MReport July 2017

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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24 | TH E M R EP O RT T he topic of diver- sity has become an emblematic cliché of political correctness. It is often broached in terms of workplace racial and eth - nic diversity with special programs and initiatives to encourage career opportunities for underrepresented populations in the workplace. But in business there is so much more to focus on when it comes to di - versity. There are plenty of articles to read about how to encourage more workplace diversity. Let's consider diversity in a broader sense by looking at the diversity model your company has chosen. Make no mistake about it—diver - sity or lack thereof in a successful business is a choice. There are various types of diversity to consider. Knowledge of them will help a company determine where they are so they can either accentuate or modify their efforts. Diversity in the Workplace T he obligatory discussion of workplace diversity will be brief as we move on to diversity in business. Companies tend to ignore workplace diversity or focus on it in terms of racial and gender in context of career opportunities. When such a fo - cus is misguided or borne out of fear or guilt, it reveals itself as forced and unnatural. Let's look at an example. In the popular television comedy "Black-ish," the main character, Andre, is excited to be named the first senior vice president of his marketing firm who happens to be black. Then he finds out his promotion was to become the first black senior vice president. This was evidenced by his new title of senior vice president of the Urban Division. The show cleverly examines the misguided focus on diversity in his firm in a way that is both funny and relatable. This is not an uncommon theme with crude diversity initiatives. But work - place diversity is nonetheless an important issue that executives should focus on, particularly in our industry, which tends not to reflect the diversity of our society at large. Generational Diversity H omebuyers nationwide have significant generational diversity in today's marketplace. The National Association of Realtors' data indicates that in 2016 The Silent Generation (born prior to 1946) accounted for 3 percent of home sales, baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) ac- counted for 24 percent of home sales, Generation X (born 1965 to 1982) accounted for 44 percent of home sales, and millennials (born 1983 to 2004) accounted for 29 percent of home sales. Consider the effect of this: 71 percent of homebuyers are mil- lennials or Gen Xers. Why does knowing this mat- ter? Because generational diversity affects how we market, commu- nicate, and use technology with our borrowers. It's a good idea to run a report from your closings last year and determine how your market share stacks up to the homebuyer generational stratifica- tion at large. Understanding who your consumer base currently is is important to determine where you are currently successful. You may be surprised to know you are attracting the burgeoning population of young homebuyers at a pace vastly different that the overall market. If you want to then attract a specific generational demographic more than you are now, you will likely need to con - sider how you interact with them. A 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers study revealed that 75 percent of consumers want to communicate in a multi-channel manner, mean - ing digital and traditional com- munication methods, such as in person and by phone. The same study revealed that 28 percent of consumers wish to communi - cate only digitally. It's important to understand the diversity and segmentation of your clientele and tailor your business toward the diversity or narrowly focused generational population you most want to attract. A recent Zillow study broke down the decision-making resources used by and com - munication preferences of each generation of mortgage customers. As expected, the younger the bor- rower, the more they rely on so- cial media influences, the internet, More Than Just Checking Boxes Diversity is much more than just checking a list of boxes and hiring people who look different from one another; it's a business strategy that can either attract or alienate potential clients. By Daniel Jacobs FEATURE MREPORT'S DIVERSITY ISSUE * * *

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