By Bob Highfill
Patty Palacios has devoted her professional career to helping people appreciate the importance of financial preparedness. Nothing has meant more to the longtime Stockton resident than helping Spanish-speaking individuals and families understand that sound financial planning is critical in leading to lasting financial family legacies.
Palacios has reinvented herself on her path but at every stop she has been committed to helping her community. And she’s racked some impressive accomplishments along the way.
Palacios was tops by a long shot among New York Life’s 21 senior associates throughout the country. The company set a goal for each senior associate to hire seven agents. Palacios set a stretch goal of 10 agents. She doubled that number.
“I was awarded the top Latino Market Manager in the country,” she said. “Here I am from little old Stockton and I outperformed Florida, Chicago, New York and Southern California. It’s pretty awesome.”
Palacios’ job is to identify like-minded people with her vision and passion to make a positive impact in the Latino community by working for a Fortune 100 company with a portfolio of products and services that can financially empower Latinos. Agents can help their clients in myriad ways and essentially create their own businesses in areas such as tax and financial planning, life insurance and investments to name several.
Palacios said she’s proud to work for a diverse company like New York Life, which established a department about four years ago comprised of agents specifically geared to serve the Latino Community.
“If you have a passion to serve a particular community,” she said, “the company really tries to support us in what we chose to support.”
Fifty percent of New York’s Life revenue is derived from cultural markets and at least half of that amount comes from the Latino community, according to Lina Cortes Garza, New York Life’s Latino Marketing and Recruiting Manager, West Central Zone.
“It is one of our top initiatives with New York Life,” Cortes Garza said. “There are 57 million Latinos in the country. There is such an opportunity to build awareness to help people understand how to leave a legacy. Gone are the days when we can leave our money under a mattress. We definitely need to plan.”
Cortes Garza joined New York Life in April 2019 and said she couldn’t be more pleased to have Palacios on her team.
“Patty has been a Godsend to work with,” Cortes Garza said. “She’s very dedicated. She’s very loyal and extremely involved and committed to the community. That’s what makes her a great asset to my department. She is always on social media and really demonstrates the importance of Latinos building a financial future and understanding financial legacy. She does a remarkable job communicating our vision to the community.”
Palacios was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, and moved to Stockton with her family when she was 9 years old. She graduated from Franklin High School and attended San Joaquin Delta College.
She worked as an escrow officer and remembers encountering a family where the mother didn’t speak English, so her 12-year-old son was interpreting and basically making decisions for the family. Palacios said she took that experience to heart and made it her mission to help the Spanish-speaking population understand home mortgage financing.
Palacios shepherded people through the devastating foreclosure crisis that hit the country in 2008 and 2009 and was particularly harsh in Stockton. This period proved to be a turning point for her.
“Everything was happening to people and they were losing their homes,” she said. “There were so many people promising loan modifications and principal reductions.”
Because the banks divulged only so much to their customers, Palacios decided she could no longer work for her employer. So she opened a Fannie Mae office in Stockton and worked hand-in-hand with Congressman Jerry McNerney, city officials, Neighbor Works and other partners and helped guide people through the foreclosure crisis.
“We were the foreclosure capital of the United States, so it was really devastating,” Palacios said. “I wanted to take my experience from one side of the desk and take the other side of the desk.”
Palacios worked in foreclosure prevention from 2010-2016 and then took a new road on her career path by joining New York Life’s Latino Market department.
“When the foreclosure crisis cooled down I thought where else can I take my knowledge and my passion and my vision to help people,” she said. “And it was about educating Latinos on financial literacy. For me it became important for Latinos to understand to invest to in their future and help them understand how to build wealth.”