MReport August 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 67

20 | M R EP O RT FEATURE of support must be shown (not just talked about) and provide funding. #2: Understand that everything about DE&I is very personal at the individual level. This is all about sensitivity and getting associates to understand the com- pany they work for takes DE&I seriously and communicating at Homebridge means it's "safe to be honest." #3. Be creative. Don't be fooled into thinking you can sign up for a D&I cloud program, roll it out, and it will be embraced. It's like ice cream: while vanilla is good and tasty, that does not mean everyone will like vanilla. My approach at Homebridge is to know where I work and how to read the audience. I personally feel DE&I programs are custom activities to work in a specific environment for a specific time. As the makeup of the company, associates, and society change, so must the thought process around the DE&I programs. What are some practical ways mortgage industry professionals help foster a more sustainable, equitable, and diverse housing ecosystem for homebuyers/homeown- ers? I t all depends on how the com- pany views the marketplace. If the company believes the future marketplace is what the past marketplace was, then a number of companies can ignore minority markets for the most part as they have in the past and continue supporting programs such as subprime loans and unfair real estate appraisals. If the company understands that the minority marketplace represents the largest opportunity going forward, then it's time to work harder to "con- nect" with the communities being solicited and better understand the challenges. Understand that a family with two working parents today paying $3,000 in rent cannot save the down payment and closing cost to get into a home and need assistance such as HFAs. The housing ecosystem needs to figure a way to root out bad actors such as appraisal companies giving Blacks and other minori- ties lower home appraisals for no good reason other than bias and racism. As long as these bad actors a present, the trust level between mortgage companies and the minority consumer will be tarnished. Finally, education and a level of philanthropy need to take root. Meaning, the consumer needs to be guided through the education of the mortgage process when needed, and it should have some level of standards across the industry to ensure borrowers are truly being supported consistently. On the Affordable Lending/ LMI side of the coin, we need to figure out how to get "all" MLOs interested in dedicating some part of their work efforts (this is the philanthropy component) based on a monthly commitment and doing their duty to help the underserved. We all know some Affordable Lending/LMI loans may yield extra work and the MLO might make a little less, but it will take this type of commit- ment to foster change across this country and allow others to enjoy the benefits of homeownership. Is the version of this D&I program that you've launched in keeping with what you initially envisioned? Y es. My take is, you can go look at most financial insti- tutions and mortgage companies, and you're not going to find this kind of information publicly available. I can tell you, in a lot of situations where I was looking for a job, I was hunting for that information. As a minority, I was hunting for that information, and I could never find it. And when I found it, when I showed up for the interview and they walked me through the suite, I would say, "Where are all the people that look like me?" On the one hand, your company is saying, "We've been in business since 1940." Well, it's 2000, and how does it still look like this? And to be honest with you, as a minority, you must make a de- cision when you see that. It's not about your skill, it's about, when I go to this company, what is it going to mean for me to work here and be the first? Am I going to be really welcomed? People don't understand that those kinds of decisions are being made. People want to understand, what's your company doing? It doesn't matter if things aren't per- fect, but are you doing anything to fix it? And I think by a lot of companies not putting that infor- mation out there, in a new, millen- nial world, they'll be challenged. They'll be challenged to do better and report this information. "The consumer needs to be guided through the education of the mortgage process when needed, and it should have some level of standards across the industry to ensure borrowers are truly being supported consistently."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - MReport August 2022