MReport May 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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32 | M R EP O RT EXPERT INSIGHTS D&I Recruitment and Retention Diverse workplaces have been proven to be happier and more productive environments, but Victoria Garcia DeLuca of Guild Mortgage explains how building a diverse workplace doesn't end at the hiring process. V ictoria Garcia DeLuca serves as Guild Mortgage's first-ever VP of Marketplace Diversity Strategy where she leads the firm's long-term initia- tives in promoting minority homeownership and sustaining diversity, equity, and inclusion in lending. At Guild, she is tasked with the recruitment and retention of minority loan officers, develop- ing new products for minority markets, and serving as a liaison with government-sponsored en- terprises (GSEs). She leads Guild's participation in the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA). She serves on NAHREP's Corporate Board of Governors, and represents Guild with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) "Home for All Pledge," the industry's long-term commitment to addressing racial inequities in housing. Of Mexican and Honduran de- scent, Garcia DeLuca is bilingual in English and Spanish. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, creat- ing programs for underserved markets in the Midwest and South. She previously served as SVP of Federal Savings Bank, where she led a team supporting homeownership within Hispanic and Black communities, was a Sales Manager with Wintrust Mortgage, and a Sales Manager, Diverse Segments Specialist with Wells Fargo. What are the two to three most critical considerations when working to build and foster di- versity & inclusion (D&I) when it comes to internal team morale, employee development, and talent acquisition? A number of organizations are creating Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), but we need to take this a step further by fully understanding that the support needs of diverse employees may be different than those of non-diverse employees. Employee engagement surveys should be conducted to keep a pulse on the atmosphere in the workplace. These surveys help us gain infor- mation on what is working, what needs to be tweaked, and what employees need, and want to see more of. Gathering this data and taking action on the findings will help to improve the employee experience. When we take these learnings and apply them in the creation of an employee engage- ment and retention strategy, it can also help us attract and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds. Diverse workplaces are statistically proven to be happier, safer, and more productive. But building a diverse workplace does not end with the hiring process alone. It is critical that mortgage companies have a for- malized plan to not only recruit diverse employees, but also retain, mentor, and promote them. At Guild Mortgage, we have access to many possible career paths for continuous development, and we are purposeful about encouraging D&I across the company. By adding a more diverse element at every level of the com- pany and prioritizing inclusion efforts, we can more accurately reflect the community where we live and work. With a combina- tion of employees from various backgrounds and experiences, we can demonstrate innovative strategies to benefit underserved communities. What are some practical ways mortgage industry profes- sionals can help foster a more sustainable, equitable, and diverse housing ecosystem for homebuyers/homeowners? Our nation is becoming more diverse, with individuals from various backgrounds making vital contributions to our economy. The latest census suggests there will be no ethnic or racial major- ity in less than 30 years. Our nation's economy will benefit as long as businesses commit

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