MReport April 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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18 | M R EP O RT COVER FEATURE F ollowing his emancipation, the erstwhile enslaved Henderson Faribault in 1860 acquired 50 acres of property and ultimately endowed homes to each of his eight children. One hundred and sixty years later, his great, great, great granddaughter Tai Christensen entered the mortgage industry, where she says she was distraught to discover the "dismal" situation faced by aspiring Black homeowners. Christensen has served since 2019 as Director of Governmental affairs at CBC Mortgage Agency (CBCMA), a national housing finance agency that provides down payment assistance. She has spent those years working to increase homeownership in the Black community because she does not want her own story of success to be an anomaly. "I want it to be the norm for our communities of color," she says. Thus, it comes as little surprise that CBCMA, in March, appointed Christensen its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Officer for 2021. CBCMA's leadership says the company's DEI committee, with Christensen at the helm, will leverage its resources to promote a culture of inclusion for all employees and business partners, regardless of racial, ethnic, and gender identity. "Tai has been an outstanding advocate in supporting down payment assistance for a spectrum of borrowers, particularly minorities and those in underserved communities," CBCMA President Miki Adams said. "We have no doubt that she will excel at helping CBCMA elevate its vision of inclusive excellence." Christensen told MReport the strong principles instilled in her by her ancestors and parents fuels her ongoing determination to impart on her contemporaries and the industry at large the importance of diversity and how it is paramount to successfully carrying out CBCMA's mission of helping minorities build intergenerational wealth through homeownership. In honor of Celebrate Diversity Month, MReport is pleased to bring you this candid conversation with Christensen. She discusses what well- intentioned leaders sometimes get wrong, the "Black Tax," politics and policy, and the personal experiences that drive her. M // What are the most striking current statistics you've seen related to racial wealth disparity? CHRISTENSEN // The latest Federal Reserve survey shows that the white median family wealth had increased to $188,000 and the median family wealth was $24,000 for families of color*. When you think about the disparity in those two amounts of 'Real Recognizes Real' Tai Christensen, CBC Mortgage Agency's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, discusses housing inequality, the racial wealth gap, and the value of diversity, inclusivity, and equity. By Christina Hughes Babb

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