise sometimes spreads via phrase of mouth on the island and, similar to her youngsters, Sheryl doesn’t depart her purchasers behind in the event that they do select to maneuver. As an alternative, she’s licensed in lots of states so she will be able to proceed their journey with them. Sheryl is aware of Hawaiians worth somebody they will belief, and he or she all the time needs to be that individual for them in terms of their housing wants, funds, or anything a mama may present.

Nona Malvar, Operations Supervisor and Mortgage Officer at Dream Crew Mortgage

Nona Malvar’s telephone is consistently pinging, and he or she wouldn’t have it another approach. Not solely is she in-demand because the operations supervisor for APM in San Diego, however her household group chat with 30-plus members means somebody all the time has one thing to say.

nona malvar

Nona immigrated to America from the Philippines when she was 2. Although she nonetheless has some aunts and uncles again there, whom she sooner or later hopes to go to, the vast majority of her giant household has settled within the U.S. This implies there are many causes to get collectively and numerous issues to have fun. Holidays and birthdays are filled with conventional Filipino fare shared amongst generations that span from grandparents to second cousins.

The type, pleasant, inviting nature of fellow Filipinos permits Nona to really feel as if she has household wherever she goes, even when the individuals who share her tradition aren’t really associated to her. This has made any journeys to the hospital rather more manageable, as Nona may depend on the cultural reference to nurses to ease any worries for herself or others.

Now a mother of two, Nona appears to be like again at her childhood and wonders how her mom discovered any work-life stability whereas elevating 5 kids. She’s joyful to report, nevertheless, that lots of her relations say Nona is her mother’s “carbon copy,” a real praise.

One of many issues the older technology hasn’t been capable of cross all the way down to their youngsters, in accordance with Nona, is the flexibility to navigate the present housing market and mortgage course of. That’s as a result of the market and rules are very totally different than when lots of them purchased their houses. That is the place Nona feels she and different Asian People within the trade can actually assist. They perceive the values which have been instilled on this technology of homebuyers, however they will additionally help with these advanced duties. This is a vital asset to this neighborhood, as many Filipino kids keep at dwelling longer, increase their financial savings till they’re prepared to purchase their first dwelling. When they’re, Nona and her crew are able to serve them.

John Le, Mortgage Officer at Massive Valley Mortgage

Being a Vietnamese American just isn’t one thing John Le takes with no consideration. His father was a part of the South Vietnamese Military in the course of the battle, and his mother and father fled the nation shortly thereafter. They traveled to America by boat with their 4-year-old son, giving him ocean water after they ran out of unpolluted water. Two months after they arrived in America, John was born.

john le

John and his brother rapidly discovered the worth of each cultures. There have been many features of the American lifestyle, together with sports activities and the flexibility to show virtually something right into a enterprise, that had been engaging to them. On the similar time, his mom’s cooking and his father’s old-school traditions ensured that John and his brother remained very near the Vietnamese tradition, which he has handed on to his two kids.

Vietnamese tradition taught them to respect their elders, worth the language, and work exhausting. In consequence, John has developed a lifelong love of studying that he carries with him right this moment. He has a knack for absorbing tough ideas after which explaining them to others with ease. These are expertise he often makes use of as a mortgage officer at Massive Valley Mortgage, an APM affiliate in Elk Grove, California, close to Sacramento.

Apart from his brother and father, John’s spouse has additionally influenced the way in which he does enterprise. Being of Filipino and Hawaiian descent, John has embraced her tradition’s “Hawaiian spirit,” which welcomes everybody with open arms and no judgment. John loves greeting his purchasers with this similar spirit, and he appreciates being a part of an organization that constantly invitations him to hitch in and belong to the neighborhood.

Meena Na, Department Supervisor at Ingredient Mortgage

Born in Seattle, WA, Meena credit her mom, who immigrated to america with Meena’s older sister (one month outdated on the time), for a lot of her understanding and appreciation of the Korean tradition. “My mother thought it was essential to keep up the heritage, the tradition, and the language, so she spent many, many hours combating with me to ensure I realized learn how to converse, learn, and write Korean.”


And whereas it takes a variety of effort, Meena is grateful for the chance to have fun each cultures in her dwelling. “For any individual who’s born and raised within the U.S., I believe we do spend an distinctive period of time, effort, vitality, and emphasis on attempting to maintain the traditions alive—and I’m attempting to do the identical for my women as nicely.”

With the assistance of her mom, Meena’s household celebrates each the American and Korean holidays, together with each American and Korean variations of Thanksgiving (Chuseok in Korea) and the New Yr. She notes one main similarity in celebrating holidays throughout each cultures: “You collect with your loved ones and spend your entire day making ready extra meals than any regular individual may eat after which sit down collectively to share what was made. Chuseok means ‘Autumn Eve’ and is an enormous harvesting season in Korea as nicely.”

