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CFPB releases report promoting diversity in mortgage industry

Here are five strategies

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report Wednesday summarizing strategies for the mortgage industry for promoting diversity and inclusion.

The CFPB collaborated with the financial industry to raise awareness of the importance of strengthening diversity and inclusion within organizations, according to a release from the regulator.

“The Consumer Bureau’s mission is to protect all consumers across the diverse American marketplace, just as financial institutions seek to serve them with helpful products and services,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “The insights in this report from our roundtable with mortgage lenders help to show the advantages of integrating diversity and inclusion programs in workplaces throughout the financial services industry.”

The CFPB’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion collaborated with the Mortgage Bankers Association to convene a roundtable from within the mortgage industry. The roundtable also included several bank leaders and OMWI staff from other federal agencies including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve, and Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Here five of the topics the CFPB’s report outlines as innovative solutions for expanding diversity and inclusion within the housing industry:

The business case for diversity and inclusion: The roundtable participants shared that embracing diversity and inclusion made business sense for their organizations. Participants that analyzed how diversity and inclusion can strengthen organizations found that it improved overall performance and leads to a more positive and productive workplace.  

The importance of leadership buy-in and accountability: A strong theme was the importance of the tone from the top of the organization, without which many speakers said it is virtually impossible to sustain a successful diversity program. Strong leadership on diversity and inclusion issues aligned organizations to build in diversity and inclusion as fundamental principles. 

Recruiting, hiring, inclusion, retention, advancement, and engagement: Participants shared that principles of inclusion are vital in developing and sustaining a diverse workforce over time. Organizations noted that they sought to boost retention levels and advancement prospects of people with different backgrounds and viewpoints. Another goal reported by participants is to make sure that discussions and decisions within the organization reflect the more robust analysis and broader understanding that can result from multiple viewpoints. 

Broadening the customer base with new business products: Participants explained that a more diverse workforce fosters greater understanding of the particular needs and situations of a more diverse customer base, including tailoring products to the needs of different consumers. Participants saw this as a key approach to attracting and satisfying a broader base of customers. 

The importance of data:  Data collection and analysis play an integral role in supporting many of the participating organizations’ business cases for diversity. Some participants noted that understanding the demographics of an organization’s workforce is key to ensuring that it reflects the available talent pools and remains competitive and effective.

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