She additionally actually enjoys the Korean traditions that pertain to her younger kids, together with celebrating 100 days after start, in addition to an enormous first birthday celebration (Doljanchi). “I recognize it rather more now, as a mom, than I did as a toddler and discover myself extra enthusiastic about celebrating and passing on our traditions.”

As a Korean American, Meena appears to be like at her twin cultural upbringing as a luxurious. “I get to see the professionals and cons of each cultures and it helps me make general higher life selections for myself and my household.” In her skilled life, Meena attracts from the Korean tradition of servitude and exhausting work, which she implements daily when delivering glorious customer support and getting all of her purchasers to a easy closing.

Ian and Kimberly Cumagun, Off-Shore Crew Administrator and Off-Shore Assistant Crew Administrator

Born within the Philippines, married couple Ian and Kimberly Cumagun immigrated to the U.S. in 2010—the final of their household to make the transfer. Not too long ago, they discovered themselves again within the Philippines understanding of APM’s Manila workplace. With Kim as his second hand, Ian heads up the offshore groups in Manila, Philippines, and Sutherland, India, who accomplice with APM’s underwriting and post-close groups to overview paperwork for underwriting, conduct post-close audits, and extra.

Ian and Kimberly Cumagun

Previous to taking the positions in Manila, Ian and Kimberly lived in Mountain View, CA, and labored on the APM capital markets crew. When the chance got here up, they discovered it was an excellent match culturally and professionally, in order that they took a leap of religion and made the transfer. We talked with them about their Filipino tradition and the way it performs such an necessary function of their lives right this moment.

Ian and Kim describe the Filipino tradition as festive, fun-loving, and hospitable. Giant gatherings with household and associates are widespread and revolve round meals. Based on Ian, “If you’re invited to a Filipino dwelling, then prepare for a feast and prepare together with your favourite music since you’re going to must sing karaoke and there might be a lot of dancing.”

Deep-rooted customs like “Pakikisama” (the concept that concord and unity is valued above all else) and “Bayanihan” (a customized that refers to working collectively as a neighborhood to attain a standard objective) imply that household, neighborhood, and social accountability are on the forefront of Filipino tradition. It’s widespread for neighbors and associates to be known as “uncles” and “aunties” due to the close-knit neighborhood.

Work ethic and schooling are additionally extremely valued within the Filipino tradition. Kim and Ian describe how highschool and faculty grad charges are excessive, even in slum areas, as a result of schooling is prioritized. It’s one thing they proceed to make use of of their day-to-day lives and try to cross alongside to their groups. “We all the time say, attempt to change into a sponge on a regular basis. Life is a steady technique of studying, so preserve an open thoughts, be humble, and continue learning. These are the issues that had been culturally embedded since we had been younger.”

Earlier than making the transfer, Ian and Kim made a degree to go to the Philippines yearly with their household to stay linked with their roots. Whereas cities like Manilla are extra much like the U.S. with a really international tradition, they take pleasure in visiting their provinces the place conventional Filipino values are nonetheless on the forefront.

Malyna Phan, Department Supervisor at Massive Valley Mortgage

Malyna Phan, Department Supervisor for Massive Valley Mortgage in Elk Grove, CA, sat down to speak with us about what it means for her to be a Vietnamese American and the way she continues to have fun her tradition along with her household.


One of many greatest methods she celebrates her tradition is by recognizing Tet, or Vietnamese New Yr. It’s broadly thought of crucial celebration in Vietnamese tradition and interprets to “Pageant of the First Morning of the First Day,” which takes place on the primary day of the primary month of the Vietnamese calendar (round late January or early February). It’s celebrated by cooking particular vacation meals, giving “fortunate cash” to kids and the aged, and household time. One in all her favourite methods to really feel linked is with meals and conventional Vietnamese costume (Ao Dai) throughout celebrations.

Malyna credit her father for her servant chief perspective. He was a servant chief in Vietnam earlier than the battle, and helped lots of their associates, household, and neighborhood unite with their household from Vietnam via the sponsorship course of. “He inspired us to give attention to our lecturers, keep humble, and work exhausting to make sure a brighter future.” Malyna says, “I’m proud to hold on his legacy to all the time love and honor my household and associates, and proceed his work as a servant chief.”

In her skilled life, Malyna has served on the board of the Higher Sacramento Chapter of the Asian Actual Property Affiliation (AREAA) since 2017. Malyna is the present chapter president and makes use of her platform to advertise sustainable homeownership alternatives in Asian American communities, which marries her two passions of homeownership and supporting her AAPI neighborhood fantastically.

When you’d prefer to be taught extra about APM’s dedication to variety and inclusion, go right here to examine our mission and technique.



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